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My G&T child is lazy!

(21 Posts)
SippingSipsmith Tue 12-Jun-18 07:10:02

Anyone else had experience of this or know the best way of dealing with it?

DD reading well above her age and ability in maths also 1-2 years ahead but she's lazy!

She can't be bothered to read her reading books that come home. She's tired a lot especially after school but it's more a disinterest. It doesn't matter what level the book is because I've noticed her attitude whether it's got tricky words or not.

In fact she's quite obstinate when it comes to anything she doesn't want to do - I.e. swimming lessons.

Any advice on how to gently encourage? We are a family who try and work hard so it's difficult to understand!

MaisyPops Tue 12-Jun-18 07:16:20

Honestly, it sounds like you're doing what you can.
Some highly able children get a bit of a 'know it all' complex where because they are a bit brighter than their peers thry decide they couldn't possibly need to listen to thr adults in their lives.
You're seeing the home side. In school, we tend to see sloppy presentation, whizzing through work if it's easy but half attempts at anything challenging (because thry have this view that being clever means everything should be easy).
Some able students don't like being pushed or challenged. They are quite happy to safely coast a bit in front of their peers. Usually they get a shock when more resilient and hard working able peers start overtaking them. For others, it's a continual battle.

Keep doing what you're doing, follow their interests and maybe have a chat with school and see what they see.

FinallyHere Tue 12-Jun-18 07:26:58

Looking back, i can see how much of my behaviour which looked like laziness was actually fear, fear that i would not be as clever at the next thing. I don't know what the solution is, to help a child think about the process of learning rather than the end result, but that us how i would try and help. Or ask them to explain it to me...all the best, please don't write them off as lazy.

MaisyPops Tue 12-Jun-18 07:40:43

I see that a lot.
Especially if children have been praised for being clever lors when they're younger and always been top and always got full marks. They seem to think clever means finding work easy and so when they get appropriately challenged it's like you're questioning the heart of their existence.
Some go into panic mode, some decide they'll be lazy and coast along because it doesn't matter if they're not challenged as long as they can still seem smarter than their peers, others have the resilience to thrive on being challenged.

Every year I spend time telling every class that learning is not easy. If the lessons are easy every lesson then I'm not doing my job. It takes a few months to try and chip away.

SippingSipsmith Tue 12-Jun-18 08:16:25

It's a tough one. Of course I've praised her naturally. I've tried not to go OOT so it didn't create pressure but initially the teacher told me about her amazing ability with reading in front of her.

I'm careful to praise my DT for things other than academic stuff as well.

She does seem to make more of an effort for
her teachers especially whenever she's being assessed for the next reading level.

Neolara Tue 12-Jun-18 08:18:59

Maybe her reading books are boring. Reading scheme books often are. Just let her choose her own books to read.

applesandpears56 Tue 12-Jun-18 08:27:59

I agree - she’s being challenged and doesn’t like it as she’s used to finding things easy
Praise the learning process and effort not the outcome
‘I’m so proud of you for trying these hard books this evening’
‘The way to get better is to find things hard - if you practice then they get easy’
‘I know you don’t want to swim today but the way we get good at things is just trying our best’.
Then after the class whether she was rubbish or not-
‘I’m so proud of you for listening so well in your class - let’s go buy you (a pound toy/magazine) to celebrate

She doesn’t like swimming etc because she finds it challenging too

SippingSipsmith Tue 12-Jun-18 08:34:24

Thank you applesandpears - this is great!!! Will try putting this into action from today. It's definitely the message I wanted to put across but in my foggy mum brain I haven't been able to articulate

MaisyPops Tue 12-Jun-18 17:24:12

I agree apples.
Someone I know gave up 5 musical instruments and 6 sports over a number of years (some after 1 session!!) because they couldn't do it. One I thought I'd try it with them for company for positivity. 30 mins in and they were sulking because other people could do it... they'd been doing it years. Friend and I had been there 30mins. Lots of moping and making the atmosphere tense for everyone else as they made it clear how little they wanted to be there.

