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How do I stop him ruining his life??

(17 Posts)
bonniej Fri 15-Apr-05 11:28:57

my ds is 16 and taking his GCSE's this summer. He is a bright lad and has always been in the top sets at school and has been put in for 10 GCSES. Trouble is over the last year he just doesn't seem bothered. He's not getting good enough grades and is only bothered about going out with his mates, and his new girlfriend. Myself and the school have spoken to him at length about how important it is he gets good grades and he says he'll change, but soon slips back to his old ways. I've just had the school on the phone again seriously concerned he is not going to do well as he has started not bothering in lessons and chatting (disrupting others). I've spoken to dh who has said the only option is to ground him until after he's completed his exams. What do you think?? As I've said I've spoken to him at length and it never seems to do any good. He just tells me not to worry and he knows he'll pass (he did terribly in his mocks!!) I'm getting so desperate as I can't stand back and watch him waste his opportunities. Please help

Mothernature Fri 15-Apr-05 11:35:04

bonniej my ds is 15 and has done his mock's, so not quiet there on same level as yours yet, I think another talking too and a grounding may help, perhaps a bribe for the end if good results are forthcoming, I suppose girls and mates do get in the way at that age, surely though their parents are feeling the same? couldn't you just shake em till they see sense sometimes?....I understand your frustration, I hope things work out for you and your son..

debs26 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:38:15

grounding would have made me dig my heels in. maybe he doesnt see the point in gcses. does he have a plan for afterwards? if he doesnt want to stay at school you could help him look into apprenticeships etc - might help him get a bit more enthusiastic. bribe is possibly best way to go!

jangly Fri 15-Apr-05 11:38:49

He will probably put in the effort at the last minute with revising, and get good grades. I wouldn't worry too much. There is obviously a lot of other things going on in his life at the moment that are important to him. So long as his grades are good enough for him to do the A levels he needs, that's all that matters. He probably realizes this. I don't think, in later life, anyone looks at gcse's gained. So long as he can do the A levels to get to university, that is all that matters. 10 subjects is a lot!

bonniej Fri 15-Apr-05 11:44:48

I've tried bribery. We're giving him £50 for each GCSE grade C and above that he gets. That's the problem, the way he's going I doubt he will get good enough grades to be able to take A levels. I've asked him what he wants to do afterwards and he hasn't a clue. If he doesn't get the grades his choices of courses will be very limited. I just don't want him looking back and regretting not doing well But at the same time I don't want him to rebel. In other ways he's good, he's good with his little sister and is always in on time when he goes out.

Dominoes Fri 15-Apr-05 11:51:33

What about negotiating some kind of 'rota/timetable' with him where he spends some time in the house studying and has others times which are free for him to go out with his friends?

robin3 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:55:08

My sister-in-law is having the same problem so she's incentivised....BIG overseas trip with mate...don't know whether it will work but it certainly got his attention.

Potty1 Fri 15-Apr-05 11:56:04

Looking at what they want to do next can help but it can also have the opposite effect. My son has gone on to do AS levels - all he needed was 5 GCSE's at grade C - and he got them but could have done so much better.

Bonniej - we went down the route of restrictions to his evening activites during the week with more freedom at weekends plus the promise of a new mobile if his grades were good enough.

They are a law unto themselves.

Frizbe Fri 15-Apr-05 12:01:13

IMO they shouldn't be sitting important exams at this age at all, too many hormones running rampant, they'd all be far better taking the exams aged 18....but that's just my opinion. I remember way back when I was probably doing the same as your lad, out having a good time and ignoring the fact I had exams coming up, in fact the night before my history exam, I didn't get in until 5.30am with my friend! (exam at 12:00pm) my mother had given up with me by this point, and was just riding it out, waiting to pick up the pieces (I was not a particularly well behaved teenager, but still retained some sensabilities, so mum let me get on with it) anyway I actually did ok on all of my exams, (shock horror) and got into college! which I dropped out of 1 year later and then went onto another course, job and eventually University!
I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't put too much pressure on him, he's already under a bundle from school and like anyone who is being forced to do something will not want to do it, its a natural reaction to stick your head in the sand and run away.
If the worst comes to the worst he can re take his exams the next year, or even the year after
I have plenty of friends, all educated to degree level, who balls'd up the last year at school, then got their acts together in the preceding three or four years, usually when they'd tried flipping burgers for a year!
Hope this view point helps and doesn't cause too much outrage.

