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Has anyone had a child who spent Year 7 socialising and being the class clown and then buckled down? Or is it all downhill from here?

(52 Posts)
sandyballs Tue 05-Feb-13 08:52:48

DD (nearly 12) is driving me to distraction. She's reasonably bright, left primary with all level 5 SATS. Her levels have now dropped, most are 4's. All her targets say things like "concentrate in class more", "listen in class more", "talk less". You get the drift. She has managed to acquire 12 detentions since starting this school in September, mostly for things like forgetting homework (she did it but left it at home), forgetting calculator for maths. However last night I noticed another one in her planner for "silly behaviour" in PE which is a completely different thing from homework and missing equipment. There was also a text to a friend saying what a laugh PE had been hmm.

I'm so disappointed in her and me and DH have had several chats with her, the latest being Sunday, so to see that detention yesterday means not a single thing went into that head of hers. She seems to treat school like a big social occasion to impress her mates and doesn't seem at all bothered by detentions, which worries me at this early stage of secondary education. I also have to inspect her on the way out the door as she's suddenly discovered blusher and mascara!

Should we be so worried or am I over-reacting to her behaviour due to her twin sister who is the model student. Has already acquired 150 merits and got a prize from the Head of Year, hasn't got a single detention and plans to be the first student to leave the school without any. Her levels are up from primary school and she takes great care and makes huge effort. She would be very upset to get a single detention, let alone 12!

Haven't had a parents evening yet, not one until April which seems ridiculous to me. I'm tempted to make an appointment to see someone before then to discuss her attitude and behaviour.

Cheer me up with tales of kids who were like this at the start of secondary and left with top marks and glowing reports grin.

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 05-Feb-13 08:59:47

I cannot cheer you up because I have a DS in year 9 who is still the class clown and squiring detentions like they are sweets, who has spent the last 2 weeks grounded because of this.

OTOH I have a dd in year 10 who spent the first 2 years as a social butterfly and is now very very focused and hard working.

So I have no advice. But I am marking my place to see if anyone else does.

TotallyBS Tue 05-Feb-13 09:03:03

Is it possible that DD feels that she is in the shadow of her 'model student' sister?

Hardly a scientific sample but I knew one kid who had an older sibling who was always top of the class. The kid, in comparison, was average and people/teachers were always comparing the two.At some point that kid decided that he can't be as clever as his sibling so being popular was the next best thing.

sandyballs Tue 05-Feb-13 09:07:30

Thanks for replies. Great to hear daughter has buckled down Tantrums, lets hope your son does!

I don't think she feels in her shadow TotallyBS. I have always tried really hard not to compare them, I obviously have on this post, but had to, to get the point across. Probably to the studious DD's detriment really, I don't think she gets enough praise for doing so well, in case it upsets her sister hmm.

zippyrainbowbrite Tue 05-Feb-13 09:08:57

Hi, no advice to give, but can offer hope! My DH was an awful teenager, always in trouble at school (intelligent, but would rather have a laugh than work) and at home, drove his poor mother insane!

But... At around age 18 he realised that he wanted to actually do something with his life, got a job, worked his way up, and is now at (age 31) a senior level in a global company. His DM is now very proud, and all the troubled years are a distant memory!

sandyballs Tue 05-Feb-13 09:12:35

Thank you Zippy grin.

What worries me more these days than when I left school, which was donkeys years ago, is that it's very difficult to do anything at all without qualifications. I left school with very little and was offered three good jobs, took my pick.

pixi2 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:14:04

Year 10 they may decide to start working IME. Last year, year 9, we had detentions daily.

senua Tue 05-Feb-13 09:45:40

It is one of my pet theories that teenagers regress to toddlerhood. You have to teach them all over again that actions have consequences.

When does the school put them into sets?: her behaviour (and not just natural ability) will influence this outcome.

happygardening Tue 05-Feb-13 09:55:12

"her twin sister who is the model student. Has already acquired 150 merits and got a prize from the Head of Year, hasn't got a single detention and plans to be the first student to leave the school without any."
I'm with totally on this one. My DS1 lives in a little in the shadow of DS2 which I believe has knocked DS1 confidence luckily they're not even at the same school. But unless your daughter is completely oblivious to whats going on she must know that her twin sister has never had a detention and doesn't intend to ever get one, got a prize etc. We rarely discuss DS2 successes in fact make more of DS1 achievements although they're not as good he has no idea that DS2 is going to do so well although I'm starting to drop hints. But this doesn't mean others don't discuss it teachers friends at school etc. I genuinely don't know the answer to this we tried everything to encourage DS1 and a friend recently pointed out that we wrong not celebrate DS2 successes; in life there will always be those who do better than you and one needs to accept it and that being "better behaved" or getting better exam results doesn't mean you a better or nicer person.