For another sport, they picked one up too much too quickly, got a little injured and decided that the sport in question didn't agree with their body and there's something physiologically wrong with them which makes them not suited. Anything that they aren't automatically going to be good at they give up.
They will only do hobbies where it's lots of small baby steps where you can achieve and be praised every 5 seconds. They're now almost 30 and are exactly the same.

moominmomma1234 Tue 12-Jun-18 21:48:28

interesting - I have been pondering something similar this week and I came on here to see if this is common in kids with high IQ. My ds (10) seems to flit from one hobby to the next. but without ever really mastering anything. his interest lasts about 2 wks. recently activities are : making animations on his iPad, learning about atoms/periodic table and computer coding. All have been abandoned. Now he is asking about learning chess. he throws himself into it at first then his interest quickly wains. Even when he was at nursery his teachers commented on him flitting from activity to activity. he has HFA/dyspraxia but not adhd. I am not sure how much his asd/dyspraxia plays a part. An ed psych report discovered his iq to be 142 (99.7 percentile) though this took us all by surprise. I worry he won't really achieve his full potential if he never really throws himself into anything,
I am trying to understand his learning profile. is it lazy?perfectionism? no grit? boredom? or disappointment that hobbies don't live up to his expectations? or have we just not found the one thing that lights up his brain enough to keep him hooked?

GrasswillbeGreener Fri 22-Jun-18 06:52:49

I'd say that boredom and perfectionism are two things to watch out for. My eldest is only mastering the problems of perfectionism as a teenager - she can now separate her emotional response to not being able to get something right immediately, leaving her some room to engage with the challenge. When younger I not infrequently found myself pushing through tears when helping her with something, as I could tell that she was "nearly there" just when she was ready to give up.

Peanutbuttercups21 Fri 22-Jun-18 06:56:53

Instead of reading "harder books" focus on finding more "fun" books to read

Xenia Wed 04-Jul-18 15:26:59

Try to make sure in teenage years she is a peer group where everyone at school is academic and does well as the herd mentality tends to kick in with the bright but lazy. For now just have your own red lines - eg music practice 10 mins a day, homework always to be done or whatever matters to you and leave the rest and concentrate on having good relationships with her and getting on which can be just as important. The example of a hard working family tends to be followed anyway by osmosis even if you think she does not notice or is kicking against the traces.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 05-Jul-18 12:56:09

Girls in particular high achieving girls need to be encouraged to 'take risks' and learn how to fail. Praising for effort is an important part of this. Schools that use effort and achievement grades in reports really help with this, I only reward the effort grades in a report, as I say if you get maximum marks for effort, but do not achieve I am still proud.
Maximum achievement and minimum effort disappoints me.

gorgeoushazydaysofsummer Thu 05-Jul-18 13:00:43

Agree with Maisypops.

Build your child's resilience.

Big life journal stuff - - is great for that.

There are lots of books around now.

SippingSipsmith Tue 10-Jul-18 10:56:48

Thank you for the recent comments. We are praising her for trying hard at things. I will look up that series of books. Thank you

NellyBarney Sun 07-Oct-18 23:53:55

It's an old threat but I enjoyed reading it as I thought op was describing my dd! In dd's defence, I am lazy, too, and would genuinely be surprised if a primary aged child was eager to read their books/do homework/get wet, cold and suffer stingy eyes in a smelly overchlorined pool. I would argue that however intelligent, most children need to learn self- discipline, not many primary school kids grit their teeth and resolve to work hard on theor own accord. I try to get dd to work hard through a mixture of praising effort, cebrating her genuine achievements, bribery, and enforcing routines along the lines of: no watching/dinner/pudding/playing/pocket money etc until after we have done homework/reading/music practice. I also found that kindling her competitive side can work sometimes.

artichaut27 Wed 31-Oct-18 11:06:35

Is this a common theme in the g&t children community?

I have two sons one 7 in Year 2 the youngest is 4 in reception.

DS1 is dyspraxic and has a grit that just blows my mind for his age. He works hard and sets himself ambitions (no pressure from us). I know that despite his SEN he will do well no matter what.

DS2 is the opposite. He learns extra easily but wants zero challenge. He does obsess about interests and becomes a pedantic little prof about them. But outside of that he’d rather not try or say he can’t preemptively. It is very frustrating. I’m just hoping that my oldest son’s wonderful drive will pull him along.

