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How do I make DS learn??? He's throwing it all away

(19 Posts)
Boots1 Sun 31-Aug-08 18:26:43

DS (14, going on 15) wants to be a vet. He has wanted to be a vet since he was about 3. He is devoted to animals and there isn't much he doesn't know about them.

However, he has always been "a handful" too. He was in and out of trouble all the way through primary school, on behavioural reports, charts, sticker systems. In trouble for fighting, banned from hot dinners because he couldn't behave, almost suspended from school in year 6...under achieving throughout.

Secondary school has been the same, always in trouble, truanting, fighting, being cheeky, messing around, never having homework in on time, again under-acheiving despite the fact that every teacher I've spoken to (from primary to secondary) have said he is highly intelligent, he just doesn't want anyone to know it.

Anyway he is due to go up into year 10 next week. He has been given all of his options as the teacher knows he is capable. He wants to go to an animal college/agricultural college when he is 16, its just outside of the city border so he would probably have to board but I'm not sure they'll take him sad they'll take one look at his school records and think he's having a laugh. I know there is nothing he takes more seriously than animals but how do I get through to him that these next two years at school are VITAL if he wants to get into this college?? He says he will change his ways from next week as there is nothing he wants more than to be a vet but I know as soon as he's back with his mates he'll forget it again.

Miggsie Sun 31-Aug-08 18:27:58

Find a real vet for him to talk to?
This might motivate him if he hears from a professional

Madlentileater Sun 31-Aug-08 18:33:12

you could tell him about my freinds ds. Is very bright, worked very hard, predicted very good grades (As) but still failed to get a place. Sorry that sounds very demotivating but vet training is very, very competitive. IIRC, they require lots of practical experience as well as brilliant grades.

findtheriver Sun 31-Aug-08 18:34:15

Or failing that, find an adult who can talk to him in more general terms, someone not connected to the family? Teenagers will sometimes respond to someone they respect, someone who has that bit of distance.
I know it's probably not what you want to hear, but some young people do just learn the hard way. You can be the best parent in the world, provide the opportunities etc but if they don't want to know, then sometimes you just have to accept that although they are giving you grief in the short term, they will find their way in the longer term. This seems to be true of very intelligent boys in particular. A lot of them don't find school inspiring, they find it hard to work within the system. At least these days there are many routes into a career - it's not as all or nothing as it used to be. No one wants their child to mess up, but at least there are opportunities to return to study later.

moopdaloop Sun 31-Aug-08 18:35:35

you should phone round all the veterinary courses and ask for them to send their entry requirements for acceptance at 18. You will find it is not even about getting straight A*s from GCSE to A'Level but about other experiences outside school too. THe thought of an agricultural college for A'levels sounds a good idea. Veterinary Science is an incredibly over-subscribed course with high competition from the brightest of candidates.

TotalChaos Sun 31-Aug-08 18:38:02

Madlentileater - my friend (who is now a vet) didn't get in the first time she applied because she didn't have enough animal experience despite good A level predictions.

back to OP - if you can get him to do work experience with animals then that should hopefully motivate him to work harder at school as well as being helpful later down the line if he does choose to apply for vet medicine.

nell12 Sun 31-Aug-08 18:38:45

I agree with miggsie... my ds can be a real slacker; another intelligent under-achiever who does the bare minimum.

He wants to be a palaentologist which will mean 3 sciences and maths at A-level. No problem as long as he applies himself hmm

During the holidays he met a man called Nigel Marven who is a tv presenter, zoologist and palaentologist (and ds' ultimate hero!) he told ds to knuckle down, do the work and even which uni to go to!!

DS (seems) a changed boy; he now relises that his dream will not be handed to him on a plate and he needs to work for it.

Ring round the local vets and animal shelters; I am sure they would like some voluntary help from your ds; veterinary degrees and agricultural college are highly competitive so he needs lots of extra proof beyond his school report to show that this is what he wants.

Good luck to your ds!

dancedance Sun 31-Aug-08 18:45:12

Find him some work experience, my dd fancied becoming a vet and did 2 weeks at a fab practice with a stern male vet in charge. He said that she wouldn't become a vet as it was just something she liked the idea of rather than had wanted it all her life, he said he'd never seen anyone suceed if they wern't 200% commited. She then found 6th form harder than expected and wouldn't have got the grades and has indeed gone down a different path.

Its very competitive and the first thing they look at is the grades, if he's not got them then tough. Though I wouldn't worry about the agricultural college not wanting him based on his reports,as long as he does well in his GCSEs then that's what they'll be looking for mainly. Boys really do a lot of growing up in 2 years so fingers crossed he'll just mature smile

3littlefrogs Sun 31-Aug-08 18:48:26

Agree, take him to meet vets. See if he can get a part time/holiday/w/e job in a vet's practice or volunteer at blue cross.

Take him to an open day at the college he hopes to attend. There will be some coming up this month, and anyone can go. He will be able to talk to tutors and other potential students.

