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AIBU? reward DS2 but not DS1 for school work this year?

53 replies

fiddlybulb · 23/07/2015 22:45

Genuinely don't know whether AIBU here. Please be gentle

DS2 (10, Y5) is an absolute dream at school. Teachers consistently say he's clever, helpful, responsible, tries hard, friendly, polite etc etc. Attainment levels are good.

DS1 (12, Y7) is clever but his reports this year have consistently said that he mucks about in lessons. He's had lots of detentions, keeps kicking footballs around in class Shock and across most subjects he didn't meet his (high-ish) end of year targets. He's explicitly admitted to me that in some subjects he doesn't put effort in at all - subjects that I consider important, like English and French. We've had LOTS of conversations about this over this academic year and he knows I expect more from him on the effort front. However he's v good at maths - mostly I think without really having to try very hard - and got Level 7a for the end of Y7 which I know is great. He's also done well in science and history. So a mixed bag - but it's his attitude I'm worried about.

I bought DS2 a jacket he'd been after (£50) to reward him for being lovely and trying hard in school. Since reception, no teacher has had a bad word to say about him.

I congratulated DS1 on the maths and good levels in a couple of other subjects, but said I wanted him to try harder in other core subjects.

I didn't rub DS1's face in it but DS2 has told him about the jacket. (I didn't tell him he shouldn't.)

DS1 now saying I'm BU and unfair not to reward him for his good results in maths.

AIBU? (Or was I just being a twat to reward DS2)

V sorry if this looks like stealth boasting - I am proud of DS1's maths ability but tbh more worried that he's getting into a pattern of thinking he doesn't have to try at things. He's convinced that a talent for maths will turn him into Bill Gates Hmm while I worry he's going to underachieve horribly. I may be being a tad neurotic.

OP posts:

waitaminutenow · 23/07/2015 22:57

I think you are BU they should both be rewarded for whatever effort they have put in. It sounds to me like DS1 is just bored in English and French tbh. Maybe he feels the lesdons don't challenge him enough/or the opposite. Either way you need to get to the bottom of why he is disregarding these subjects rather than judt letting him admit it. They sound like two v clever boys you should be proud. careful not to put DS1 off altogether. If he thinks he's never going to have any work acknowledged then he will definitely stop putting in any effort that he already does put in.


noblegiraffe · 23/07/2015 22:59

Rewarding effort not attainment is definitely the way forward.

There's no way I'd reward a good result in maths if he has not put effort in across the board and also been a complete pain in the arse. You cannot reward a year that has involved numerous detentions and no effort and he needs telling that in no uncertain terms. A talent in maths is good, but it won't get him anywhere with a poor attitude and work ethic.


Redcliff · 23/07/2015 23:01

While I don't think your being unreasonable to be happier about one child's attitude over another's two things spring to mind:

Rewarding one and not the other could breed resentment towards the one with the jacket

Is the one without the jacket going to feel less valued?


Malenky · 23/07/2015 23:01

I agree with you, I think that if he has only done well in the subjects where he hasn't had to try due to natural talent, then a reward will teach him that it is better to be naturally clever than hardworking. Natural smarts can get you up to gcse, maybe even A level but once you get to university you get a real shock about your work ethic if you have never had to try to get good results before that.


YeOldeTrout · 23/07/2015 23:02

This is why I don't reward mine for effort at school. The sibling rivalry is horrible.
What they do at school they do for themselves although I will happily share in their pleasure at doing well.
I will pay them for chores at home.


fiddlybulb · 23/07/2015 23:05


wait I've spoken to the school twice about it - they say they think it's just fairly typical 'boy' behaviour for Y7 (settling in to big new comp) and that it will all be fine. I wasn't too impressed by this response tbh but two separate members of the senior teaching team said the same thing so I felt a bit stumped.

he's already said 'maybe I'll just stop trying altogether then'! manipulative little sod

I'm going to talk to him again tomorrow and try to thrash things out a bit, was just hoping to go in armed with the wisdom of MN Grin

OP posts:

starlight2007 · 23/07/2015 23:05

It feels somehow wrong to me to reward one child with a £50 gift and nothing for the other.. This is part of the reason I don't reward reports.

Even if you do reward DS1.. it will be a bit hollow.

I would also be concerned about the resentment DS1 may develop towards golden child DS2 who does well and never gets in trouble...

I am not sure what the solution is however it doesn't feel right as it is.


fiddlybulb · 23/07/2015 23:07

Yep you've all got a good point re 'golden child' DS2. The thing is he really IS lovely at school (he can be a toerag at times at home of course). His teachers practically have tears in their eyes when they talk about him.

But yes, incubating sibling rivalry probably isn't very clever. But then not rewarding DS2 somehow doesn't feel fair either. I dunno, I'm stumped

OP posts:

TokenGinger · 23/07/2015 23:09

How about rewarding them with praise for what they've done, and discussing the things your concerned about instead of rewarding one with an expensive jacket and the other with nothing at all.

