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to think you cannot force a child to do their best at school?

(89 Posts)
FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:02:50

DD is 11 Y7.

She is very clever and articulate.

She is lazy, disorganised, messy and doesn't care if she gets poor marks or detention.

We have tried so hard to get her to focus and prioritise - screen time, privileges etc all rationed and proportional to effort, but it's just relentless sad I've just been through her school books which veer between basic effort and shameful - she can do so much better but the default seems to be 'do the minimum'.

Should I just let school deal with it? She gets detention regularly for not doing homework (or forgetting to hand it in when I have made sure she has done it). She does not care.

I was the opposite as a child and can't really understand why anyone would have this attitude. Anyone with an extremely stubborn child got any pearls of wisdom?

Wolfiefan Sun 12-Feb-17 13:05:40

I would ask all teachers to ensure they don't accept substandard work. I would continue to allow screen time etc only once work is done to a suitable standard. I would also ensure she packs her school bag the night before.
If she doesn't care about detentions then what does she care about?! Find something you can use.
How is she about other things? Is this the only issue?

UnicornMadeOfPinkGlitter Sun 12-Feb-17 13:06:12

I'd like to know as well. Ds is older than your dd but this year he's gone from doing well if a bit forgetful and sometimes guilty of not putting in his best effort to downright lazy and belligerent.

Also just discovered a report card and hadn't been informed that he had been out on report for disruptive behaviour and lack of homework/equipment.

Good luck solving the problems and helping dd.

OneWithTheForce Sun 12-Feb-17 13:08:18

What are the consequences at home of her getting detention for not doing school work? If that was my son (11) he would be under no illusions that his life as he knew it was over for the first detention he got for not bothering to do homework. It would be such a massive deal in this house that he wouldn't dare contemplate such an attitude for a second time.

gamerchick Sun 12-Feb-17 13:08:44

Well you cant really ignore it or the school start to punish you by hauling your arse in for stern meetings at inconvenient times. They're great fun.

Maybe get in there first, call a meeting with the school with her there to sort out a battleplan. It shows the school off the bat that you're willing to work with them and you care about her education.

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:10:21

Wolfie I have told her class teacher I feel it's an issue but obviously in 2ndary there are many subject teachers who are a mixed bag as to how well they follow up on missed work etc. She loves her phone/computer time but if I remove them she will happily read for hours (saving grace). It took her 9 hours to put her duvet cover on last week just faffing about in her room/reading - no tech at all. I have cancelled playdates, she has been screen banned for a week at a time...she's just not that fussed. That's the problem.

Thanks unicorn you too brew

MrsDustyBusty Sun 12-Feb-17 13:11:58

OP, I was your daughter. You can use me as a warning from history if you like. I've never fulfilled my potential and the bad feeling you get in school (self inflicted) follows you forever tainting your progress in college and work.

Never being more than mediocre because of your personality flaws is actually quite hard and very hard to change.

Brokenbiscuit Sun 12-Feb-17 13:12:15

I don't think you can force it, no. I'm fortunate in that my dd (same age as yours) is very organised and self motivated. However, she has a couple of friends like your dd.

I know the mum of one of them quite well. She has an older dd who works very hard, but the younger dd is constantly in trouble and not interested in working. The younger child is bright and has loads of potential, as well as a fantastic mum who has tried everything to get her dd back on track. Nothing seems to be working. The poor mum is tearing her hair out.

I'm hoping it's just a phase and that she will eventually come out the other side. Essentially, she's a nice kid, but has just fallen in with the wrong crowd at the moment.

MaisyPops Sun 12-Feb-17 13:12:47

Teacher here. Give thrm a call and ask how you and the school can work together.

Generally ive found that a tag team approach can work well. It sends a message to the kids that school and home are on the same page. Nipping it in the bud during y7/8 make a difference and stops it being an issue later on.

The most trouble ive had adressing these issues is when home dont care and/or undermine school. You sound like youve got the best ideas.

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:13:38

One I don't think you can understand, you'll be thinking i'm a pushover and don't carry out consequences etc but seriously detention = no screens/playdates/outings/pocket money/anything for a week and still we end up back to square one again and again. Unless you have a child like this I don't think you can comprehend the frustration. It's absolutely not as simple as saying "Well I wouldn't stand for that". Sorry.

Wolfiefan Sun 12-Feb-17 13:14:47

Contact subject teachers directly.
Get her to do HW in communal area. No faffing then.
Monitor books weekly.
Check planner weekly.
You need a clear consequence. If DS has a DT he knows he will be in trouble here. Sounds like a lack of authority. Does she generally behave well or get her own way?

