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Am I a crap person..........

(20 Posts)
froot Fri 14-Jan-11 17:57:19

because I am really cross inside as my DS has been predicted lower grades than some of his peers who are not as clever but are hard workers? I know everyone expects him to get 12 A* 's but he is not predicted to and he will certainly not get them......he has already got two A's because he is a total lazy arse and does not see why he should work! So his coursework is poor, dragging down his grades.

I can't moan about this in RL.....everyone knows him as the brainbox (and he is) but his exam grades won't quite reflect that....

froot Fri 14-Jan-11 18:00:06

By the way please don't shout at me and I'm not boasting, just needed to get it off my chest!

cornslik Fri 14-Jan-11 18:01:04

how do you know that his peers are not as clever as him?

Heroine Fri 14-Jan-11 18:16:26

I feel for you in this - its tough being someone who just gets things, as you spend all your time treading water and trying to keep yourself motivated when others are automatically motivated because the pace of the lessons is right for them. That said, its really important to get him to understand that learning how to work when you don't know something is really important - one horrible risk when you are really bright is that you have never had to learn how to work and give up if you don't automatically understand things - It may be that he actually doesn't know what to do - how to decide what he does and doesn't know, what strategies there are to get you to remember and understand things that are not automatically understandable etc etc.

I know this feeling, I didn't work at o-level - did quite well, I thought 'oh my god I will have to learn how to work at A-level' but didn't.. and got 2A and 1C. I thought 'ohmy god I will have to learn how to really study' at University, but didn't and got a 2ii. It was only when I realised that I could have got a whole load more out of Uni if I had learnt how to work, and also when I wanted to learn a whole load of employment law, HR practice, and Industrial relations information to go for a job ahead of a rival, that I really got my arse in geear and used strategies from project management work in learning. It was the first time I'de really worked academically in my life and I did MBA level learning and finished a law revision self-assessment book after four weeks. I am 38 and far too old to be learning this, but this may happen to your son if no-oine is careful.

I also remember thinking (in a rather 'Sandhurst' way) that anyone who did extra work was cheating because their exam results wouldn't measure how clever they are, just how much they can work - that belief didn't leave me even at uni.

You need to get him to learn something inside out that he is really enthusistic about and try to transfer the learning about learning skill to him. Its difficult if, as you say he comes across as lazy because teachers will misread this as an attitude problem rather than as a symptom of a legitimate response - ie. if I really work hard everyone hates me, I get frustrated, I don't get better grades and I have to repeadedly think about things I already understand whilst others aree catching up - i.e. is less psychologically traumatic to switch off and wait (Hare and tortoise).

You could try some philosophy, some discussion about hs work strategies and then debate that nice anaolgy, but it might be just as good to point out that someone doing well at uni can earn £36,000 four years later(see Maths and Operational research graduates!) and be one of the richest 10% in the county five years after A-levels.


froot Fri 14-Jan-11 18:37:17

cornslik because his secondary school phoned us because on entry his reading and spelling age were 15+ (their tests didn't go any higher)and his CAT scores were some of the highest they had ever seen. And he was a spontaneous reader at 2 1/2 (reading Harry Potter books by 4)

Thanks Heroine....we have worked so hard for years on the social skiils and not being geeky stuff (successfully...phew - he has lots of friends and a girlfriend too).

I think you are right - he doesn't 'get' the pleasure in learning or trying and succeeding. Actually to stretch him he is learning mandarin Chinese out of school and that is the only subject he really works for - but even then he does the set homework and no more.

I hope he will 'get it' at uni - but he needs to get in first!!

Heroine Fri 14-Jan-11 20:40:24

oh that's awesome -I met someone doing chinese AND was writing a communication studies essay on the merits of pictorial language when I worked for a charity in edinburgh - it was awseome to meet someone who could talk about more than the weather and the telly!!

