To see that things are going in the same direction as they went for the last 2 yrs...

(3 Posts)
Pollyanna9 Fri 26-Aug-16 17:31:40

So. This is all about DS (who was 17 in July).

In the preceding academic year (after he did his GCSEs) he entered into the Sixth Form that was part of his school where he did these exams.

The GCSE years, particularly the second yr, were AWFUL. When he is given work to do he does it but he does the minimum. Even with his favourite subject (Music) he would have extra help arranged for the listening part of the 'O' level and he'd miss two or three appointments and need endless badgering from me and his teachers before he'd finall turn up. The quality of his work is rubbish and how the teachers read his handwriting is beyond me. Unbeknownst to me he was behind in all sorts of subjects so was required to attend catch-up sessions. He was very hit and miss with attending them and really messed me around on that - it was actually very difficult to know when he was/wasn't applying himself due to a combination of inconsistent communication from school and also lying from him/varnished truths - when he was asked 'Have you done this or that' he'd say yes - not always easy to check if he actually had or not. I do work F/T and am a single parent - sometimes it's enough in the day to keep myself going, never mind be constantly checking on him, is he studying, has he had a shower, did he brush his teeth today etc.... rrrrr.

Fast forward to his entry into Sixth Form last Sept. To be fair, they shafted all his plans by dropping his two key subjects he was going there for - Music and Music Technology. That was pretty gutting. However, he could easily have gone to a local college instead (easy bus ride) which had fab facilities and a really active music department - but he chose to suck up taking subjects he didn't want at Sixth Form instead - his choice. Ultimately it ended up with similar behaviours at Sixth Form as well. Taking A level Maths as an example, when he started struggling he just totally stopped engaging, didn't take up the extra help, and ended up being removed from the course by mutual agreement with is teachers in something like June. So he'd completed 1 yr of his courses only and not in all subjects.

So he decided to switch to a local FE college and re pick up his IT course there. Today we picked up his results at end of his first year at Sixth Form and in the two subjects he completed enough of it was a D and an E. I had to bully him out of the house today in order to get him to school to pick the results up and then go to college to enrol - had I not driven him there and waited outside, I think he would literally not have gone.

And I haven't got the ENERGY to go through all this BS again for the next two years. But whatever I say, he doesn't knuckle down! It's driving me absolutely insane and I don't know how to approach things with him. I particularly HATE having to keep on and on and on and on at him (rightly or wrongly), I just wish he'd bloody do it himself!! I've tried structuring his studies quite a lot and also being less overt (because at the end of the day, he's the one who has to do it) but he just doesn't really apply himself.

I'm particularly keen to see, other people with kids who've not done so good in these educational years, what did you do to address these issues??

Peebles1 Sat 27-Aug-16 15:08:33

Oh God Pollyanna that all sounds so depressingly familiar to me! To be fair, DD has had other 'stuff' going on, but I won't go into all that. She's from a stable home, no great trauma, full support, so every chance really.

I definitely don't have the magic answer, but I think I did the same as you. Veered between leaving her completely to it, and getting full on involved. After the hell of year 10 and 11 I vowed if she got into 6th form I would stand back completely. But actually the teachers don't really let you do that. They email with concerns etc, and it's very difficult to not get involved. Sometimes I would tell them what was going on with her, and say they may complain she's late, but I'm just glad she's attended at all! And explain that as she was approaching 18 there wasn't a whole lot I could do. They were excellent, to be honest.

I also kept talking to her about what she wanted and made it clear she could leave if she wanted to - we weren't pressurising her into doing A-levels. Talked about other options.

Sometimes I hit real low points where I backed off for my own sanity. But then I would think - what if I look back and regret it? Anyway, I continued in that vein, mainly helping. And yes it's bloody hard work.

The upshot is she passed her A-levels this month and got into her first choice uni. Not a top uni by any means, but who cares? She's very excited to go, and now the help really will stop. So it's up to her - she may well cock it up, but that's her problem. I'll be there if she needs me, but I won't physically be there to push her etc. And although it's been a really really hard 4 years, I don't regret not giving up on her. At least she has this opportunity, rather than that door being closed to her.

There's lots of support in the teens section if you prefer. I don't know how to link, but there's a thread called 'anyone want a mum of teenagers support thread' and the problems you describe often crop up.

Keep your chin up, it won't last forever!

Pollyanna9 Mon 29-Aug-16 19:52:36

Thanks Peebles1. I'll keep an eye on it as much as I can, just gonna have to play it by ear and react accordingly.

I felt his school and sixth form just kept falling back on the 'they need to be able to study independently' - and I agree. I totally agree. But is that good enough to keep trotting that comment out and letting them flounder if they're one of the kids who isn't managing to 'do it for themselves' - only DS and the school really knew what work he was supposed to be doing and whether he'd done it or not. Really, as a parent you don't properly have a clue.

There were times where he'd missed a catch up or whatever and I said to the school, you have my permission to go find him (let's say he was meant to go at lunchtime) and drag him to the session - please, feel free to come down as hard on him as you want.

It's like with his (lack of) showering! If I tell him to do it, he does it. If I don't, he doesn't. God it's SO infuriating and pointless when he should indeed be able to do it himself.

Anyhoo, let's see how it goes eh - he could surprise me, right?!! :-)

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