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Lazy child

(28 Posts)
NewLife4Me Fri 10-Jun-16 19:20:15

If you have or have had a lazy child what are you doing/ did you do to stop the laziness.
teachers say dd is lazy, they have strategies they will use at school, but she isn't bothered about the reputation of being lazy, bare minimum will do.
She is like this with everything, not just school work.
there may be SEN, currently being assessed, but not sure this has anything to do with it as she is the same outside school.
Apart from leading by example and stop any laziness at home what can we do to help?

TeenAndTween Fri 10-Jun-16 19:44:57

If it is can't be bothered then at home I would be reviewing homework and sending it back if not done thoroughly.
So upfront I would look at homework and set expectations (e.g. I expect you to write 2 sides for this essay, or do 20 of these maths questions)
Then I would check it has been done.
If not sufficient I would send it back to be redone, stressing that it is now going to take even longer because they didn't bother properly first time.
And repeat until they get the message.

I would also be asking that teacher sends home to be done any work that didn't get done in school due to same attitude.

If it is some form of SEN then it needs a different approach. My DD1 has dyspraxia, and her inability to write much is very much 'can't do' rather than 'won't do'. In that situation, I would support to enable achievement. So for DD we sat and discussed written work, and I helped her with structures, and then she did the work. Or sometimes she dictated, I wrote it down, and she then copied it out. She struggles with other things such as tidying her room as she can't see the mess, so books all askew drive me crazy but she doesn't even notice.

It can be difficult to tell the difference, as the 'cants' can pretend it is 'wont'. (My DD2 has a tendency to do this, but is improving on this).

NewLife4Me Fri 10-Jun-16 21:38:58


Sorry, forgot to say she is a boarder, so although we do see homework occasionally it is usual for it to be done supervised at school.
There is no way she would do it unsupervised and that's the same with everything except music practice and hear she isn't really reaching her potential because of disorganisation. School are supporting her here.

I want to get it home to her that she needs to put more effort into her work so she can progress. Her teachers are happy with her but that's because she's gifted and doesn't think she has to do any work. It's infuriating.

I will definitely set a bit of homework during her holidays as she has over 8 weeks. So will take your advice, many thanks.

Icouldbeknitting Fri 10-Jun-16 22:12:13

I will wait with interest to see what the solution is to the talented slacker because I've yet to find a strategy that works. If it matters to her then she'll put the effort in - the key is to find something that makes it matter. Fortunately you don't have GCSEs on the horizon for several years.

It is incredibly frustrating but you can't force a work ethic on them, they have to want it.

NewLife4Me Fri 10-Jun-16 22:31:02

Aw it is so frustrating, even when things go wrong she still doesn't think it has anything to do with her lack of effort.
She does try and does work hard but not in the right bloody direction.
H.ed worked so well for her emotionally, but she got into the habit of working at what she likes and leaving what she doesn't.

I don't want to pile pressure on her, but could do with some ideas to encourage her.
Her work ethic is great in her chosen area, it's getting the same effort with everything else.

She loves her school, so wouldn't take her out it just frustrates me she has such potential, maybe hearing this all the time can't help.
It makes them think they are bloody invincible. grin

mummytime Fri 10-Jun-16 22:38:34

It could be SN/SEN eg. ADHD, dyslexia, processing issues etc.
It could be self esteem.
It could be being bright and not seeing the point (for bright student the work to GCSE can seem trivial/obvious, then they get a shock at A'level).
Having gone from HE which can be far more efficient to boarding school seems a huge jump. People I know who HE get an awful lot more real learning done in a few hours than 6+ hours at school.
She could also be finding the school environment highly distracting - lots of other people, noise, fidgeting etc.

NewLife4Me Fri 10-Jun-16 22:53:12


She is currently being assessed for learning disabilities and has a referral to CAMHS.
I'm not sure what I should be doing tbh, I know it may be better to wait, but would like to help her during holidays.
Her room is a disgrace when she is at home, her school bag the same.
She really gets into a disgusting mess that has me in tears. I daren't even say the worst thing we have found. But usually food, wrappers, concoctions, dirty clothes, all mixed together with clean things. A sticky gunge.

Pythonesque Fri 10-Jun-16 23:07:27

Thinking aloud here, really.

Sounds like organisational skills may be one of the real issues (I've got one of those too ... also boarding ... about to change schools - scary!). Why don't you focus holiday efforts on that, help her experiment with ways she can set up her own routines and see if she can stick with them. Music practice being the first place where you should get obvious agreement that it is a useful thing to do!

[note to self ...!]

