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to shout at my student son for getting low marks at university

(120 Posts)
bluehaze Wed 09-Dec-15 07:51:54

Son in first term at uni doing biochemistry. He is getting 50% marks for his lab reports. Yesterday I shouted and ranted about him having low standards, never going to get through the year, not taking university seriously etc. He does have a history of not working hard and only doing the minimum. Then I talked to a friend who said well thats about right for university marks, and nobody gets really high marks. Now I'm not sure if I was really unreasonable or whether those kinds of marks are really OK. Anyone else got any idea? For the future I want to be sure that if he's doing fine then he gets some praise for it, but then again I don't want to let it go if he's coasting along. Yes I could stay out of it and let him learn from his mistakes etc, but its taken a lot of hard work for him to get there in the first place - has bad dyslexia - and I don't want him to throw the opportunity away if a bit of timely pressure from me will make a difference!
sitting on the fence here - leave him to it, say 'well done' or nag him to do better ?

LittleBearPad Wed 09-Dec-15 07:54:24

Don't yell at him. He's an adult too. It's his life. Plus your friends right.

Pollyputhtekettleon Wed 09-Dec-15 07:57:46

He's at university! You need to back off. I can believe you shouted at him regardless! Is that what you always do when unhappy with something he is doing? I think a conversation would be more productive and less agressive.

Feel free to be clear with him that you expect him to pass his exams. But beyond that it's his responsibility to do well. He's (almost) an adult now.

Helenluvsrob Wed 09-Dec-15 07:57:48

Hang on.... Have you asked about how the marks lie? When eldest started they had a lecture on this - that they were naturally the high fliers from school, for whom under 90% was a " disaster" . But, up the standards to uni level, and fill the class with equally able kids and the picture changes.

It is a huge stressful mindset change. You need to know the comparators with the rest of the year.

Iirc correctly 70% is a first. 50% at the end of the 1st term is probably fine. He will know what others got and the point to talk about is - is he getting feedback about how to move up the grade bands.

Also " first year doesn't count" marks wise. It is a time for finding your feet and honing skills.

Helenluvsrob Wed 09-Dec-15 07:59:07

Sorry just picked up the dyslexia as well. He's probably working at full tilt to get 50%. Just make sure he knows what to do to improve !

hesterton Wed 09-Dec-15 08:00:28

I don't think shouting solves anything here. Very dehumanising for everyone. Can't you talk this through calmly with your adult son?

Bakeoffcake Wed 09-Dec-15 08:00:40

Yes, yell away, that's bound to help and inspire himhmm

He's an adult now, try treating him like one (although maybe you yell at adults too?)
He doesn't have to even tell you his results, and you will have no way of finding out, so be pleased he is telling you.
He had dyslexia, maybe he is struggling with uni? Try talking nicely to him and finding out if he is ok.
Your friend is wrong, 50% is not "what most students get".

mumeeee Wed 09-Dec-15 08:02:04

Yes your friend is right. 50% is about right especially in the first term. 40% is a pass so he is doing fine.
You should be saying well done not shouting at him.
He is an adult so just let him get on with his life.

dementedma Wed 09-Dec-15 08:02:48

If his marks are low because he's not working and pissing all his time up against the wall using your funds to do so, then shout away!
If he is still adjusting, struggling, doing his best, then be more understanding and supportive!

Mysteryfla Wed 09-Dec-15 08:03:24

Here you have to pay to go to university. When we were paying for our children to go the university, anything less than a B grade and the kids had to pay us back. 1/4 for a C, 1/2 for a D and all for an F. No way I'm wasting my money so they can loaf.

Yes, they were adults, welcome to the real world.

Duckdeamon Wed 09-Dec-15 08:07:09

Why are you shouting at him?!

If you're part funding his studies then I guess part of the "deal" is that he works hard. But he's an adult so it's not Ok to micromonitor and nag him. A better approach might be to decide on what basis you're funding him and under what (if any) circumstances you'd withdraw the financial support, and inform him.