Ragwort Sun 12-Feb-17 13:15:29

he would be under no illusions that his life as he knew it was over

Seriously, One - what exactly are your sanctions then for your DS - I would love to know how to motivate a teenager - my DS is 15 and has been having the same report since he started school 'could do much better, needs to apply more focus to his studies' - or similar words on the same theme.

I haven't found any 'sanction' that works - we have stopped screen time/pocket money/leisure activities etc etc - nothing really bothers him.

He will 'get by', he has a charming personality and good social skills .......... he is just not going to get good grades and has no 'focus' on what he wants to do when he leaves the school.

Unfortunately I have to admit that he is just like I was as a teenager grin - do the minimum work in order to get by ............. just what I did blush.

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:15:53

Thanks Maisy I think I will need to go in again and see what more we can do. So draining sad

Astro55 Sun 12-Feb-17 13:16:02

I know it's not really the done thing - but my DS English teacher writes - poor standard - re-write at home and we sit and re-do it!

So he has a choice - do it well first time or re-do it at home -

Can you make her redo it at home?

SavoyCabbage Sun 12-Feb-17 13:17:06

Does she understand the correlation between education and money/getting a good job?

My dh grew up very poor and 'escaped' through getting an education and has drummed that into our dc. They know if they want to have nice things or a car when they are adults then they need to have a good job and that a way to get a good job is to get an education.

We both tell our dc that we expect them to do their best at school. One of my dc is in no way academic but she still has to work hard. That's their role in the family at the moment. We go out to work, I cook, dh irons, they do their best at school. And if they didn't do their part then maybe I wouldn't do my part either and they would be hungry.

Is there anything that she does care about?

OneWithTheForce Sun 12-Feb-17 13:17:08

no screens/playdates/outings/pocket money/anything for a week

Why just a week? Why not until she is showing a consistent effort? Gradually earning them back? If she know she it's only going to be a week long ban then of course she's just going to ride it out.

DJBaggySmalls Sun 12-Feb-17 13:17:35

DS never fulfilled his potential. It's a crying shame but you cant force them to be motivated. If its something he wants to do, he'll do it.
I became exhausted with the constant head to head battle of wits and gave up. He is not doing well as an adult.

Ragwort Sun 12-Feb-17 13:18:35

Maisy - and others, we have contacted the school, we get on well with DS's teachers, they know we are supportive & fully engage with the school, we monitor homework, check homework diaries, enforce consequences, pay for private tutors etc etc - but still, I would love to know exactly how you motivate a reluctant teenager?

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:18:50

Rag that's DD exactly. Charming and lovely but a total pain in the arse when it comes to prioritising school etc.

Wolfie I know you are trying to help but as I have said it's really not a case of saying it's a lack of authority/consequences! What more would you suggest I do?? Shall I confine her to the shed on a diet of bread and water?

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:21:18

One obviously the privileges are only returned if behaviour is good and are withdrawn again if she fails to meet standards again confused It's not arbitrary week here and there.

OneWithTheForce Sun 12-Feb-17 13:21:20

Oh ok, you asked for people's advice, no need to get snippy when it's advice that isn't right for your DD. They're just offering what they know.

user1484226561 Sun 12-Feb-17 13:21:23

OP, you are doing he right thing, just keep going, and don't let up at all. It will make a difference to her outcomes in the end. It is doing, even now, you don't think it is, but imagine how much worse she would be without you on her back.

No, you can't force her to do her best, but as her parent part of parenting is to never let up on trying to get her to do her best.

ShowMePotatoSalad Sun 12-Feb-17 13:21:42

I was your daughter too, OP. I just had a total sense of inertia and unwillingness to better myself. I know I could have achieved so much more if I'd tried harder.

Now I put so much effort in to the things I do and, despite a few relapses where I have no motivation whatsoever, in general I have got my s**t together.

I got a 2:1 from a really good uni in the end, after getting crap a level results and suddenly having an epiphany that I needed to actually try. I can't give you any advice other than to say keep doing what you're doing and hopefully your daughter will mature and be willing to try a bit more.

FauxFox Sun 12-Feb-17 13:24:35

I'm not snippy one I have tried to explain the situation.

megletthesecond Sun 12-Feb-17 13:24:49

I'd like to know this too. I can see 10yr old DS going the same way. He couldn't care less what he loses and won't do anything for pocket money. I'm a lp and have sleepless nights over it.

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