Good luck!

mummytime Sat 11-Jun-16 08:32:06

I would go against the MN norm, and help her as much as she will let you.

Having a messy room/bag could well be upsetting for her, but if she is at all depressed it can all feel "too much" to deal with.
In dealing with depressed teens, it is tricky. You can't nag too much, but there is a distinct correlation between better hygiene and tidier rooms AND better mental health. And its not clear which causes which - when they are in a better state they wash more and have a tidy room, but also just having a shower/bath and someone clearing up makes them feel better. The mess can sometimes pull them back mentally.
To be honest key things to do are: help her with tidying up, ensure she eats regularly, be there for her to talk to, encourage some exercise (walk, run, cycling whatever she enjoys), and don't pile on the exam pressure.

I would also try being very explicitly clear about what you do want. So in keeping her room tidy (if she isn't too depressed) try working on a simple list of tasks: put dirty washing in wash bag, put used tissues in bin, put sanitary towels in bathroom bin, bring plates to kitchen, sweep floor.
You can then have another list in the kitchen for things like: put food waste in food caddy, liquids in the sink, then plates and glasses in dishwasher.

But I'd only do this if your DD is not too depressed.
There are books to help teens with ADHD and ASD etc. organise themselves.

swingofthings Sat 11-Jun-16 08:48:08

I strongly believe that the best way to help a lazy child, regardless of what might be the cause of it is find the way to motivate them to put the effort in. This usually mean focusing on the activity they enjoy. There might already be one, or it might be about introducing them to new experiences which help them discover there is one thing they are passionate or at least interested in.

It is then about teaching them what benefits they get from putting the work in to get results and the good factor that this brings. Once this link is made, it can slowly be applied to areas of life that are not as satisfying, but where the child can see the benefits it will have for their future.

How much do you talk to DD? Not about every day life factual matters, but about emotions, dreams, intentions, what makes them feel good, what makes them feel anxious, what they would like to accomplish etc...

GetAHaircutCarl Sat 11-Jun-16 08:55:00

You have to lead from the front OP.

You can't tell your DC to do stuff that they can full well see you don't put into practice yourself!

You have to model good behaviours consistently.

Obviously some DC still fuck around which is when you either have to play hard ball or leave them to it.

claraschu Sat 11-Jun-16 09:26:50

I have a very stubborn musician for a son. He was not interested in school, (and not susceptible to bribery or bullying from me). In October of year 10 he told me that he would go to school until Christmas, if I insisted, but then he was stopping in order to have time to practise the piano (HE has always been something we have seen as an option for our kids).

He dropped out of school, worked hard at music, didn't do GCSEs, and is now doing A levels at a specialist music school. He is happy, hard working, mature, and surprisingly well informed and well read, even though he did virtually no school work after the age of 14.

I am not saying this is the answer for anyone else, just saying that some people don't see the point in doing everything the way that school and society tells them to do it. I don't think your daughter is lazy; she just doesn't do things she doesn't feel like doing, which is actually a great quality to have (also problematic and difficult to deal with as a parent).

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 12:03:58

Thank you all so much for the support.
We do have a good relationship atm after not being on good terms with stroppiness and normal pre teen stuff. This seems to have gone now and she is a lot better to get on with and less defensive.
I feel as though now is a good time to try to put some good ideas into practice, but obviously don't want to push her too hard so we are back to square one.
I'm hoping to try some organisational tips with her over the holidays, this is where she has pushed against us in the past, we had to abandon this approach as it wasn't helping.


You are so right, hit the nail on the head.
Now she has to conform she finds it difficult. H.ed was great for her practice and her school is where she wants to be musically, she worked hard to get there, so we know she has the potential to work at things.
It just seems as though she can't be bothered.
It's hard though because it's difficult separating what is not being bothered and where she has difficulties.

claraschu Sat 11-Jun-16 12:51:08

I see a lot of young musicians really demoralised by the GCSE slog. It can be quite soul destroying for some people. I think keeping a sense of proportion and inner confidence is important. Your daughter sounds wonderful-

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 14:34:39

Thank you claraschu

She can be a lovely girl and we are seeing more of this as late, so hope it continues.
I just get frustrated when her teachers tell us she is lazy, and frustrating to think that unless she changes the can't be bothered attitude, she won't reach potential.
So it isn't really lazy in general more a case of lazy with specifics.
Even her music teachers are beginning to say the same now, and whilst I'm sure she won't be assessed out/ lose her place, they will be more demanding of her next year and she won't be allowed to coast.
I just hope she can take the pressure and would like to find ways to encourage the right mindset during the holidays.
Part of me thinks the boot camp approach will work, but during the holidays she will need a break as school is so full on anyway.
Argh the balance is difficult. grin

mummytime Sat 11-Jun-16 15:09:05

The key thing to remember is "there are other routes". Sometimes a slower and less direct route is better overall.