I work with young people with behavioural problems - this is not a problem. This is a boy being a boy in school who probably just needs his parents to ensure he's spending time at home doing homework and studying to keep his attainment grades up.


TryToEngageBrainFirst · 23/07/2015 23:10

I'm another one who thinks it's the effort rather than the attainment that's important. Maybe there'll be other things about your older DS that you can recognize/reward to boost his ego in those areas?


TokenGinger · 23/07/2015 23:10

I don't ever remember being rewarded with something that had a monetary value for any grades. I just remember my mum and dad telling me how proud they were of me.


BurningBridges · 23/07/2015 23:10

Sorry I think that's awful. Why do people buy kids presents for doing well at school anyway? I always treat mine the same, if one was doing well I'd say that's fabulous well done, if one wasn't I'd say is there anything we can do to help.


TigerFeat · 23/07/2015 23:13

I reward marks for effort with money. For every 1 for effort they get a $1. DD got $15 for her last report but ds only got $6.

Everything else is praised highly and equally. I am always very proud of whatever they get attainment-wise.


fiddlybulb · 23/07/2015 23:15

ok thank you! And thanks ginger that's useful

Looks like the consensus is I've been a bit of a twat...

OP posts:

littlejohnnydory · 23/07/2015 23:17

I wouldn't have bought the jacket as a reward tbh...I generally think this kind of thing is best avoided. Their grades are theirs and they put the effort in for them, not for a reward or to please you. Plus it's going to cause some real rivalry problems here. You've effectively said to your two sons, "I'm prouder of you than I am of you". That's going to cause an issue that's bigger than school grades.


slkk · 23/07/2015 23:20

We don't generally reward for good reports, but if you are going to, it needs to be a good report! Detentions, lack of effort and football In class is not ok! If he gets a reward then it is just meaningless.


Prettyinblue · 23/07/2015 23:21

The idea of being rewarded for doing well is definitely a new thing, my parents expected me to try hard, I do for the most part, and my reward was doing well.

I think praising the specifics, makes much more impact. How well they tried to tackle something tricky than behaving well all year (which may just come naturally) has far more impact than being given a present.


CocktailQueen · 23/07/2015 23:26

Lots of detentions and keeps kicking a football in class - in year 7?? For that alone there'd be no rewards for grades.


IHeartKingThistle · 23/07/2015 23:32

Wait he might be bored in French and English but he's kicking a football round in class FFS. There are basic standards of behaviour.

Difficult one OP. I wouldn't want to encourage sibling rivalry but at the same time I would be STEAMING about that behaviour.


UnsolvedMystery · 23/07/2015 23:33

I don't reward reports. The motivation to do well must come from their own pride and sense of achievement, not from the potential reward they might get.
Reward them for other things, but not reports.
A £50 jacket will not be enough motivation to make one behave well all year, but it is enough to build resentment about his brother.


CamelHump · 23/07/2015 23:37

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BackforGood · 23/07/2015 23:51

I have 1 dc who has always been an angel at school - great attitude, attainment, etc., and I would never make a big 'thing' of it in comparison to her brother, who finds it a lot more difficult in life to concentrate, to listen, to focus, not to be impulsive, etc., etc.
I figure she already has life a whole lot easier as "school behaviour" comes naturally to her, but not to him, so to then buy her material things on top of already having a charmed {school} life seems to be really rubbing it in, building resentment, and quite probably turning him off school altogether - which isn't something I'd ever want to do. Privately I'll praise her, and we've always made a thing of making sure there is always something each of my dc can be praised for, whilst avoiding direct comparisons.


ReallyTired · 24/07/2015 00:09

I think that a child who throws footballs around the class and gets lots of detentions does not deserve a new jacket. A child should treat their teachers with respect whether the subject is deemed important or not. Unless a child has major disablities, he has full control of his behaviour.


RhiWrites · 24/07/2015 06:34

It's done now. If it rankles about the jacket maybe he will try to fix things. I don't see anything wrong with rewards for effort. Tell him he can have something he wants next term if he genuinely tries at English and French.


fiddlybulb · 24/07/2015 07:25

Thanks everyone. Yes he has no SN as far as I know. I think he's made a conscious decision to muck around because it's 'cool' behaviour when you're 12!

According to his teachers, when he's told to stop he stops immediately - but obviously he shouldn't be mucking around in the first place. The teacher who mentioned the football thing said she confiscated it and AFAIK it didn't happen again after that - I just gave it as an example of the kind of gulf in behaviour between the two of them.

Really appreciate everyone's comments as I genuinely couldn't decide whether I'd cocked this one up! Will avoid reports 'rewards' in future I think and will talk to DS1 about it and explain that mum had a bit of a brain fart but that he needs to stop being a dick at school...

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