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Do I give up trying to help with schoolwork, exam assignments etc, re 16 yr old

(22 Posts)
PJ67 Mon 29-Feb-16 23:05:45

My 16 yr old ds is sitting his highers this year (Scottish system, he's in 5th year). Three of his subjects involve assignments that he can prepare in advance at home and has to do some research, interviews etc. I'm really wanting to help make sure he's on the right track and have read the guidelines etc but he will barely let me discuss them and won't even tell me what topics he's decided to write about.
I find this so frustrating as I feel I would be able to proof read or at least have some discussion about the topics. One is medical ethics based and I have a lot of involvement in this at work but he will not listen to any advice.
It's got to the point where I'm almosr obsessed with talking about it because he won't and he's telling me to 'get out of his room' and that he's not listening. I know I should give up but find it so hard as I feel he would get a better grade if he was willing to accept a bit of help.
Sorry for ranting on but I'm finding all this pre exam stuff quite stressful. He failed two of his prelims and I'm going on at him to study more but he's so laid back he thinks he'll be fine if he does it closer to the time. Aaargh!!!
How do I accept he doesn't want my help and leave him to it ( especially when I'm a bit of a control freak!)

DropYourSword Mon 29-Feb-16 23:10:31

He'll be interpreting your 'trying to help' as 'interfering'. It's his work, just leave him to it.

Admittedly it was 20 years ago now, but my parents didn't really get involved with my course work etc.

ilovesooty Mon 29-Feb-16 23:13:41

Is he expected to sign a declaration that he has completed the work unaided?

LogicalThinking Mon 29-Feb-16 23:34:31

Keep out of it. This is his work, not yours.

weegiemum Mon 29-Feb-16 23:43:01

My 16yo dd1 is sitting her Nat5 this year and is up to her eyeballs in art, design & manufacture and English .

I'm looking over stuff if she asks and keeping a weather eye on how it's going but leaving it mainly up to her. They're her exams!

But I won't let her do nothing! Trying o keep an eye on submission dates!!

BackforGood Mon 29-Feb-16 23:46:52

Yes. It's not your exam, it's his. You've not done him any favours if you've been hovering over him up until now, IMO.

junebirthdaygirl Mon 29-Feb-16 23:56:45

If you back off he will work better. The more you worry the less he will. Let him know you have confidence in him. Takes deep breathing on your part but it works. Change the dynamic. You have nothing to lose. Will improve relationship too. Have gone through it all with my ds. But be prepared for last minute panic and asking for help. Say nothing just row in.

kickassangel Tue 01-Mar-16 00:47:46

My DD is 12 and I'm not that involved in her work. I teach at the school she's in, and it's a tiny school (I teach her some days) so I could be hugely involved if I wanted to be. But she won't learn if I keep doing her work for her.

Make sure he has a quiet place to work, has time to work, maybe take him a snack after an hour and ask if he wants anything, but that's about it.

Baconyum Tue 01-Mar-16 00:52:54

Personality clash? Strike for his independence?

My dd a year younger so doing nat 5's. A good student but stresses a lot.

Have you spoken with his guidance teacher? Head of year? Sometimes they'll listen to pastoral care/teachers more than parents. The joy of teens!

Northernsoul58 Tue 01-Mar-16 09:41:26

PJ67 I recently received a really helpful email from one of DS (15)'s teachers about prep for a controlled assessment. He said 'dear parent, your DS will be writing a draft essay over the weekend. Please would you check it afterwards. He knows I am sending this email to you because he's standing right next to me now.'
It worked wonders. I have nagged since September for DS to pull his finger out and do proper work. Now that his teacher was very publicly telling him to do the same, he actually did work that weekend and did let me look it over and make suggestions. (Don't think for a minute though that this carried on with other subjects or with homework/revision in general! But well done that teacher.)

BoyGirlBoy3 Tue 01-Mar-16 09:53:02

Has he had any mocks? Do you have any idea if he is doing well? If he is doing reasonably well, i think you are very lucky, that he has taken responsibility for himself in this manner, and no further action is required. If he needs to improve, the tip from our school was agree a plan together. So agree together he will work for 30 mins a night, at the family dining table, so you can make him a cup of tea, and observe him working. (just an idea)

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 01-Mar-16 10:33:46

I have a 15 year old doing Nat 5s - I have no clue what he is doing re assignments etc as he doesn't tell me anything - he passed all his prelims though so I am continuing to keep out of it. I've said I am there if he wants any help.

The more you are pushing your son, the more he is pushing you away. You need to change the dynamic. Tell him that you are leaving him to it but you are there if he needs help. I am stubborn myself and I think if I had someone sitting on my back about it all the time, I'd dig my heels in and do less than I was going to. It makes no sense I know grin

aginghippy Tue 01-Mar-16 10:55:25

It's not easy, but you need to step back and leave him to it. You are not helping him, you are only creating conflict.

If he didn't do well in his prelims, he probably feels bad about it. Your input may be making him feel like you share those negative views. Show you have some confidence in him and let him develop his independence.

From what you have written, it sounds like he is doing his work. You are going to have to learn to curb your control freak tendencies (or at least find another outlet for them wink ) keep quiet and let him get on with it.

PurpleDaisies Tue 01-Mar-16 11:00:36

I agree with everyone else. Let him get on with it. It's tempting to want to do everything for them but at sons point you won't be there and learning to work independently is such an important skill. You will really harm your relationship with your son if you keep pushing. Let him know you trust him to work hard and if he feels like he needs some help or advice with schoolwork to come and find you.

