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to just leave DS to it and let him get rubbish grades?

(105 Posts)
NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 00:20:44

DS is 13. Through an absolute fluke he was offered a place at selective school offering the IB last year. We bit their hands off and were so chuffed. He scored so highly on the test portion that it offset his non-perfect grades (lazy coaster).

We hoped the more challenging environment/motivated kids would rub off on him but well, he's consistently done the bare minimum, 'forgotten' homework, lied about what is required, he almost failed his MFL. He is bussed to school so there isn't the immediacy there was when we were a 5 min walk from the school.

Have tried everything we can think of. Having his planner signed, multiple meetings with the subjects he's doing badly in, standing over him, helping him, helping him too much...

Teachers are frustrated as he's scraping by when he could easily achieve better. Our attempts to help are increasingly met with screaming, yelling, more lies. He does seem resentful other children get singled out for praise for outstanding work but won't accept he needs to work harder to expect anything similar.

Would I be U to just say okay, fine, leave him to it and let him get the grades he 'deserves'?

AmyElliotDunne Fri 13-Feb-15 00:34:45

You've tried, you can lead a horse to water and all that, I think he's old enough to figure out that unless he puts the work in he won't reap the rewards. It's so hard, as you want them to make the most of the opportunities they are given, but it sounds like you've done all the cajoling and encouraging you can do, the rest is up to him.

Fwiw, exam results are important, but they're not the be all and end all; plenty of people do well in life without being academically 'successful', perhaps you ds just has to find the thing that grabs his imagination.

If there's a hobby or interest that you can use for leverage then it might be worth a push, but I'm sure you've tried all that. If there's really no motivating him, you're going to have to give him enough rope to hang himself and then try and help to be there when he needs a plan B.

Higheredserf Fri 13-Feb-15 00:36:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 00:37:37

It's so hard to watch him wasting the opportunity sad He won't join the extracurriculars either.

School aside (hah!), he's a really nice chap, this friction is affecting our home life so much it is really keeping DH and me up at night. Knowing he is lying etc. But it feels so wrong to send him off every day and he's just wasting it/getting in trouble.

You're right though I think. Can't make him motivated.

championnibbler Fri 13-Feb-15 00:38:28

Leave him to it.
You did your best.

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 00:40:21

2 younger siblings. His hobbies are mostly solo, have encouraged him to invite over schoolfriends who live nearby-ish but he is resistant to that too (he does skype and xbox with them), and he's too old for me to go organising playdates. He goes to a regular activity with kids his age after school x 2 but not school people. He is friendly and well-liked (so far as I can see), but has no real close friends. Hasn't really ever sad

LongDistanceLove Fri 13-Feb-15 00:43:01

Has he gone from being the smartest kid in the class without really trying, to still a smart kid but needs to work harder for the praise?

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 00:48:57

He's gone from being smartest kid/nickname of boffin to being the class dunce. sad

LongDistanceLove Fri 13-Feb-15 00:57:27

It must be frustrating, it sounds as though he has the potential to excel but is maybe scared of failing. If he's always done well with ease and now he's in an environment where he is challenged and has to work for it, it can knock your confidence and motivation.

I'm not sure what to suggest, if that's the case.

Higheredserf Fri 13-Feb-15 00:59:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 01:06:55

at his last school the teachers said the same (lazy, doing bare minimum), but a much wider intake ability wise so 'on paper' he was doing well. He was bored and disruptive, said the school counsellor, one of the reasons we were encouraged to try for the exam.

He would never consider going back to former school. Angry when we made the suggestion, he'd see it as a failure and tbh he has more support/friends now.

TwinkleThis Fri 13-Feb-15 01:17:47

I'd keep working on it, and working with him.

One of the biggest mistakes my parents ever made was letting up on my brother and me at about the same age. We did well enough but could have shone if we'd worked at it. Neither got into top universities (which might have been a possibility) as we didn't have the grades.

I don't blame my parents for this, but I do think it was a mistake for them not to spell out, clearly, exactly what is required to get somewhere academically and to stress that they expect a consistent level of effort.

Perhaps get him a copy of Matthew Syed's book, Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice, which is ostensibly about sport (therefore appealing) but in fact about learning, working, and achieving.

payuktaxrichardbranson Fri 13-Feb-15 01:18:42

Hmm if you want to let him fail now's the time. It won't impact on external exam results and might give him a jolt.but probably best to back off any way, screaming at each other over home work and achievement probably won't help

limegoldfinewine Fri 13-Feb-15 01:37:17

What about psychological screening? Sounds stupid but in retrospect I realize I was so anxious at that age, I completely self sabotaged. Help him develop coping skills.

TheNewStatesman Fri 13-Feb-15 01:46:26

I notice you mentioned xbox---would withholding xbox privileges until certain standards are met make any difference?

