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to not fight his corner?

(32 Posts)
popmimiboo Sun 07-Jun-15 08:11:07

DS is 15. He's very bright but very lazy about school work. We live abroad so different school system (-very strict, elitist system compared to UK.)
Anyway, DS will start working to his baccalaureate (a level equivalent) in September. There are 3 academic options available and DS wanted to do the one that is maths and science based, which is generally considered the toughest and "best" option. He was on course to do this, despite DH and I feeling that maths is not his best subject and he would do better with a different option (much more balanced, all-round option.)
So, end of year exams were last week. He didn't revise at all and did really badly all round. Teachers have told him, as a result, that he is not allowed to do the option he wanted and has to do the one DH and I think suits him.
DS is furious, sees this as a failure and wants to appeal. He refuses to listen to anyone else's point of

Aussiemum78 Sun 07-Jun-15 08:17:00

Why does he want to do this option? Career paths? Status? Friends?

I think you need to get the why to understand it. Then ask him why he would want to do subjects he isn't motivated for and doesn't enjoy.

Fight his corner once you know what it is. But also chase him up with commitment to study at home if he goes ahead. He has a responsibility to follow through if you back him.

ragged Sun 07-Jun-15 08:46:27

Trying to salvage something positive, I would be happy to be a sounding board for my DS to help him understand all the appeal steps. But I'd want to leave it as HIS fight and maybe mine would rise to the task of planning that fight, I wouldn't want to go along & explain anything as part of his appeal, that would be his job & ideally his job alone.

In reality I know I'd be dragged in at least for moral support, but it would be without enthusiasm & my DS would be reminded of that. I'd be clear to my DS that I was fine with the options he was given, that I didn't feel he should be allowed to revert to Plan A and that I would say as much if asked by the education authorities.

bumbleymummy Sun 07-Jun-15 08:56:32

Is there an option to transfer onto the other path if he improves?

Topseyt Sun 07-Jun-15 09:32:13

I wouldn't fight his corner.

He did no revision. He now has to face the consequences and learn a valuable life lesson in the process, namely that he isn't Mr. Invincible and that Parents and teachers actually just might have some idea what they are talking about.

I'd leave that lesson to sink in. If you fight his corner you may be giving him the impression that it doesn't matter what he did, you will be there to pick up the pieces.

I'm like that though. Signed up to th laissez-faire school of parenting.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sun 07-Jun-15 09:36:16

Was the Maths /Science option popular and tough to get selected for?

Is an appeal even likely to succeed?

Have the bad exam results given him the kick up the arse he needs, d'you think?

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 07-Jun-15 09:38:39

This is a tough one. Does he understand that he did badly because of lack of work and would have to work really hard if he did the bac scientifique? Is he capable of working hard? Is he willing to catch up on this year's work over the summer so he can hit the ground running. If yes to all this, then I think that it would be U not to support him in putting his case to the teachers.

I don't think it would be necessarily you fighting his corner but just facilitating him being able to fight his own corner - I'm presuming this is France, and I don't have the impression that teachers there are necessarily ready to start negotiating with students so parental support could be crucial. If he can convince the teachers that he is willing to put in hard work to catch up, and they think that he's capable of succeeding with hard work, I think he should be allowed to do this option -- such a shame to cut off potential career options just because he messed around at 15.

However, it sounds like maybe you think he isn't going to put in the work for the bac. If this is the case, and you can't get him to convincingly swear that he's going to turn over a new leaf, then yeah, I think that there's no point fighting for him to do this option as getting terrible marks or failing wouldn't be in his interests.

popalot Sun 07-Jun-15 09:39:38

Give him a chance to appeal. Hopefully he will have learnt his lesson. Bright children often think they can coast through on their intelligence, but at some point it falls apart and they have to learn how to study hard like other children. That's what he needs to learn now; how to study and revise because he can't rely on his quick wits anymore.

popmimiboo Sun 07-Jun-15 09:43:03

Sorry, clicked send by accident then wifi crashed.
Anyway, to finish, we have an appointment with his head of year next week. I just don't feel like arguing for him to be given the chance to do the option he wants because I don't feel it's right for him. I honestly think he will do better in the option suggested by the school. He keeps yelling that I don't believe it him and the mummy-guilt is kicking in.

LazyLouLou Sun 07-Jun-15 09:53:08

Please don't. HoY will know how little work he put in, what his attitude to work is and how well he is likely to do in the bacc.

If you 'fight his corner' you will be 'that parent' and your DS will not learn a lesson he so obviously needs to learn: his actions = his consequences.

At his age it is up to him to fight for himself. As his mum you need to listen to the HoY, clarify their expectations of your DS and then support them and him to achieve a good Bacc.

If he is serious about the maths route he needs to prove to HoY that his lazy days are over as he has a goal and will be working hard towards it form here on in. If he can't see his way to doing that then he will be disappointed for the next few years.

Sadly lots of 15/16 year olds find this time very difficult to adjust to. If he digs his heels in and is determined that someone else / life has done this to him and it is all so very unfair, you will be 'fighting his corner' for a few years more. Best advice from me would be to do the tough love now, he needs to believe his has some control and then to take it.

Good luck.

popmimiboo Sun 07-Jun-15 09:57:39

Topseyt -that exactly how I feel! I have 3 DC and DS, the eldest, is the one who seems to have to learn everything the hard way.

Aussiemum -I'm going to ask him to write me a list of reasons and pros and cons.
As far as I know he has a good reason in that he would like to be a pilot and his chances will be a lot higher with the maths/science option. However, the same argument could be valid -he'll never make it as a pilot without a lot of hard work.
Second reason is that, in his mind, the cleverest students do this option. This is not true but he's not alone in thinking that way.