tiptop Fri 15-Apr-05 12:03:05

Do you know someone who he respects who can have a chat with him?

I remember my Dad would say "Aunty xyz is always there and happy to talk to you if ever you need her". I didn't ever ring her but it was good to know that she was there.

Also, I had a chat with ds the other day - it only lasted about two minutes - and I said to him that the harder he worked at school, the more options would be open to him later and the greater the chance of getting a job he really liked. He understood the logic of that. Good luck!

flamesparrow Fri 15-Apr-05 12:07:03

My mum never put any pressure on me. I knew what I needed to get to the next level, and knew it was my own fault if I didn't get there. At the end of the day, even if he doesn't get the grades he needs, it is his life. It could be that he ends up doing something different after GSCEs and ends up with a much happier life than following the original plan.

Everything happens for a reason.


bonniej Fri 15-Apr-05 12:09:53

thanks for all your advice, Frizbe in a way that's how I feel. The only difference is I went of the rails in my last year of school (having previously done really well) and never got back on! I regret this and I just don't want him to do the same. I'm now thinking of maybe restricting him during the week but letting him have some freedom at weekends. I do think grounding him until after his gcse's is a little bit unrealistic and might cause him to rebel which is really what I don't want. Dh on the other hand, will take some convincing.

bonniej Fri 15-Apr-05 12:12:36

I've spoken to him from a very young age and let him know that if he wants a good life, with lots of money and nice cars then a good eductation is what matters. He does understand this and does keep telling me he will get the grades but I'm getting less and less convinced. After this thread though I am more inclined to let him find his own way as too much pressure could have the opposite affect

morningpaper Fri 15-Apr-05 12:26:32

I'm with the not-pressuring vote. I couldn't be arsed with GCSE's either. I was also very bright and managed to pass all at grade C and above without doing any work at all. If he's as bright as you say, I don't think it should be too much trouble for him to get sufficient grades to go to college.

Hasn't he had to apply to college yet? I've forgotten how it works?!

bonniej Fri 15-Apr-05 12:39:33

no, he hasn't a clue which one he's going to and what he'll be doing so he hasn't really got anything to aim for. It all seems a bit last minute to me as well. I think if he found a course he was really interested in it might give him the motivation to get the grades he needs. All he says is he wants to work with computers (that covers nearly every job nowadays). At one point he wanted to be a dentist (thought the money would be good and there's a shortage of dentists) but changed his mind.

jangly Fri 15-Apr-05 13:27:12

He could always decide to go back to learning in his twenties - college\evening classes for A's and then on to uni. Quite a few people do.

tallulah Fri 15-Apr-05 19:43:52

My DD did really well at GCSE, but totally bombed her AS levels. She discovered boys, and drinking, and going out, and just wouldn't work, no matter what we said to her. She got her own wake-up call when she got her AS results (DDDD) & realised she was going to have to work really hard just to scrape (CCC) in her A levels. She also closed a lot of doors for uni, as they turned her down based on the AS levels.

In the end though, even though she didn't do as well as we'd all hoped for A levels, she got into the uni she wanted & she is loving it there.

Only your ds can decide to work & he will soon realise it is all down to him. He may have to retake- does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? It really isn't worth the grief. (& I can say that at the moment as ds1 is working for his AS levels- may have changed my tune next year when ds2 does GCSEs )

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