Hullygully Tue 05-Feb-13 10:02:37

Is she taking that role becasue her twin has baggised the "swot" role and she can't compete?

That would be my concern.

guineapiglet Tue 05-Feb-13 10:02:51

Hi - I reckon Year 7 is a huge big shift for a lot of them, and they are really trying to fit and find their place, my son has recently moved area into a brand new environment, had to make new friends and work out where he is in the pecking order all over again. He is a bright child, but seems to revert to being loud and silly to try and get attention from his mates, and his work seems to suffer occasionally with the 'needs more effort' type comment.

We went to meet his tutor at Parents eve, she said he had settled in well, completely unaware of the big move he had had, and that he was now trying to fit in - we have talked to him about behaviour, and tried to give him some rope, but now after CAT testing, starting to see signs that he is now more settled and working a bit harder. I think we massively underestimate how tough this transition is for them really, lots of adjustments from going from big fish to tiddler and trying to work out for themselves how they all fit together.

inthewildernessbuild Tue 05-Feb-13 10:13:30

I completely second what HG says. It is the most obvious reason why your daughter might chose to divert from academic success - carving out niche etc.

I think your answer lies there.

Read Sibling Without Rivalry by Faber, it has a very interesting section on roles, and how to make sure siblings don't get stuck in roles. Also about how treating children with equal respect doesn't mean you don't celebrate individual successes. In the end the child who is unsuccessful feels like when it is his turn, he might not be recognised either.

Btw it is great that she is sociable and has so many friends, (speaking as one whose son aged 12/13 is really quite shy) but maybe she thinks no-one will like her unless she is "a laugh". Does she need reminding of all her other qualities that you value in her; praised for them I mean? Your other daughter might need reminding that she is a funloving sociable creature too. It goes both ways.

inthewildernessbuild Tue 05-Feb-13 10:19:24

I'm not surprised she is putting a brave face on the detentions. The alternative is to feel desperately unhappy and discouraged, if as you say they were for forgetfulness and calculators. I think she needs loads of your attention to help her get organised,and to feel better about herself, lots of listening, and less put downs. Yes rules, but make her feel you are on her side.

Startail Tue 05-Feb-13 10:32:35

She will compare herself with her sister, consciously and unconsciously.

I think you have to bite the bulletin and talk to her honestly.

You have to accept that she knows she's never going to be as good at something's as her sister, but that she owes it to herself to be the best she can be.

She needs to understand that it is way easier to get in to decent sets in Y7 than at any other time. She needs to find a balance between larking about and a certain amount of HW and revision and having fun.

You need a her to 'buy in to' a plan for good enough.

Sorry, horrid business speak, but you need to a knowledge her feelings about her sister and then agree how to prevent them doing HER harm.

In the end you can only guide, your DD has to decide she wants to succeed at being the best she can be regardless of anyone else.

It's very hard, it took my DSIS until she went to collage to find she had practical, employable skills her academic big sis does not have.

DFs DD1 only stopped being a vile teenager when she got decent GCSE results and no longer felt the pressure of a younger sister who didn't have to work at things.

Another DF has sent her DD2 to a different school because her scholarship winning DD1 is an impossible act to follow for any child.

creamteas Tue 05-Feb-13 10:45:28

My eldest two DS were a bit like that. DS1 is very academic and always got the 'joy to teach' type comments at school, and achieved 12 great GCSEs. When DS2 arrived at secondary, it was assumed he would be similar but he went the other way. No effort, lots of DTs and just about manged to get 5 Cs. He left for college (DS1 did 6th form) and this separation in education was the best thing that happened. They did have completely different GCSE options and outside interests and hobbies, but that was not enough...

DS2 is now 21 and still complains about teachers comparing him unfavourably with DS1 in school. I have no idea if teachers actually said things, or he just assumed they were thinking it.