My parents did this with my brother after he did badly and failed some things in his first year, he hadn't worked. They said they wouldn't continue to fund him to get a third due to not working hard. he chose to leave and get a job. Had to begin paying his loans immediately.

Ragwort Wed 09-Dec-15 08:08:34

I feel for you Op - of course I know rationally that we shouldn't shout and rant at our children but it is deeply depressing to see them waste their opportunities - my DS is much younger but is just so lazy, he is more than capable but just can't be arsed - and I am not sure if I can be arsed to support him through A levels/college or uni or whatever.

It's all very well to say 'they are adults at 18' but they are not behaving like responsible adults in supporting themselves financially or emotionally in many cases

Did we ever expect this when we had our first PFB grin.

Duckdeamon Wed 09-Dec-15 08:09:08

His loans from government, not parents! They wrote off the money that funded his year and bought a new car with the money they'd scrimped and saved for the second and third years!

lightgreenglass Wed 09-Dec-15 08:12:01

YABU.

He's just started university and it takes time to get into the swing of things and adjust to the difference of being spoon fed at school and independent study.

50% is a pass and a 2.2 - ideally he wants to get a 60+ so it's a 2.1.

He has dyslexia - you could be a bit more sympathetic. Is he working as well as studying? Does he have support from the university in note takers / extra time etc?

StrawberryTeaLeaf Wed 09-Dec-15 08:12:25

There was a very similar thread a few months ago "to tell my son I'm ashamed of him for low marks at Uni". Something like that. Full of good advice.

Duckdeamon Wed 09-Dec-15 08:12:32

Lots of slackers in education seem to do alright in the working world, although economic circumstances are hard now.

My brother has worked extremely hard since starting work at 19 and done well.

BIL similarly didn't do of his best at school and also dropped out of uni: was much better at his work and now earns megabucks!

Moonax Wed 09-Dec-15 08:13:03

Why would you assume he's coasting or wants to fail?

Before wading in, find out if that 50% is about the expected level and go from there. He might be struggling with new ways of working, he might be partying it up and a lazy git, he might be finding the workload hard to handle and be adjusting. Start shouting at him for not fulfilling your expectations and you'll never find out which it is.

mumeeee Wed 09-Dec-15 08:14:28

I forgot to say the first year doesn't usually count towards the degree. Students just have to pass the first year to carry on to the 2nd year. I have had 3 DDs go to uni (DD3 is in her 3rd year) all 3 of them said they found uni work a big jump from A levels.
Also to get a final mark assignments exams were added together. I mean they would do modules and have so many assignments or other uni work in each module. The whole module mark was the one that counted. Hope that makes sense

Mehitabel6 Wed 09-Dec-15 08:15:36

I think that you need to back off. He is an adult and he is there because he wants to be there and for his future. If he isn't coping he needs to see someone and question whether he is in the right place. This is not the parent's job. I am. It sure why he is telling you his marks in the first place - my DCs didn't- other than in a very general way.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Wed 09-Dec-15 08:16:27

Shouting at adults about anything, especially things that aren't strictly any of your business, is never good though.

Enjolrass Wed 09-Dec-15 08:16:42

Unless you are paying for him to go, you were u for shouting at him at all.

Yabu for shouting before you find out what that actually means.

Did he not try and explain or tell you he was working hard?

Mehitabel6 Wed 09-Dec-15 08:17:20

I can see the point in telling you if he wants support, but ranting doesn't help in any way- especially since you have no idea what they actually mean as marks!

Mehitabel6 Wed 09-Dec-15 08:18:55

Sorry - auto correct - should have read 'I am not sure why he is telling you his marks in the first place'.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Wed 09-Dec-15 08:20:01

For the future I want to be sure that if he's doing fine then he gets some praise for it

He is grown up now. His motivation needs to be internal. f it's sluggish ATM, he needs to find his own.

ppeatfruit Wed 09-Dec-15 08:20:32

You are being totally unreasonable. How does shouting help? it just makes a person humiliated and very unlikely to tell the shouter anything that will make for a repetition of the shouting.

Your ds is an adult if he flunks uni it's HIS life not yours. Laziness is what teenagers do, it's biological actually.

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