If it is any comfort, I went to hell and back with ds1, and he is off to Uni in a couple of weeks.

Boots1 Sun 31-Aug-08 18:54:02

nell12, your son met Nigel Marven? My son has been obsessed with that man for years! how did he get to meet him?

Back to OP, DS does voluntary work at the RSPCA shelter on a saturday (and mondays during the holidays) but this is what gets me...people say to me "wow, you don't get many 14 year old lads that would work for nothing, Danny doesn't seem...the type.." hmm so despite the "doesn't seem the type" dig I have my proud moment of thinking "oh yes, DS works voluntary, gives his whole saturday up for it too" and then on the night he goes out with his mates and I either get a knock on the door from a police man saying they'd found him drunk/causing trouble and 'escorted him home' or he comes home with a black eye boasting that he's been in a fight. Its like having a model teen and a nightmare teen in the same body.

KVC Sun 31-Aug-08 20:11:03

Message withdrawn

nell12 Sun 31-Aug-08 20:14:07

LOL Boots, I did not know anyone else who knew about the god that is Nigel!!

We saw him at the IOW Zoo /Dinosaur Isle where he was doing a talk. His website is here it is in the process of being updated at the mo. There is a link where you can ask for a signed photo and Nigel writes a lovely personal message on it as well.

Nigel said to ds "You need to buckle down, do Chem, phys, bio and maths A Levels and you need to get good grades because you need to go to Bristol uni...so pull your socks up!"

It must be so frustrating for you. Are ds' mates that he gets into trouble with from school or the local area? Does he have access to money to buy the booze? What do the local police think of him? (Some children in similar situations have benefitted from the police keeping them in the cells overnight as a short sharp shock treatment)

Chin up and try to think positive; he may surprise you smile

dinasaw Thu 04-Sep-08 18:35:26

Remind him that he can do anything he wants to do and if he wants to do this you will support him all the way.
But he knows in his heart what he has to do. And that is not something that anyone else can do for him.
I agree with exploring all the options of working with animals. Get him to look at Vetinary courses at University and see what they want from their students. He may see for himself another job he could do with animals.
That is not to say that he should see being a Vet as too high and hard an achievement for him. But he should reach for the stars and do his best to get there and he will find a niche that he is happy in.

faustina Sat 06-Sep-08 14:19:35

when my son was in year 10 he was interested in becoming a vet so, even though he'd left it too late to apply to them for his work experience, I phoned them and they said he could do a week in the summer holidays. I think he was 15 then and so he had to apply for a special work permit from the council which took ages. They accepted him based on his predicted grades and an interview. he absolutely adored his week there. I think it was the first time he was treated as an adult. he shadowed the vets (he could have shadowed the nurses if he'd been interested in that as a career) and he was treated exactly the same as the cambridge university students who were there on placement (he was thrilled that the cambridge students thought he was at uni with them too!). The vets were lovely, and they said actually it isn't as hard nowadays to study vet med, especially males are really underrepresented. He loved his time there and I'm sure they would have had him back regularly at weekends etc but he decided he just wasn't sure enough to continue down that route (he didn't want to do just sciences for a levels)
I'm sure if you talk to the vet they would let the enthusiasm cancel out the possible ropey reference from his school. Good luck!

Blandmum Sat 06-Sep-08 14:30:34

For Vet science he will need all A grades at A level

He will also need to show that he has had regular experience of vet practice....ie working with a vet for a year or so, for no money, without this no vet school will offer him a place, the work he's been doing will stand him in excellent sted.

But without the grades they will not look at him. Full stop.

have you or your dh got degrees? if not I can tell you about a scheme to help get into vet school a little more easily

AbbeyA Sat 06-Sep-08 14:47:18

I think that it is his mates who are the problem. I have 2 friends with sons who are lovely boys but very easily led and they like to one of the 'gang'.They did reasonably well in GCSE's but not as well as they could have done. They were full of good intentions but as soon as they were with friends they reverted.
They went into the 6th form and had to make new friends because the 'mates' had left and they settled down to work for the first time.Parents and teachers were very pleased with the change!
I realise this isn't very helpful but work experience and talking to vets,although good ideas, may not be enough to offset the influence of his peer group.

tallulah Sat 06-Sep-08 14:55:39

One thing you should realise is that even if he doesn't "wake up" in Y10 it's not too late to do so in Y11. Sometimes that extra year's maturity is enough to get them back on track. HTH

(and I speak as a mum to a DS who had a 5 day exclusion and endless detentions in Y10 but has just started 6th form; and another Ds who is off to uni next week)

BlueMonkey Sun 07-Sep-08 20:46:12

Mine never woke up at all in Y10 or Y11 as he hated school. But has woken up big time in 6th form at college, the reason being he loves it. He is there because he wants to be, and is doing the course he wants to do.

AbbeyA Mon 08-Sep-08 07:36:50

Probably it also has a lot to do with the fact that all the other students want to be there too, BlueMonkey. Before yr 12 they are there because they have to be and that has a detrimental effect on the others.

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