Popalot -yes, he's very clever but he coasts. He's also much more an all-rounder than specially mathematically minded and the option he wants is very strict and "narrow."

It could go either way -I do think teachers might be swayed if they believe he'll work for it but after years of sounding like a broken record, I am really concerned that he won't actually knuckle down.

CalleighDoodle Sun 07-Jun-15 10:00:53

I would let him dwal with it. You helping bim would send a bad mesaage. He wont succees if he outs in no effort. Thats lufe. Better he learns that now.

canyou Sun 07-Jun-15 10:01:30

I am ignoring DSS who is doing his leaving cert on 0 study time amd now panicking. I will happily pay for him to resist but at the moment I am leaving him wallow in the mess of his making. Food on the table, lunches made, bus money provided and €2000 spent on study aids and study times in school extra, so I have held up my hands and said I did my part the rest is up to you. I have gagged Disney Dad and provide copious amounts of wine for his Mum. sometimes they need to learn the hard way. But if he can make up the work to allow him study whst he wants over the summer I would support that. Esp if it affects his college/carreer choices

sunbathe Sun 07-Jun-15 10:04:22

Would it be possible for him to be set a certain amount of work over the summer, if the school is willing?

Then if he works hard and shows he can be up to the standard required, they could consider him for the harder option?

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 07-Jun-15 10:09:13

How about you suggest to your son that you help him brokerage a deal with the school - tha the spends the summer working like a dog on his maths and science. At the end of the summer the school sets him an exam. If he does well (agreeing a very high mark with the school) then he gets to do the maths and science stream. Otherwise he does the other one.

It would mean he'd need to "put his money where his mouth is" as far as working is concerned.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Sun 07-Jun-15 10:10:39

Sunbathe and Canyou - X posted.

Nellagain Sun 07-Jun-15 10:11:06

Oh the guilt trip pi g is hard isn't it?
I think you're right though. I didn't do so well in my a levels-close family member was critically ill for about 3 months beforehand in my defence. So the university took me because of extenuating circumstances. All well and good. However I managed to not pass that degree. (20+ years ago , no resits or modules allowed)
Had I not been taken on with substandard grade at that point I would have had to re assess what I was going to do then. Im very certain I would be doing what I'm doing now but I would have done it earlier.

I don't regret any of this. I also have a tendency to find out the hard way and people did what they thought was best at the time. but it was a very 7npleasant and hard lesson. So in your ds case I would be asking g him how he will feel if he has a repeat of this year and fails his bacc. Option? He will then be looking g at resits and not going straight to university

fiveacres Sun 07-Jun-15 10:11:09

I wouldn't.

I'd consider it if he was 'upset' or similar because that would indicate someone who had learned a hard lesson and bitterly regretted it.

But 'furious' sounds too 'how DARE they' - and it does sound this lesson needs to be learned.

popmimiboo Sun 07-Jun-15 10:48:30

Fiveacres -you're right. He's furious and offended.

I'm going to attend the appointment with HOY and let DS air his views. I will try to remain fairly neutral but if DS is given the chance to change, I will do my best to encourage and support.
Tbh, I'm hoping he'll calm down and realize that getting a good grade at the more general option is better for him. At the mo, he's saying he would rather repeat a year in order to what he wants but I honestly don't believe him.

Grrrr, stubborn teenagers are such hard work angry

fiveacres Sun 07-Jun-15 10:49:24

Well you sound like a great Mum so I'm sure he'll come right flowers

Fairenuff Sun 07-Jun-15 10:50:03

He made a mistake and he will learn from this. He has failed and that is hard to face up to. I bet he feels terrible and his self esteem is on the floor.

He knows now that he has to work very hard. He is only 15 and is going through one of the hardest times. It's very young to have to make big life choices, there is a lot of pressure on him to achieve and his hormones won't be helping.

I would support him. His subjects have to be his choice, even if you and your dh think he should do something else. He is hardly going to be enthusiastic about other subjects if he doesn't actually want to study them and A level is a big leap from gcse or whatever equivalent he will have been doing.

I would tell him firstly that you love him and secondly that you trust him. Tell him you will support him but he has to do the bulk of it himself, you can't do it for him. He has to be more responsible with him time, he may have to cut out some extra curricular activities (including gaming) so that he can catch up.

Also, tell him it's always a good idea in life to have a Plan B just in case. So if the school won't let him do the subjects he wants, he should choose a different route.

Then plan together what you will say in the meeting, how he can demonstrate that he has changed his attitude. And give him a hug.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Sun 07-Jun-15 11:26:34

This could be the wake up call he needs. Having to fight to get into that stream, perhaps he will work harder if he gets in.

And I agree with other posters who say working hard over the summer should be a prerequisite.

redexpat Sun 07-Jun-15 11:35:16

Something I said recently to a classmate: It doesnt matter how clever you are or are not. If you dont do the work, you won't pass. Or in your son's case, get a good enough grade.

CitySnicker Sun 07-Jun-15 11:36:37

Is this Italy?

popmimiboo Sun 07-Jun-15 12:38:05

Not Italy, we're in France. It's a very traditional, elitist school system.

Even if he does the option suggested by the school, he will have maths and science, it's just that the weighting of each subject is more evenly distributed, hence more suitable for an all round student. In the option he wants, maths is so heavily weighted that messing up one exam or piece of coursework could jeopardize the whole thing!

(Disclaimer: this is what I understand in this complicated situation! If any other French dwelling mumsnetters are about, feel free to correct me if I'm not totally right!)

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