PJ67 Tue 01-Mar-16 17:39:21

Thanks so much for all the replies. I know you are right, we do have a big personality clash and the more I'm trying to get involved, the more he's pushing me away. My dh is much more relaxed than me so it's even starting arguments between us!
I wish we could do like some of you suggested, like sit down for half and hour and have a chat about how he is doing or just a general discussion about his assignment topics etc but he's just not that kind of boy. At parent's night the teachers were encouraging about us discussing ideas etc but he's just not having it.
Why do I find it so hard to leave him to get on with it? Somehow I feel that if he would take a bit of advice and help he would do better and I'm worried about him going about things the wrong way. He has to do research for modern studies and I noticed a parent posting her daughter's survey monkey questions on facebook but he wouldn't even let me do that so god knows who he's going to get to complete his questionnaires. As you can tell I just get myself stressed with it all. I'm also frustrated that whenever I mention anything now I get told to shut up and that he's not listening!
Anyway, I'm going to try really hard to withdraw a bit. Thanks again

rogueantimatter Tue 01-Mar-16 19:34:21

Oh my goodness I think you might be me! Exactly the same situation.

So frustrating. DS is currently lying on his bed listening to sweet music.

Does his school do supported study sessions at lunch time after school? Would he agree to a few sessions with a tutor? Does your school tweet?

FWIW - my older one did much better than predicted. Failed one prelim and went on to get an A in it. She once claimed that she was about to study until I told her to and then she didn't feel like it so she didn't! But those were the 'old' highers with less weight given to the assignments. Is your DS likely to do well in his assignments? Geog assignment is 33% of the total mark! Does your school tweet?

DS gets very grumpy if I even look as if I'm going to mention the S word. It's doing my head in. I didn't go to a day thing at the weekend just so I could make sure he didn't lie in till 2 (he was going out in the evening) and do nothing useful all day - he goes to something on Saturdays.

The other posters are probably right - my older one is now doing a degree she isn't enjoying. Perhaps if I'd left it to it when she was younger she'd have chosen something else - who knows?

rogueantimatter Tue 01-Mar-16 19:38:14

One of DS' problems is that he feels he's been heroic if he's done anything for school.

And if I remind him of submission dates it doesn't go in. He doesn't think to himself - how many evenings is that?

oldbagofsoot Tue 01-Mar-16 21:08:13

Its interesting that at 16yrs old you are still trying to control how he works beyond a casual 'hey, are you keeping up with your homework' etc. so I'm not surprised he isn't reacting well!! Your obsessive need to interfere must be detrimental to him studying.
I think it might a good thing to take a look at your own self and find out why you are feeling this way. He just wants to be left alone to get on with it himself and at his age he does not need you to proofread stuff. If you get to read everything he writes then it might make him feel that he can't express himself properly because his mum is always going to read it and have an opinion on it. At 16yr the last thing a boy wants is him mum fussing around. It is hard to let go but you have to sometimes. My 16yr old just wants me to trust him, trust that he is growing up, so perhaps you need to trust that he can control what he does. The last thing you want is for him to give you a big old V-sign and fail things on purpose, which is what I might have done when I was that age!

BackforGood Tue 01-Mar-16 22:08:27

I wish we could do like some of you suggested, like sit down for half and hour and have a chat about how he is doing or just a general discussion about his assignment topics etc but he's just not that kind of boy

Who is though ? hmm
I've had a ds and a dd go through this stage (one more to go). They are very, very different in personality and work ethic and approach to life, but neither of them would do that - it just doesn't happen in real life. It's not how the teenage psyche works.

YippeeTeenager Tue 01-Mar-16 22:16:37

I totally sympathise! My dd has a DoE deadline looming and needs to get stuff signed off. I'm hopping about reminding her that it needs to happen and the more I nag the less inclined she is to do it! I'm getting resigned to leaving her to it now - I know deep down that she needs (and wants) to take responsibility for things herself but it's so hard to take a step back and not make 'helpful' suggestions. This thread has strengthened my resolve to butt out! Not before time I know blush

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 01-Mar-16 22:27:00

I find the car the perfect place for chats during the seemingly endless journeys to and from various activities virtually every night and day of the week. At least I get some benefit from running a taxi service.

I generally start with an open "how are things with you?" type comment or something like "you seem to have a lot on at the moment, are you coping okay? is there anything you need me to help you with?"

I've no idea if I am doing it right - this parenting lark isn't easy!

DropYourSword Wed 02-Mar-16 02:07:05

Somehow I feel that if he would take a bit of advice and help he would do better and I'm worried about him going about things the wrong way. He has to do research for modern studies and I noticed a parent posting her daughter's survey monkey questions on facebook but he wouldn't even let me do that so god knows who he's going to get to complete his questionnaires.

But again this isn't help or advice, it's interference. It's his work. Let him do it or not, and let him learn from his mistakes.
Advice should only be given when requested. Can you remember bent a new mum and having lots of people giving you 'helpful advice'. It probably pissed you right off if it was forced upon you, and they then judged you for not following it. Even if in hindsight they actually were now experienced parents than you at that stage.
I think the more you push, the more he'll pull back. It's clear that you love your DS and just want the best for him, but don't get so invested into this. People lose all perspective about exams etc. In all honesty it's really not the end of the world if he fails. He can retake them. He will have learned an important life lesson, early on.

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