Lovemycatsandkids Fri 13-Feb-15 01:56:25

He's 13! So no exams or course work will affect his GVSEs.

Defiantly back off. The only thing you need to come down hard on is behaviour and manners.

The more you push working hard the more he will back away.

He's at the worst age. He will be a different lad at 15.

Lovemycatsandkids Fri 13-Feb-15 01:57:53

Sorry payuktax x post and agree.

NoGinThanks Fri 13-Feb-15 01:58:00

He's been EdPsyched. Some AS/ADHD traits but not enough to build a diagnosis beyond 'bright kid is bored'.

He has dragged his grades up from literally failing to Cs and above. He is well aware of the risks and consequences but at 13 it's not real to him in the way it is to us I think. He doesn't want to make more effort so he's not.

Yes, home life is really being poisoned. I said to DH that looking at the long game I'd rather have him flunk/mess up uni than ruin our relationship forever, I know plenty of people who found their passion later in life but not many who have formed good relationships with their parents after traumatic teen years.

It is just so frustrating.

sashh Fri 13-Feb-15 06:15:08

Er did he actually want to go to this school?

Would he be better as the brightest in a less selective environment?

JudgeRinderSays Fri 13-Feb-15 06:28:54

My boys were the same until about the middle of y10 when they were approaching real exams when they could see something in it for them. But with your constant chivvying you are running the very real risk of turning him off education for good news

minecraftismysaviour Fri 13-Feb-15 06:42:49

Does he understand what he'll need for his next steps? e.g which options to get gcses to get into college... what grades to get an apprenticeship. .. which uni to be a game designer etc? does he need to see the bigger picture?

don't give up. They sound like men at 13 but they're still kids. He won't like it but he will thank you... somewhere in his

piggychops Fri 13-Feb-15 06:53:39

For a teenager , having someone constantly on their case just makes them dig their heels in.
I think you should sit down with him and explain that he is old enough and bright enough to get on with his work. He is master of his own destiny but that you will be there to assist and help if he asks. He also needs to understand that in order to get to the exciting stuff of what really interests him (at uni or whatever), you just have to slog through some of the dull stuff.
Then back off for a time and see how it goes.
He's young enough that he doesn't have pressure of exams, but if he doesn't learn self motivation whilst still at school, he will struggle at higher education.

MissDuke Fri 13-Feb-15 06:54:48

I did nothing in school at that age, nothing! I was at a top grammar, and no matter how hard I worked I was still near the bottom of the class, so I stopped trying. I did find some motivation during the GCSE's and managed to get all B's, however all my friends got all A's and A* so I figured my B's were rubbish and left to do a childcare course. I later started in the civil service, and despite a lack of qualifications, a series of internal promotions elevated me to a manager earning 35k+ a year in 4 years, during which time I had two children. So qualifications certainly aren't everything, depending on the career choice of course.

I am now studying for my dream job at uni, that I wanted to do back then but felt I wouldn't be good enough. I am right up at the top of the class in results, because at long last I am motivated and working bloody hard.

My point is (If you got this far) school isn't necessarily the only chance to get where you want in life, there are options later. Try not to worry too much.

somuchtosortout Fri 13-Feb-15 07:04:24

Has he gone from British curriculum to in, or was he doing international curriculum before? It is a very big change of pace and learning methods, which will be very bewildering, even if he doesn't show it.
If this is the case maybe find a calm casual moment to have a 'casual' chat about the differences between the two systems, and how maybe it will take the first academic year just to get used to the change of pace.
It will take him longer than another child of the same age to adjust to change if you think he is mildly AS, so going easy on him now and supporting him and listening might pay off in the longer run?

editthis Fri 13-Feb-15 07:17:23

I think you can afford to back off for a bit. You still have time, it doesn't mean he is going to mess up his GCSEs at this stage. And it's really a decision he has to come to himself.

Play the long game. He needs some role models (famous or not) whose achievements he sees were the fruit of hard work; it might 'click' that nothing comes free. He also might be quite competitive: it's very addictive, that feeling of pride in doing well when you've done nothing, and you see people around you working hard for lesser results. But equally, it's then awful when you're coming last, particularly with that mindset (i.e. you do really care).

He has to make the decision to do well - and the good news is he's more likely to do well if everyone around him is, even if his attainment is the lowest; it does drag standards up. Best case scenario is that his sense of competition kicks into gear when he realises it matters (I'm hoping he'll prove this to you in two years' time), so I would take the pressure off, TELL him you're leaving it down to him (though sanctions perhaps should be imposed if he fails exams and teachers are frustrated: he's still very young and shouldn't be left entirely to his own devices!) and focus instead of helping him to work out what he wants to do, ultimately. That might give him a focus; as might Proving Everyone Wrong. I really hope he pulls it out of the bag - but don't panic, time is on your side.

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