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I need your opinions ladies with my son's work ethics in school.

My son actually does really well in school, but there has been a slow decline concerning his grades. I recently had a conference with all his teachers and they all said the same thing. They said that he gets the material well but then he believes because he knows it that he does not have to spend extra time on the subject and at this level he can not maintain an A without more dedication. So he went from all A'a to B's. All of the teachers said he is an A student.

My problem is I myself never learned good study habits. Also with my son doing well in school I felt I didn't need to enforce extra studying at home. So now what do I do? I am not expecting too much out of him! Especially since all of his teachers said he is not reaching his potential. Also he has been really bad with turning in late work. The teachers said he is defiantly not organized. Any suggestios with that comment. He is in 9th grade.

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AmyLynn5398

Asked by AmyLynn5398 at 9:02 AM on Mar. 8, 2013 in Teens (13-17)

Level 17 (3,564 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • He needs a reward system. Something to work towards
    butterflyblue19

    Answer by butterflyblue19 at 9:24 AM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • With our son we took things away, like privileges, his phone, Jeep, dirt bike, etc... Whatever your son is loving at the moment, remove it until he can make a better effort, and earn them back. The big thing for our son was his phone, and with no phone, there's no driving, and then he was crushed.
    On another note, if your son is an A student normally, and his grades are dropping, he could be bored. Maybe speak with the the guidance counselor about his classes, and maybe he needs something more challenging. Then on to his organization. Maybe get him something that he can take to all of his classes, like a nice binder, label everything, and then you check it everyday. What I've found, no matter what is that we have to be as involved with his school work as he is if we want them to do well. Once they get the hang of it, then it's smooth sailing.
    MrsLeftlane

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 9:31 AM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • Rather than going right to methods of control (rewards, removal of privileges) & trying to enforce this change yourself, I recommend clear communication. Talk to him about what you learned at your conference, tell him about his teachers' assessments of the situation, and engage him in a conversation about the issue & possible solutions--in actually coming up with solutions, rather than deciding on solutions yourself & trying to implement (force) them.
    I'd focus on presenting things that are observable, rather than presenting interpretations or judgments ABOUT those things. So rather than telling him THAT he assumes he doesn't need to spend time studying, or that he is not dedicated enough (the teachers presented you with an interpretation of the situation--essentially a diagnosis or a story to explain what is happening), point out objective, observable facts: he is making B's, work is late, his teachers think XYZ is necessary.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:43 AM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • Your post here was pretty solution-focused. I recommend taking that approach with him. Recognizing how much of the feedback from teachers was interpretation of the situation (their ideas about what is going on) can help you to avoid an angle or approach that triggers his defensiveness & opposition. My goal would be to present the situation, convey my feelings in response, and engage him in responding. A collaborative problem solving approach.

    If you have a lot of upset feelings around this, try to do some venting to someone who can listen without trying to advise you or "fix" things, so you can get out some of your fears.

    One of the hardest things in parenting is avoiding creating dynamics that were troublesome for us. It is hard to manage parenting/responding in a way that doesn't interfere with a child's intrinsic motivation & self-responsibility if we were parented in ways that interfered with our motivation & discipline.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:53 AM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • I would reward him for As (with money, praise, special game, etc.), nothing for Bs and punish (grounding, restrictions, etc.) for Cs. My kids are in middle school and straight A students, but with my 7th grader I can see us being where you are. He's lazy and can maintain As without trying, and I'm afraid it's going to be a rude awakening for him when the classes finally get more challenging!
    I also would talk to him about his work ethic. About how he may think it's no big deal, but those Bs can slip to Cs or lower and then start truly affecting his future. Where does he want to go to college? Has he looked at what the average GPA is to get into those schools? Those are just the average, meaning some are way above that and unless he has something "extra" to sway their opinion, he's going to need one of those higher GPAs.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 10:10 AM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • I think girlwithC is onto something. You probably could get some results by rewarding or punishing but then at best he'll do the work because he's worried about what you will do, not because HE wants to for personal reasons. If he's just lazy and doesn't actually care, then yeah, you need to force him to work better for now. But if he was getting A's and then something changed in his attitude and it might not just be simple laziness. He's a smart kid. If you can help him figure out what exactly is the problem and how to fix it (for reasons that HE cares about even when no one is watching) this might work better.
    Sebbiemama

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 12:51 PM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • What does your son say about all of this? What's his interpretation of the situation, and why he's turning in late work and having slipping grades? His take would make all the difference for me in how I handled the situation. If he was belligerent and uncaring, a more punitive approach might be in oder, but if he was struggling, bored, or something else, then getting at the root cause would be the only way to fix the problem.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 8:27 PM on Mar. 8, 2013

  • I'd be happy with B's with my son. He is extremely intelligent but doesn't think he needs to turn in the work to prove he knows the material. I am lucky if he gets C's. It's very frustrating and NOTHING and I mean NOTHING motivates him. I've taken everything away, said he'd get money for every A. He doesn't care.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:53 PM on Mar. 9, 2013

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