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School reports- how to praise for efforts yet give them a kick up the backside (nicely!)

(9 Posts)
AFingerofFudge Fri 10-May-13 12:00:12

DS1 is in year 9, aged 13 and has just had his school report.

Generally speaking, he is a quiet, able child who is pretty clever and is quite happy at school.
His school report is, on paper, very good (mostly A's, some B's,) but I know that he could do much better if only he hadn't inherited the lazy arse gene from me blush

DH and I like to give him a gift if we feel he has made an effort, and in some subjects he has improved, so I've bought him a cookbook which I know he was interested in (he loves baking)
I'm just trying to write a little card to go along with it, but am struggling. What I want to say is "well done we are proud of you and what you achieve both at school and home, but here's a kick up the backside and stop doing the bare minimum to get by when you are capable of so much more"

I guess I'm frustrated because i know I wasted my brains at school as I only went for the social, and I don't want him to do the same

So what do I say? Any ideas gratefully received!!

booksteensandmagazines Fri 10-May-13 12:06:57

I'd just keep the note restricted to praise for the subjects he did better in and verbally give him the pep talk - otherwise I think they get confused together. And for pep talk - get him to pick out the areas he can do better in himself: specific and achievable targets in specific subjects - keep a record of them and see if he works towards them - if he does then more praise then.

Sounds so easy when you write it down and give others advice!! I know its not as simple as I've written it....

AFingerofFudge Fri 10-May-13 12:13:28

thanks books yes I agree actually, I will praise him in the note and leave it at that. I remember being nagged at home (mostly rightfully so!) but actually to see it in black and white "you're doing great but work harder" might be hard to take.
It's so difficult to get it right, I don't want to turn into a nag, but I don't want him to mess it up either!

AFingerofFudge Fri 10-May-13 12:37:29

Have got to go and fetch DS3 now so won't be round for a while, but any other ideas gratefully received!

Kleinzeit Fri 10-May-13 12:43:06

Absolutely resist the temptation to give him any kind of kick up the backside at all over his report. Praise and reward all the good things he’s done and make a real conscious effort to value his achievements and to minimise in your own mind what he hasn’t done. No mixed messages.

Your aim is to make him value the reward so he wants more. If you hedge the reward with “well done, you did a few things well but you didn’t really try very hard and I’m disappointed in you but here’s a reward anyway” then you shoot yourself in the foot.

You can encourage him to try harder at other times, by referring back to how happy he was when you were so pleased with this year’s report, and tell him about the even bigger better reward he can get when he gets A’s in a couple more subjects (or whatever) Tell him that later on, maybe at the start of next school year, not now.

ItsallisnowaFeegle Fri 10-May-13 12:47:16

Start with praise, then raise your concerns and offer encouragement, practical support and solutions to improving these, then end with more praise.


secretscwirrels Fri 10-May-13 16:26:26

I like to reward effort rather than achievement, more important when you have more than one child and don't want to compare grades.
Does his report give grades for effort? At my DCs school they get a grade for effort as well as a grade for results. I would go with cash for every A for effort rather than rewarding the grades achieved.
Also, year 9 is notorious for boys slacking off and it's worth letting him know you know he's not putting the work in.

AFingerofFudge Fri 10-May-13 20:00:21

Thanks for those thoughts- really helpful.

Well he's now opened his book and read his card and is really happy. So zipped mouth tightly shut and resisted all urges to say anything!!

mindfulmum Sat 11-May-13 17:52:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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