I seriously think you should call a local uni and see if he can go on a study skills course - they are usually 'experiential' these days which means that students actually do mini versions of work exercises and then reflect about what it would mean for them and how they can apply that awareness to new things - its great for bright kids because they get to 'do' and be successful first and then learn as much as they can out of it internally without having what they learn managed by the delivery, and there is no repeating of theory over and over, pupils are coached through illustrative tasks.

it is worth having the discussion about compents needed to succeed, talent, ability, work, dedication, application and also to do (as I did) deliberately do something that you can't possibly transfer your existing knowledge to (Chinese sounds good, but how about, say 'sound engineering/recording'(fun as its around bands which is cool - uses equipment that he won't be familiar with) or one of the National Trust dry walling and leadership courses.. say... ?

All great if you have the resources if not, then working hard with him to get him to go for something he really wants - but if he is anything like me and other bright kids I've worked with his idea of what is wortjh workoing for is probably a) obscure and b) anything you don't encourage..

Good luck though! It can be enjoyable, honest!

PonceyMcPonce Fri 14-Jan-11 20:45:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PonceyMcPonce Fri 14-Jan-11 20:45:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

triballeader Sat 15-Jan-11 09:47:08

Your not a bad person for feeling angry and frustrated that your son is not applying himself. Your just being a parent who wants their child to do their best so their options stay open.

There is no way known to humanity to stop a teenager going through 'the kevin stage' all you can try to do is give them the skills to survive to get to the other side.

With a bright child explaining consequences to actions may help but do not expect them to be welcomed.

School can be very boring esp if you feel all people want you to do is be the grade earning performing monkey. Have a look at other interests he may have and see if you can encourage him to make links between studies and interests.

Growing up is hard work for any teenager, try and keep the doors of communication open for him as there may be things bothering him but he may not know how to begin to tell you.

RealityIsKnockedUp Sat 15-Jan-11 09:54:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

cory Sat 15-Jan-11 10:18:47

Dh went through this stage rather badly. While not perhaps as gifted as your ds, he did go to private school on a bursary and was predicted very good reports. His term time reports (which we found when we cleared out MILs house) make dreary reading. Having said that, the shock of failing his exams proved precisely the kick up the backside that he needed. He pulled himself together, got into university, got a good degree and has never done slovenly work since.

Still, you say that your son has already got two As because he won't apply himself- the implication being that A instead of A* is some kind of failure? Might be worth checking up the university admissions policy first. They might not differentiate; it could be that other qualities are as important in distinguishing between and A and an A* student.

cory Sat 15-Jan-11 10:20:06

And absolutely do not pay any attention to what his peers are predicted or not. In life, your ds will see himself passed by people he never thought were as clever as him (but may also do better than others who were thought to be cleverer). This is one of those learning experiences that you have to cope with.

froot Sat 15-Jan-11 16:31:50

Thanx for all the comments, I do feel not so crap now!

heroine I will look into the study skills courses....he has been offered all sorts of extension stuff outside of school but has so far declined to do any of it (not wanting to stand out)

I might get him a book on sound engineering because he is seriously into his electric guitar (Cannibal Corpse or Children of Bodom anyone??)

reality I am venting on here because I don't want to vent at I really don't pressure him. No point in forcing him to revise because he will not (but he will do 5 minutes quite out of the blue - and claims that that will do)His girlfriend is big on studying so I think he knows revising is normal behaviour! I hope everything worked out for you eventually.........

The other thing I struggle with is helping him with career choice. Chemistry , physics and maths are his natural areas of ability (though he is an all rounder really) but he doesn't want to do medicine. He has poor writing (hand cannot keep up with brain) so anything involving dexterity is out. What with mega uni fees and the whole cost of life I want to guide him towards a career he will love - but also something that will make him enough money for a comfortable life (and also to pay off his likely massive student debt)

Any ideas gratefully received! (not got much from school on this front!)

rabbitstew Sat 15-Jan-11 20:34:53

You don't need good manual dexterity to be an engineer.

cory Sat 15-Jan-11 20:46:18

Helping with career choice is good. But don't forget that the final decision will have to rest with him- even if it does mean a career that does not give him the life you think of as comfortable.

