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I despair at my son and his lack of commitment to school

(35 Posts)
Jerseyknit Tue 24-Nov-15 14:26:43

I feel like a failure when it comes to getting my son to work at school. Over the years I've paid for private tuition, I've supported his music lessons and always encouraged him to work hard. He is 13, has gcse's coming up and the school are offering him extra help but he just can't be arsed. I work full time, mostly at home but that's not always been the case. I've paid to have a friend's very capable older older brother to help him improve his work but he just doesn't want to put the work in. I'm really not sure what else I can do. If I ground him or take away his pocket money I don't think it will make much difference. Any strategies will be very gratefully received? Please (begging and pleading face and on my knees)

Rosalyn44 Tue 24-Nov-15 15:41:45

No advice but sympathy but my DD is the same and has fallen really far behind now. Does bare minimum of anything and is very lazy. Her writing is barely legible having been perfect at primary. She has LDs which play a part but she is capable of way more than she's doing and has made 0 progress for years.

rosie1959 Tue 24-Nov-15 15:55:26

Our son thought of leaving school after his AS levels
My husband got a newspaper and pointed out all the jobs he would be able to apply for with out good A level results and how little he would be able to earn
Thankfully he took heed and has a fantastic career with a salary to match and has took on loads of higher qualifications since

Jerseyknit Tue 24-Nov-15 16:08:24

Thanks for the kind words. I'm inspired to sit with him when he's home looking at jobs pages.

rogueantimatter Tue 24-Nov-15 18:33:23

I sympathise - my older teens are/were similar.

Seeing as nagging isn't working I'd lay right off (easier said than done). You can lead a horse to water..... Whenever you talk to him about studying he probably switches off. My DD said that there were times when she was going to go and study until I told her to go and study and then she would feel annoyed and not study!! Nearer the time of his GCSE's he'll hopefully buck up.

C8tontherug Wed 25-Nov-15 08:42:44

Perhaps you could ask him what he is interested in ?

Cooking ? - chef

Cars ? - mechanic

Fashion ? - hairdresser, designer

Computer - Engineer

If you can work out what he likes you could may be aim his learning towards a certain subject ?

PurpleWithRed Wed 25-Nov-15 08:55:15

Nightmare. DS was like this. The main issue for him was lack of an objective - the kids who knew roughly what they wanted to do next knew why they were studying and got on with it; he had no idea and still doesn't really in terms of career but he does know that he likes living independently and that means he has to hold down a reasonable job.

I have no easy solution but if he has any hobbies or interests or general ambitions (like leaving home) maybe point out that he's going to need his GCSEs to afford those in the future.

That or just sit back, wine, and polish up your 'I Told You So's

PurpleDaisies Wed 25-Nov-15 09:05:12

Is he sitting his GCSEs early? If he's 13 and doing them at the usual time they really aren't coming up.

Lots of kids are like this at 13 and knuckle down when they've got a bit more maturity. I'd decide with school what the absolute minimum he needs to do is and enforce that (grounding, pocket money, whatever sanctions you can do) and then back off. More nagging will be counter productive. At some point they have to decide they want it for themselves. I'd ditch the tutor too, if he's not motivated you're wasting your money (I say this as a private tutor!).

It's a good idea to get him looking at the requirements for jobs he might like to do. Do the school have a careers service?

Germgirl Wed 25-Nov-15 09:11:46

My dsd is very much like this. She's only 9 so maybe we shouldn't worry yet but she's so incredibly lazy. DH gets very upset with her while I try to bite my tongue.
She's at a private school & DH has threatened to take her out as she just doesn't want to do anything. He's fed up of paying a thousand pounds a month for her to just mess about, her writing is terrible, she does the absolute bare minimum in every subject. Won't read at home at all and just won't stick with anything. DH pays for countless after school clubs and activities that she swears blind she wants to do and then gives up after two weeks. All she wants to do is watch rubbish YouTube videos on the iPad and terrible American tv programmes.
Sorry Op, I've hijacked a bit. No advice I'm afraid, I hope you can somehow motivate your son, I'll be keeping an eye on the thread for any advice I can 'borrow'!

Keeptrudging Wed 25-Nov-15 09:19:21

I spent years trying to get my son to study, and forced him to stay on to do Highers. He knew exactly what he wanted to do in life and worked for free helping local companies/community centre after phoning them up himself and talking to them.

He used to say "None of these exams will help me in this industry, it's all about your experience." He was absolutely right. He left school at 16, got in touch with companies far away (where the industry mainly is) and went off to work. He's been self-supporting since 16, has his own little flat and at the age of 20 set up his own business. I think the point is that you can leave school early/with not great qualifications IF you're really motivated/have the drive to succeed in something and the social skills to make the connections. That's rare in a teenager.

Find out what your son imagines life will be like after school. If it involves a fancy car, holidays, active social life you could cost them out with him (a nice maths lesson) and look at what job he will get that will fund them.

An apprenticeship may be more suitable for him if he can see where it would lead to, or a college course that could lead on to Uni if he chooses to (however College courses can have surprisingly high entry requirements - it would be worth showing him) . It is about the end goal, not the exam results in isolation, but good results give him so many more choices.

