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Anybody who has successfully turned around a lazy bright 16 year old boy please share your secrets. GCSEs looming and getting desperate.

(27 Posts)
Hart1eyHare Tue 21-Jan-20 21:24:57

Ds is so lazy. Does minimum. Mocks fine some good but a few not where he should be as supposed to be getting high grades in all.Got told at parents evening how lazy he is and how he hands work in late.This evening he knocked off a physics paper supposed to be 1 hour 45 in an hour as he was hoping to meet up with friends online. Did a really shoddy job. Then found yet another late English piece on his desk. Faffed around the whole evening not settled to it and doesn’t seem to care. Have given him the riot act and taken his phone.

Honestly at my wits end. Can’t face 4 more months of this. Such a shit attitude and a waste. He’s so disorganised on top. It’s driving me nuts.angry

What to do?

OP’s posts: |
JeffreysWorkTrousers Tue 21-Jan-20 22:25:36

Talk to him about what his options are if he doesn't get the grades he wants to get. Ds1 (sorry, very motivated) his mate had to change his A level choice on GCSE results day as he didn't get a 6 in maths so couldn't take it as an A level.

He had to make a decision in about an hour talking it through with a teacher from the sixth form. So he is essentially doing a subject he didn't want to do because he didn't work hard enough.

Set times for revision, but test him if you can, there are a million flashcards on Quizlet that you can find and ask him questions on so you can test his knowledge. Reading notes isn't effective revision. Knowing how to apply the knowledge to the questions is key. But start by idenitfying how knowledgeable he is.

If you have to sit over him, then so be it. But remove all possible distractions of phone, xbox etc.

Londonmummy66 Tue 21-Jan-20 22:37:54

Can you get him a work experience slot doing something really mindless? Focuses their minds brilliantly.......

memaymamo Tue 21-Jan-20 23:06:00

We have one of these but he's 14. We have stripped back all screens during the week, and we check his workload and homework, things to study for etc so that we know what he is and isn't doing.

It is a lot of work for all of us but I think he just still needs the external accountability. The hope is that you gradually withdraw that as they learn to manage better on their own but who knows if he'll get there...

You can only hope he's a brilliant entrepreneur type who will tell everyone in his memoirs how he never did too well at school but found his passion in his 20s and made millions of dollars doing what he loved.

caringcarer Tue 21-Jan-20 23:09:40

My eldest son was lazy but we bribed him. It worked. We offered him £100 for each A grade £80 for B grade and £60 for C grade. This was over 10 years ago. Now he is a lorry driver.

StillWeRise Tue 21-Jan-20 23:11:46

we had this
fast forward 15 years, he has 2 degrees
make sure he knows what he needs to allow him to progress
you can't force him

caringcarer Tue 21-Jan-20 23:12:56

He wanted a holiday with friends so decided to work and I must say he cleaned us out. He went from E in mocks to mostly A's in exams. He got one C grade and all the rest higher. He did 12 subjects at GCSE.

Johnathonripples Wed 22-Jan-20 06:53:14

OP What A levels /apprenticeship/ course/ does he want to do in September? What grades does he need for this next stage? Does he have a back up plan in place for if he does not get the required grades?

HPFA Wed 22-Jan-20 06:55:56

I've decided to take a different attitude with mine. I've stopped worrying about her grades - somehow it would be more stressful if she was working her socks off and I was worried about her efforts not paying off.

They aren't like younger children where you can't expect them to act responsibly. There are plenty of teenagers working hard and doing their best. DD isn't putting in the effort and might have to face the consequences. I'll be there with hugs and not a word of "told you so" but I refuse to feel responsible for it.

CherryPavlova Wed 22-Jan-20 07:01:08

We did a combination of some previous suggestions.
Tangible reward for achievement.
Structured homework time without distraction,
Tutors - online and face to face to provide focus.
Work experience that led to his career and gave him something to reach for.
Homework diary/timetable so we knew what he should be doing.
Sanctions of removing activities such as youth theatre and rugby if he didn’t do his homework to aa high standard on time.

namechangenumber2 Wed 22-Jan-20 07:08:12

Bloody hell you're talking about my son OP?!!

He's exactly the same, although the difference is the comments at parents eve. His teachers think he's fabulous and couldn't believe it when I said he didn't revise.

He's bright - predicted 6-8's but told he should be aiming for 7+ in every one. Even in subjects he hates ( English!)

Mocks have been so so, I had hoped he'd totally flop in them so he'd have a shock, but in true DS style he still managed to do ok.

He's so frustrating, everything is last minute. He rushes everything to go online with friends - or pretends he doesn't have anything to do then I find him sat on his bed at 9.30 doing homework due in the next day...

We've tried bribes! Nothing works.. angry

pumpkinpie01 Wed 22-Jan-20 07:09:18

My Ds was like this , so frustrating then he really buckled down about 3 weeks before exams , your son could be a crammer too.

Alsoplayspiccolo Wed 22-Jan-20 07:36:41

I bumped into a friend yesterday, whose eldest DS is in his first year at uni, reading law.
Me: So he got the grades needed, then?
Her: On the button - only what he needed, nothing more...same as always. We're still waiting to see what he's capable of when he tries.

It seems to be a thing with a lot of boys: why break a sweat, when you can do ok without?
DS is in the same mindset. He's really capable, could get 8s and 9s but works at about 75% effort at best and is happy with 7s. He's not in GCSE year, so we're hoping he'll move up a gear when he needs to, but I can't see any way of forcing him to it be doesn't.

That said, the advice about removing distractions, enforcing a homework time, checking planners etc is great. If you know you are doing everything possible to help and support him, the rest is down to him.

