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DD almost-14 still not trying at school - any advice?

(15 Posts)
Motherofteen Tue 31-Jan-17 10:56:51

Until the age of about 11 our daughter was a delight to teach - fully engaged and wanting to do well (and did). This enthusiasm and effort has waned gradually as she has moved into her teen years and her results are simultaneously deteriorating. She had a fairly poor report a year ago and pledged to try much harder at school. Her most recent report has just come out - it's not exactly glowing, and significantly her grades for 'effort' include several just at 'satisfactory'. Attainment continuing to slip. How can we give her a kick up the arse without getting it wrong? Our mantra is 'work hard if you want the good things in life'. Clearly that's not very appealing! She is otherwise a good girl, if a little distracted by her phone and endless messaging (we do restrict phone time).

TheDonald Tue 31-Jan-17 14:18:25

If she's almost 14 I assume she's in Y9?

I found y8&9 to be difficult years for DD. She'd stopped caring about pleasing teachers or me and she knew it didn't really matter to her.

She's now y10 and the difference in her attitude to homework and revision is massive.

She might well pull it out of the bag when it matters. This year she just needs to do enough to be in the appropriate sets for her ability and not to piss her teachers off too much!

Floofborksnootandboop Tue 31-Jan-17 16:15:30

All of mine, now 19, 18, 16 and 14 were the same until year 10. The grades weren't too bad before but they never made any effort as they just couldn't see the point as nothing they did meant anything. Once they started their "real GCSEs" (year 9 was just mocks) they completely changed. The difference between my 14 year old now compared to 6 months ago is crazy!!

Lasagna Tue 31-Jan-17 16:26:30

Same as other 2 posters, my now 16 yo DD was predicted mostly Ds, nothing higher than a C, when she was year 8/9 as she was really clever but would never put effort into anything she did in school friends, make up, her phone and social life were all a different story funnily enough. She left school with mostly As and Bs and a couple of Cs!

DS1, 19, hardly attended school until his GCSEs started, so you can manage we didn't have much hope of amazing grades and all his predicted grades were low? But he managed somehow to ace all of them!

DS2 was alway very clever but again during his GCSEs he excelled!

I think the realisation that these GCSEs could make or break their future gave them the kick up the arse they needed.

I haven't any advice unfortunately as for us it worked out on its own. We never limited phone use embarrassed to admit before MN I didn't even think to do this other than confiscation when needed and we didn't punish them for their grades as we thought they were doing the best they could we were wrong

seabreezewavingtrees Tue 31-Jan-17 16:43:15

I agree with floof; it can be the same for uni students where the first year of study doesn't count towards the degree. Some people find it difficult to put in maximum effort when they don't see that it amounts to anything. Being able to show consistently high grades and achievement for day to day studies as well as for actual assessments is important to some institutions/employers but a lot do just want to know what grades you've come put with, as such a lot of students with really high potential do just coast until they need to pull it out of the bag. I think of it as a Mo Farrah approach to study.
I think that it's difficult to totally change a child and it's important to find what motivates them. My dneph had to achieve certain grades to do his college course, so he had to buckle down because he had his heart set on the course
My df paid me for gcse grades. 30 quid for each A* 20 quid for each A. I cleaned him out and went shopping. He was looking to motivate me, I don't know if that's a very MN thing to do but it was 20 years ago and it worked.

specialsubject Tue 31-Jan-17 17:19:21

May work as well as the 'starving children in Africa' but does she know about malala?

Education is such a privilege, you only get one go and to piss about is really entitled.

TheDonald Tue 31-Jan-17 17:52:12

I have been saying to DD in a boring mum-type way for a year or two that while I do care as her mum whether she does well in her GCSEs, ultimately I've already got a degree and an MA on my CV. I don't get to put her results on my CV (even though it feels like they will have taken more effort than any of my own qualifications!)

It seems to have sunk in that it matters more to her life than mine. Sometimes I think teenagers forget that.

And yes I've played the Malala card!

yeOldeTrout Tue 31-Jan-17 19:54:12

I'm not sure I agree with giving them a kick when they simply don't want to. It has to come from within. Keep up the messages that hard work has its own rewards, but My main thought is "Be grateful for the problems you don't have."

Bensyster Tue 31-Jan-17 22:13:09

I think you create an environment that's suitable for working hard by listing distractions and ensuring she has all the resources required and if they don't want to work you can't do much more.
I remember how I was in Year 9 - a fecking nightmare. My school report was appalling, behaviour was appalling and grades were slipping. I took things more seriously in Year 10 - I knew I'd fuck up my education if I continued.

VonHerrBurton Tue 31-Jan-17 23:35:05

This is music to my ears smile

14 yo y9 ds a pain at the moment. The apathy is driving me crazy. Hoping for y10 changes and most pp experiences seem quite positive.

Motherofteen Wed 01-Feb-17 23:36:58

Thanks all - feeling hopeful! I've also heard of this Y10 thing happening in the case of a friend of a friend's daughter - doesn't seem to be an isolated case!
Good point to make re it not being about my own CV - I'll slip that in at some point. Totally take the point that the motivation has to come from within. We had a good chat over the report and she is saying all the right things.......... (as she did last time..) She may well end up in slightly lower sets than she should be in, which I find concerning (in terms of environment and pace) but hopefully one motivator will be to prove the teachers wrong!

JustDanceAddict Fri 03-Feb-17 12:52:17

Hopeful for DS whose in year 8 and outs in minimal effort. He's a clever boy, but he's rather be doing other stuff. V frustrating!

Lottie4 Fri 03-Feb-17 14:15:43

Another one here, my DD went into Year 10 totally focussed and has pretty much remained the same. Years 10 and 11 are all about teaching and getting them ready for their GCSEs, and doing the best they can. Hopefully she'll be aware others are trying really hard, going back into class and lunch/after school and doing their homework and this will help her to do the same.

YouOKHun Mon 13-Feb-17 20:24:22

This is worrying, my daughter is half way through year 10 and shows no sign of coming through the chemical shit storm of teendom or buckling down. Her last report a week ago was pretty awful (no focus/lack of effort/lack of organisation, even in the subjects where she has talent). She's young in the year and not 15 until the end of June so perhaps she'll turn over a new leaf before the end of the year. Right now it's impossible to talk to her about it/see her books/help her. There doesn't seem to be a motivational tool or coercive measure that works and it feels like we have to stand back and watch her quite possibly fail.

FarAwayHills Tue 14-Feb-17 14:51:18

I recognise the apathy in my DD - she's gone from being a real pleaser to just about doing the minimum. She also used to be tidy and organised and this has slipped too. I accept that some of it is just part of being a teenager but I worry that she will end up in the worst sets and be even more demotivated.

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