So many of the teenagers I worked with had a vision that when they left school they were going to suddenly have a car/money/cool job. They had no real idea of how they were going to achieve this or the real price of things. It is sad that for so many, being able to see the connection between good results and good career comes far too late for them.

I feel your pain, I found it incredibly stressful/frustrating because I felt like it was my responsibility to somehow make him study/care. Meantime he was chilled out/couldn't have cared less. All the stressing made zero difference to his motivation to study.

usual Wed 25-Nov-15 09:28:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rogueantimatter Wed 25-Nov-15 09:48:39

I'm confused as to him being 13 and having GCSEs coming up.

oldestmumaintheworld Wed 25-Nov-15 10:06:19

I do feel for you and understand how frustrating it is when you work hard and are motivated and your child is not. One of mine was like this for a period during early teenage years. What helped;

1. We cut off all money when aged 13 and helped her to get a paper round
2. Made it clear that we would pay for school clothes, shoes, books and limited phone time as well as basic weekend/casual clothes but nothing else. Any extras had to be paid for from paper round or in the case of an expensive school trip the cost had to be shared between her and us.
3. We talked about money and how we budget what we earn to pay the household bills. This proved a bit of an eye opener for her when she saw that we have to save to pay for holidays, Christmas, car insurance etc and how much just keeping the house going costs.
4. We talked honestly about how much we earn and what we had earned along the way to get to this point. This also came as a shock. Especially when we told her that we couldn't afford a mortgage or a car for eight years after we left university.
5. We didn't talk about school results at all. We did reward effort in every area of life - getting up on time, getting ready and leaving house prepared got praised; taking self to after school clubs and activities instead of being driven got praised; doing household chores without being nagged got praised. Everything else got ignored.
6. No TV or facebook or phone time until homework done. Homework done at kitchen table under eye of parent with other children also doing homework. School books and bags kept downstairs in kitchen. Parent read homework diary every day, but did not intervene by asking about homework.

The hardest part for us was not to get angry and shout about lazy behaviour. We tried to organise things so that making an effort was easier and made life more pleasant and at the same time cut off the opportunities to be lazy.

I cannot pretend that it was easy and it took about 12 months for her to really change her behaviour. However, by the time she went to university she had worked in four different jobs and saved her first years tuition.

Good luck and I hope this helps

rosie1959 Wed 25-Nov-15 10:15:25

Usual - odd comment nothing to do with being beneath me we all want the best for our children we knew our son had a high learning ability just needed to see what he needed to do at the time

usual Wed 25-Nov-15 10:25:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SheGotAllDaMoves Wed 25-Nov-15 10:26:40

Why has he been having private tuition OP?

Is he failing any particular subjects? At what age did he has tuition?

Keeptrudging Wed 25-Nov-15 10:42:07

Usual, it's not snobby to show them the different salaries they can expect and how they're unlikely to be living a lavish lifestyle on minimum wage. That's the reality.

SheGotAllDaMoves Wed 25-Nov-15 10:53:33

Given how tough it will be for this generation to buy their own home, have a family and one day retire on a pension I think it's pretty negligent not to provide DC with information.

In work benefits, free health care etc may not be a part of their future.

EnaSharplesHairnet Wed 25-Nov-15 11:00:20

Stating the obvious but what young people lack is experience. Especially of life outside of school and family.

Showing wages and job descriptions with any necessary qualifications is part of showing them whaT life after school will involve. (I've done it with mine as they won't be in receipt of trust funds: to me it is the opposite of snobby!)

I would be happy for mine to take a job after school if it has progression. If they had any gumption towards self employment I'd be over the moon! As it stands eldest did finally start making efforts when he saw a course he wanted to aim for.

Keeptrudging Wed 25-Nov-15 11:06:39

How about getting him involved with his local community centre as a volunteer? For my son, it gave him skills in dealing with all kinds of people and working with others. These skills and experiences made him much more employable (and boosted his confidence).

Blossomflowers Wed 25-Nov-15 12:20:28

usual why is it snobbish to want to do well in life. OP you have me sympathies my DS is 15 and just fucked up hi mocks, so will be really going to be on his case next 6 months. My older boy who is 24 left school with no qualifications and works in a factory doing horrible shifts.

FreezePeach Wed 25-Nov-15 15:21:54

He is 13.
A long way from GCSEs.
Both of mine were reluctant to say the least it came to school work at that age, but both changed a lot during Y9 and knuckled down to work by Y 10. Both got a decent set of GCSEs.
It sounds like all the tutoring may have had the opposite effect.

yeOldeTrout Wed 25-Nov-15 17:55:43

GCSEs start to get completed at 13yo (for some kids) at DD's school.

I showed yr11 DS the recruiting leaflet from Lidl (£8.20/hr) and he was really excited. He also thinks his predicted grades are as good as done & dusted. (sigh)

Keeptrudging Wed 25-Nov-15 18:00:49

Lidl are actually one of the better employers as far as pay for unskilled work goes.

FreezePeach Wed 25-Nov-15 18:04:14

GCSEs start to get completed at 13yo (for some kids) at DD's school
Really? Completed? Wow I thought early entry was a thing of the past because of the new GCSE curriculum.

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