You say he is disorganised and hands homework in late. Has he ever been assessed for executive function issues? DD and DH both have executive function issues and both are chaotic, disorganised, poor at planning, can't see deadlines looming etc.
It might be that your son is bright but struggling with organising himself and this might mean he suffers overwhelm, so puts off starting. ( If he's doing homework last thing at night, in a rush, he clearly has some motivation to do it, but perhaps needs a deadline to focus him?)
Just a thought.

Alsoplayspiccolo Wed 22-Jan-20 07:37:55

Sorry, just realised it was PP, not OP that mentioned her DS doing homework in bed.

wishing4sun Wed 22-Jan-20 07:45:08

My ds now 18 was like this, I stressed out so much about it but in the end it was his decision to study or not he knew the consequences had made his decision about what he was going to do after depending on his grades. In the end he came out with good grades they could of been better I have no doubt but he worked it out and our home life was a lot less stressful when I stopped nagging him every 5 mins. As he said to me why worry about getting an A when getting a c is good enough for his course, getting an A won't get you any further.

RedskyAtnight Wed 22-Jan-20 07:47:11

Perhaps you just have to accept that getting results that are "fine" is good enough? Are these sufficient for him to go on and do whatever he wants to next year? If not, does he have a realistic plan B? If they aren't and this doesn't spur him on do try harder, then maybe his Plan A isn't the right plan for him?

My DS can't see the point of achieving more highly than he needs to do get on to the next thing. Other than "it gives you more options", it's actually hard to think of reasons why this is not the correct approach.

fessmess Wed 22-Jan-20 07:52:24

Ultimately it is his decision. One of mine did bare minimum and wishes she hadn't (even though she got enough to progress) and the other failed the lot. I had to back off. Yes I chatted to them about what they needed to do, yes I took them to places to inspire them. But, stressing about it was killing me. Ultimately it is their life. One who failed is now at KFC and is loving it. She is now mentally good, has friends and is happy. If you'd have told me 5 years ago my A* dd would me saying at 20 "you want fries with that?" I'd have been horrified. But hey ho.

Oblomov20 Wed 22-Jan-20 07:53:38

Same here. Bare minimum. It's sole destroying. How I've sobbed. No advice I'm afraid. Only here to tell you that you're not alone, if that helps at all!

Techway Wed 22-Jan-20 08:05:20

I think it depends on the reason behind the lack of effort.. just in time can be a character trait but equally poor organisanal skills and being distracted could be factors. I think gcses is much too early to not help however.

I have seen many boys "fail" because they didn't know how to learn or were addicted to online, they then think they can't study so A levels are even more painful until they drop out.
Ime experience boys look to achieve and if school work is not successful they give up and try to succeed in another area, which could be social or gaming, it is then a quick spiral for school work.

That said, not all dc are academically focussed, despite intelligence and there maybe careers that will suit them best which can start from 16.

It is exhausting to get any teen through gcses but a demotivated one is 100x more so you have my sympathy.

45andfine Wed 22-Jan-20 08:13:17

Take heart that he is actually doing something!

So many of my students refuse to even write anything and during mocks, just sleep their way through the exam.

Your son will be trying to muddle his way through this type of peer pressure I'm afraid. It's not cool to do well at school.

The best approach is to do as others say and get him focused on what he needs to get to next step and how he will feel if he doesn't get the grades.

TheHumansAreDefinitelyDead Wed 22-Jan-20 08:13:19

My DS was like this last year

Other than cooking regular meals, ask him how it was going once a day, and paying for Seneca, I left him to get on with it.

He got quite a few 3s and 4s in his mocks, when predicted 7-9s!

He did ok in the end, average grade 7, he could have worked harder and done better, but he says he hasn’t closed any doors on himself and was able to choose the a levels he wanted, so he is happy and to be honest so am I.

At least it was not too stressful a time, and did not affect our relationship negatively.

Backing off a bit can be good. They need to grow up and make their own mistakes along the way.

AnuvvaMuvva Wed 22-Jan-20 08:32:30

My DS was like this at this time last year. I asked him what I could do to help. He said I could buy him a Seneca subscription as he'd discovered it and felt it could work for him.

So I bought it (it was only about £30) and he used it 3-4 hours a week. His grades in the actual GCSEs were unrecognisable from his mocks! We'd had an awful parents evening where all 3 science teachers told him he had to go more, was on course to fail, etc. On results day, his physics teacher came over and congratulated him and shook his hand! He got an 8.

dementedma Wed 22-Jan-20 08:44:24

Why is he disinterested though. I get the lazy bit, DS was the same and had no interest in making an effort. Also a school refuser on the verge of being excluded. I thank my stars for a brilliant teacher in the music department who saw beyond the bored teenager and handed DS a bass guitar on day. The rest is history..and music is his passion and his motivation. Does your ds have an interest in something more vocational or creative. Are the Armed Forces of interest? Great careers there( yes, not for everyone!) and they do have something of a track record for helping people over come laziness grin

TheHumansAreDefinitelyDead Wed 22-Jan-20 09:28:56

Anuvvamuvva my DS got 8s in triple science as well, only revised with Seneca, did not open a single book

Mrscaindingle Wed 22-Jan-20 09:46:07

DS1 was exactly the same, did great at his Nat 5's ( we are in Scotland) when he could coast through on ability but not so well in his highers when he needed to put the work in.
I left him to it, obviously showed an interest and supported his study when he did it but feel that cracking the whip is counter productive, they need to feel the consequences of not studying. He was annoyed with his higher results as he knew he could have done better.
He decided at the last minute he wanted to live abroad and learn languages. He's now at Uni in Paris and did it all himself as he was motivated to go and I believe that he now knows he needs to work hard to be able to get through his course.
For these sorts of kids failure can be a good motivator.

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