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7yo ds and his attitude

(7 Posts)
Idespair Mon 19-Aug-13 20:48:53

I don't know how to help my ds or how many other 7yo boys about to go into year 3 are like this.

Eg of typical behaviour (happened in year 2). The class are given a sheet to complete. Instead of completing the sheet himself, ds looks over the shoulder of a girl he knows to be very clever and copies down her answers. Those who have finished their sheets and got them right can do something else (presumably a more fun thing). So he's given his sheet in with all the correct answers and having spoken to him about this, he does not see the problem. He does not care whether he understood what was on the sheet, he cares that it is done and gone away from him.

Similarly, I will try to explain something to him at home that he should have learnt at school. Instead of listening, he will ask how long this will take and when can he go. His objective is to finish what we are talking about, he does not care whether he understands.

This sort of attitude is ever present. I heard him have a conversation with my 5yo and he told her "when I grow up I will marry a rich woman and then I will have her money and not go to work". shock. The only saving grace is that he did then say to dd that he would give her some of the rich woman's money.

He has a decent brain but he does not seem to want to use it. I cannot get through to him. His attitude horrifies me and dh, both of us have always done our best. Ds does his best to cut corners.

Can anyone think of how to get through to him?

carben Mon 19-Aug-13 21:04:32

I know it doesn't help but it shows 'initiative' and intelligence and a certain pragmatism. These are also skills in the big wide world. He will get found out soon enough and it will be a big fall and he will learn a valuable lesson. I think he sounds very confident and interesting TBH !

tricot39 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:10:38

I think it sounds enterprising too!
There are certain benefits to knowing how to work the system but I would be worried like you!
It sounds like the school's methods are encouraging students to consider learning to be a task to be got out of the way rather than an end in itself. Surely being rewarded for completing a worksheet should be to get more challenging work? I would raise this with the teacher to ask that he is moved to sit with less able students and that maybe rewards are organised differently? Yes it is good to know when shortcuts are sensible but in the end we all have to learn to knuckle down in some way. Is he like this with all.subjects? Any way to make him "learn" by stealth?

Idespair Mon 19-Aug-13 22:22:06

Yes, he is like this with all subjects unless something really, really interests him. In that case, he will do exactly as he is asked, quickly and well. Unfortunately only a small part of any one subject will interest him! He would write happily about sharks for example. He will happily read a book if it contains toilet humour/rudeness. I had to teach him to blend cvc words in reception using "b-u-m" etc. because he would not learn to read or listen to the teacher.

tricot39 Mon 19-Aug-13 22:39:58

If it were me I would go with a 2 pronged attack!

1) Undermine the idea of the "rich wife" in different ways. eg having chats with your Dh about how women tend to earn less than men in earshot of ds (but not to him in a way that he would consider "instruction"). Maybe raise other issues like glass ceilings/lack of women directors in ftse etc etc.

2) Plant the idea that he could be the next Richard
Branson or Dominic Mcveigh by starting a business from his bedroom! He sounds like an enterprising chap so he should take control of his own destiny rather than his current/dubious plan for a rich wife!

good luck!

Branson or

PastSellByDate Tue 20-Aug-13 13:46:25

Hello Idespair:

I do also despair - copying is rife at DDs' school.

We have all sorts of little issues with this because DDs attend CofE school:

A) One would rather expect ye olde Protestant work ethic to be evident somewhere. Sadlly, it's entirely absent - more's the pitty.

B) Cheating is effectively a form of theft - stealing other people's work and passing it off as your own. (one presumes Thou shall not steal should apply here).

C) On a human level I feel for DDs because they are trapped - if they point out to the teacher that cheating is going on they are a tattle tale and they most likely will have to deal with the child being angry or worse with them. If they do nothing, they feel bullied or victimised and obviously feel it's unfair.


I have to say I'm left wondering how the teacher doesn't notice - as from what DD1 says it can be pretty blatant in her class.

My solutions have been:

- to encourage DDs to believe that at the end of the day it's about what you know - as the saying goes it may be who you know who gets you there, but it's what you know that keeps you there.

- to try to find examples of hard work being its own reward.

- to encourage DD1 to position herself so people can't cheat or to partially cover her answers (with her arm, a book, another sheet of paper, etc...).

Finally DH & I try to make a real point of talking about how people have worked years to achieve something. Andy Murray didn't just go out one weekend hit the tennis ball about and then sign up for Wimbledon. There are years and years of practice, tournaments, fitness training, strict diet, etc... behind his success as a tennis player.

When we watch DVDs sometimes there are special features that talk about all the behind the scenes work. We make a real effort to show that it isn't just a thing you throw together, but this is something that has taken years of work and involved lots of people. Usually extremely well educated, clever people. Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings are brilliant for this - all the specials about how the film was made show the amount of effort taken and the numbers of people involved.

I think copying is understandably 'the easy answer' when you're not sure what to do yourself. I also think it's rather a fuzzy line between 'working together' and 'borrowing a friends' idea' for some children. However, what I think the act of copying really saying is "I'm finding this difficult and don't quite know what to do" - and maybe gradually perhaps you can tackle your DS about what he's struggling with or why he feels he needs to copy.

The attitude is one part defence mechanism (leave me alone Mum!) and one part (childish solution - I'll marry well, you'll see). The reality is the odds of this solution becoming a reality are slim as rich women generally tend to marry rich men. So maybe the way to get through is to point out it may just be better, if he wants that lifestyle, to be the rich man. Then he's earned it and nobody can take it away on a whim.


breadandbutterfly Thu 22-Aug-13 21:34:11

I also suspect he is finding it hard - cheating usually a cry for help in this way.

I'd start by getting him to do easy stuff - and praising him for his effort in doing it. Then build up to harder stuff - all the while praising/rewarding effort. It sounds like he's gpot overly focussed on achievement (of task) over effort involved. He needs to (re-)learn to develop pride in working hard to achieve his goals. Talk to the school about iot - they should reward effort too.

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