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:02

I feel your pain! Though I am not 'gong through it' in the same way. DS1 is cleverer than DS2 but his more neurotic and anxious by far. DS2 has a far easier personality. Very occasionally DS1 will try and do DS2 'down' academically but I remind him that we have a strong cohort of well-off tradesmen in our family and the wealthiest by far among us is a cabinet maker! Retired at 52 etc. But the bloke in question (BIL) didn't get there by being a slack, faling academic, he did it by doing what he was good at, well.

Like you, I'd be a bit 'panicky' that one's DC is wrecking their chances so early on. I know you'll always have well-meaning MNetters talking about 'late developers' and it never being 'too late' but the facts remain that in our current system, a DC has to consistently perform throughout school. The 'buckling down' in Y10 is fine, providing they're in the 'right' sets and have had the opportunity to be doing 'the right' GCSEs having not 'blown it' already by finding themselves in Foundation Science (or whatever it's called) rather than the triple science their ability should see them in! It's also a lot easier, imo, to be cruising along with your academic 'peers' all along rather than be trying to claw your way up out of a lower set in Y9 or 10.

Like others, I'd suggest The Talk, spelling out that no, she isn't her sister; no, you don't require her to be BUT she is now old enough to be ploughing her own furrow. She should be becoming aware of 'her place' in a bigger picture' rather than just the academic pecking order within her own family. I'd also be talking to the tutor and her HoY to see if they will Have A Word, too.

And good luck. Your care and concern are good 'weapons' in this battle!

lljkk Tue 05-Feb-13 10:57:49

I was very disorganised for first 2.5 years of secondary, then I pulled myself together & turned into a top achiever.

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 10:59:27

But 2 1/2 years, lljkk- that's way longer than today's DC have the luxury of taking to 'sort themselves out'!

lljkk Tue 05-Feb-13 11:08:00

Only if you subscribe to the notion that GCSE results are desperately important, which is a rather moot point.

TotallyBS Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:12

A moot point? Your DCs either stand to inherit money in which case a well paid job isn't important to you or you are happy with the idea of your DC serving my DC at McDonalds in a few years time.

Startail Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:41

Unfortunately, some schools choose options in Y8.
Ours are talking about starting GCSE work in June of Y9.

They aren't going to rearrange sets in the dying weeks of Y9.

Sadly DCs need to be in the right places by the end of Y7.

DD1 is another doing double science when she shouldn't be.
In her case because she's dyslexic rather than she didn't work, but I didn't kick up a big enough fuss early enough.

The time for talking is now!

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:19:00

Well, yes, though I wouldn't use the term 'desperately' about GCSE results. But they are an extremely useful tool to help you get to where you want to be and, very importantly, keep your options open.

The teaboy doesn't make CEO any more as he doesn't have the 5 GCSEs necessary to get into the college he needs to go to in order to get the bits of paper many if not all employers demand to see as proof of your base-ability. It may be a rubbish system that disregards piles of talent, but it's the system we now have.

Sure, anyone can get a degree at any stage in their lives. But it's about 1000% easier to get it from 18-ish to 21-22 than 35+ with 2 x DCs, a mortgage etc etc

These days I confess to being a bit shock when I read of parents who are really laid back and 'whatevs' about their DCs lack of application as the world becomes ever more competitive and the safety net disappears. MY mum used to be quite hmm about me getting my DS2 tutored in Y6 to try and improve his English ability in order to get a 4 in his KS2 SATS (which he did) BUT I have a DB, now 52, who left SM with 2 grade 'D' CSEs yet still got into a technical college to do a bakery apprenticeship. NO college around here will even look at a DC without 5 GCSEs
including Maths and English. So DS2 hasto pass them.

TantrumsAndBalloons Tue 05-Feb-13 11:20:54

GCSEs at 16 are not the only way for DCs to be successful adults.

Not getting 12 As doesn't mean they will be working at McDonald's.

TotallyBS Tue 05-Feb-13 11:25:47

I too am a bit hmmmm about parents who have a 'whatevs' attitude about their children's education. It's as if you can't be a happy, well rounded child that also have a decent set of GCSE results.

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:29:56

Yes, BS, quite.

I often remind DS1 that what he's buying himself by 'getting on with it' at school is choice, that his future is highly likely to be happier and brighter with choice than without.

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