People look at me strangely when I say that DS2 is able but lazy.
I just really wonder how common this is.

NellyBarney Wed 31-Oct-18 14:32:49

Arti, your ds sounds wonderful! You must be so proud of him! I wonder whether there is a study that researched whether more able students tend to be more or less hard working than dc of more average ability, or even dc with particular disabilities. I can only guess, and have anecdotal reason to believe, that it's easier to become lazy, or to become reluctant to try hard, if you are more able. At school, highly able dc will make the experience that they don't have to try hard and can get away with doing very little. And so they often don't develop good study habits. Also, once they earned a reputation of 'being clever, they might become fearful of making mistakes and looking stupid and losing a reputation that might have become integral to their self esteem and idea of self.
My dd is dispraxic, too, so she knows that there are areas where she has to work super hard in order to get halfway where others get to without effort, just by natural ability. I try to make her work equally hard in the acadamic and musical areas where she shows higher aptitude (e.g. after finishing her math homework I'll give her some more challenging material, and I will insist that she reads proper books on top of her reading schemes), so that she comes to link success with hard graft, and self worth with a sense of doing ones best, whether she wins or comes last. To the outside that might look as I am hothousing her, as I make her work at home 2 to 3 years above her curriculum, but it seems to work ok. She is getting into a routine of work that she starts to keep up more and more without me making her, and she starts to say things like 'I would love to be able to do x, so I'll practice hard and try hard' - at the moment her dream is becoming a pop star, so she has asked for singing lessons and has upt her efforts on the piano and at ballet class. Not sure how long it will last, though!

sirfredfredgeorge Wed 31-Oct-18 18:10:05

And so they often don't develop good study habits. Also, once they earned a reputation of 'being clever, they might become fearful of making mistakes and looking stupid and losing a reputation that might have become integral to their self esteem and idea of self.

The thing about this is, kids can fall into the same trap, and end up over-working and not realising that doing a half arsed job is a perfectly appropriate response some times. In primary, it's easy to be the best at everything, the pool is so tiny and no-one is specialising, in secondary, the pool is bigger, some kids just only care about particular things and devote all their time because they love it as well as being good at it.

I've had a few people tell me how much they ruined their teenage years devoting all their spare time trying to meet the standard of the best in every subject. Of course they were able enough to do it, but because the others were specialising in those subjects and didn't care about others, the only way to meet the standard in all was to do nothing but wok.

Knowing when to be lazy, and when to work is one of the most important skills to learn - crazy cat lady in the Simpsons never learnt.

Cruising in what you find easy, so you can focus on what you find difficult is a good thing, not a bad one.

NellyBarney Wed 31-Oct-18 23:13:53

Def agree with Sirfred that there are times for doing just enough, and that working for works sake or any kind of perfectionism is unhealthy. I assume as with everything in life it's about the right balance. From personal experience, I have coasted during all of my years at school, getting away with last minute revisions just the night or mostly just even the morning before an exam. Everything that required regular practise and couldn't be achieved by quickly skimming through a textbook, I have avoided or given up on. At secondary school I hardly attended school anymore as I couldn't be bothered, knowing I could just turn up on the day of my exam and would still be at least in the top 5% of my year. I was just watching tv, playing computer games, sleeping during most of the day and going out at night, dabbling in cannabis. I wasn't happy during that time and wished my parents would have requested and encouraged some kind of discipline. Certainly I wouldn't have wanted my parents to push me to work all hours, or to be perfect at everything, either, but I would have preferred it if they'd helped me getting used to doing a bit everyday, and making me, at least, show up at school. I am now much more organized and disciplined, but discipline and organisational skills are still not my greatest strengths. And I regret not having put continous effort into areas like music, foreign languages, sports etc as I now lack those skills. But mostly it scares me how easily I could have totally lost my way and e.g. got expelled from school or have become addicted to drugs. My dd still spends hours each day just being lazy, watching on her iPad or playing outside. But I am making a fuss about 10 min/day on each instrument, and 10 min homework/day. Probably more for my sake then hers blush

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