A friend of mine's son was a Chorister, then got into a top Boarding school (one MN approve in general). However after a year he left as it just wasn't the right place for him. He is now HEing and doing more music than he could at school, some of which at a higher level (professional) than he'd have the chance to at school.

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 15:57:05

It is a hard one, although she did well musically whilst H.ed, it got her into one of the best music schools in the country, her academic subjects suffered and it would have been a battle further down the line when it mattered for GCSE level work.
She does love her school and during the last year (it's taken almost this long for her to settle) she has made good friends and has a peer group which I know was one of the things during H.ed that she longed for. There aren't many H.edders near us. We have suggested that maybe it isn't for her at times when she has been struggling with the school environment, but she is adamant she wouldn't leave, they would have to ask her to leave, and there is no chance of that atm.
That's not to say that if she doesn't pull her finger out it won't happen.

GetAHaircutCarl Sat 11-Jun-16 16:04:43

How about breaking it down into manageable chunks?

Telling someone that they need to improve in all areas might feel overwhelming.

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 16:15:11

can you give me an example/ or do you mean tackling say one part at a time.
E.g school bag, pencil case, drawers in bedroom type of thing.

I do find that time seems to vanish and things get left and not completed. She rarely completes anything, no attention to detail.

I struggle too, and whilst I try to lead by example I'm just as bad.
luckily I have almost nobody to answer to, apart from occasionally like school paperwork for e.g, very few deadlines.
I am dyslexic, dyspraxic, adhd, slow processing and other learning disabilities.
Leading by example is difficult.

mummytime Sat 11-Jun-16 16:51:32

I would suggest you enter a dialogue with her. Find out what she thinks needs to change, what things she thinks might help her and study strategies she tries.
Do lists help?
Mind maps?
Reading books?
Does she learn best by seeing things, hearing things, doing things?
And you can look together at self-help books for teens and see which ones appeal to her most.
Help her minimise her stuff and organise it.

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 17:11:56

Thank you mummytime
so kind of you.

I know lists don't work she seems to ignore them, thinks she knows better and gets it wrong.
An example is packing to come home.
We are only given a short time to help, so they are expected to do a lot by themselves. after 3 half terms of turning up to find a mess and her stuff unretrievable from various locked parts of the school I text her a list.
In order, what to put in her cases, which drawers to empty etc.
turn up to find a mess, and a rush to pile things into bags, boxes and throw into the car.
All the other children can't necessarily do it for themselves, but their parents say at least they will follow the list.
This example just highlights her attitude, she always knows better.

NewLife4Me Sat 11-Jun-16 17:15:44

I suppose my problem is how to get her to see that interventions offered by people could help her.
people giving ideas will help her get organised.
People telling her to revise and her following their tips will mean better results. The list seems endless.
I know it may sound like nit picking, or I expect the perfect child. I really don't, just some small improvement that she could carry across the board to get things working in the right direction would be enough.

sendsummer Sat 11-Jun-16 20:01:52

I think the first thing is to establish whether she now wants and will accept help (even if she is defensive about it) or whether she dors not care about it and avoiding doing things that are boring or seem pointless to her.

The latter may need a more robust warning from her teachers to her so that she sees that she needs to put the effort in to be sure of staying at the school.
If she has genuine problems with organisation what about ideas clearly labelled bags to sort her packing into. Similar for schoolwork by subject so that she does n't waste homework time looking for the relevant exercise book

mummytime Sat 11-Jun-16 20:40:00

I'd suggest you talk to her as an adult. Ask her if she needs help learning to organise herself? Talk to her about how organised she will need to be in her future career. If she is likely to tour, how she might have to live out of a suitcase for months and how she will have to care for instrument and costume.
If she forgets things in locked rooms then as far as possible make her do without. And get her teachers involved, she probably needs scaffolding before she can be independent.

troutsprout Sat 11-Jun-16 21:29:51

Can she imagine the impact her disorganisation has? Can she foresee the consequences of her actions before it is upon her? Can she imagine her life in a few weeks time and see the steps inbetween? Can she imagine what another person would think of her lack of life skills?
My gut feeling is that she isn't lazy ... That implies won't. I think perhaps she can't
I have a boy who can't naturally do any of those things .

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