Loads of areas where you can use chemistry, physics and maths without being a medic though, research for instance.

triballeader Sat 15-Jan-11 21:42:09

My son on being asked if he wanted to go via the medical academic route by his EdPsych looked ta the woman and said 'No **** way, can you imagine it- I would be even worse with patients than Doc Martin'.

He has always excelled in Maths,Chemistry, Physics, Biology [hates]Geography and similar but he is setting his sights on either a higher engineering apprenticeship [have a look at the Apprenticeship scheme website for details on advanced apprenticeships] so he can earn and learn and think what to do next or Uni and some area of Civil Engineering. Thanks to his Ed Psych and year head be doing all his sciences, two maths and a BTec 2 Engineering which suits him far better than medicine.

There are other routes out there for G&T if their bent and way of thinking does not welcome the pressure of academia.

You can contact Connexions for ideas on where and what next too.

gramercy Sun 16-Jan-11 13:11:57


I was the cleverest person at my grammar school (sorry, short boast). I got top marks in everything - no effort. In fact I inwardly sneered at those who did any work. It was all quite easy.

I did very well at O Level, less well at A Level, fair at university, and so on till now I am probably the lowest-achieving person in the land.

This has made me determined (rightly or wrongly, I don't know) to ensure that ds isn't a chip off the old block.

It would be good if there were motivational courses for teenagers available, because I don't doubt that coasting/lack of effort/can't be arsed must be quite a common problem.

Heroine Sun 16-Jan-11 13:17:38

As a hobby, proper sound engineering or music production requires a whole heap of physics - eg how do you predict the delay needed to manage the difference in sound for speakers at different points in a large stadium.. with miles of cables of different resistances.. and with different sizes of speaker available to you.. when low atmospheric pressure and high humidity is expected, and a moveable audience are unpredictable and will deaden sound wherever they are. Where should you put the mixing desk, how can you make the soundcheck useful, when conditions will change before the event, and how do you make Cannibal Corpse sound awesome, and 'listenable' when essentially there is a wall of noise coming from every instrument and vocalist on the stage.. (Actually I have seen Cannibal Corpse blush and they were indeed awesome!!) Would advise earplugs though if he goes to Death Metal gigs a lot grin

By the way being an academic in medicine would not need too much patient contact - it can be essentially a scientific academic job, with everything relating to humans

FreudianSlipIntoMyLaptop Sun 16-Jan-11 23:11:07

Sympathies - it's really frustrating. DH's DS was always The Clever One of his class/school (although to be fair, it was quite a bad school so not that difficult IYSWIM) - got used to cruising at a very early age.

He's really suffering for it now - rubbish A levels. Really can't see him sticking out 3 years at uni.

His younger sister is turning out just like him - bloody frustrating (don't have much input as they don't live with us) - always sailed through and now just can't be arsed. And yet her twin, who struggled through primary (dyslexia) is now flourishing at secondary - still finding it difficult, but she takes pride in her work and always does her best. I never believed I would say this but I'm quietly convinced that of the three of them, she will be the most successful.

Our DCs are young so no idea how 'clever' they are yet but we are making damn sure we teach them to try their best rather than cruising (I'm lucky to have learnt this from my parents, at least in an academic sense)

thecaptaincrocfamily Sun 16-Jan-11 23:36:37

No, not a bad person and I see your frustration that he isn't achieving his potential, especially in todays educational climate. Many more students want uni places and many more students seem to get A and A* grades (don't get me started on that though!). However, I agree that you can't put an old head on young shoulders and you have to fail before realising you need to work. I was very similar to your DS, didn't need to work hard to get good grades most of the time, so didn't revise for GCSE's and got all above c grade (that was fine 20 years ago!) However, I tried the same approach with A levels and failed spectacularly with E,D and N in sciences. I was meant to be a dentist but ended up becoming a nurse some years later. Years later I have gone back to study and am now committed because I realise I need to work if I don't want to fail.
It has to be his own lesson, my parents warned me to no avail sad

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