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Conflicted! - How do I demand without being critical?

My son, almost 13, has so much potential: Academics, sports, music, leadership, etc. However, he performs mediocre in all these areas. How do I get him to live up to his potential without constantly being critical of his current performance?


Asked by Dyndudes at 12:12 PM on May. 22, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

Level 11 (626 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • but hes got to see them for himself. Also you need to examine your own intentions. Make sure this is not about YOU. Meaning that you want him to succeed so that it makes you look good. I know that no parent would outwardly admit this but when I go to the ballpark to watch my kids play ball, every parent there wants their kid to be the best on the team or play first base or something that indicates theyre good at it. Same with academics, same with makes us feel good when our kids succeed. Really its okay to be mediocre at some things. I agree with one of the first posters. He might just be overly committed. Pick one thing and go for it. I am sure that his lack of interest is not an indication of your parenting. You sound like a great mom, so dont let his lack of motivation cause you to feel like a failure. Youre not!!

    Answer by momofsaee at 1:50 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • I'm not sure what all he's involved in... but maybe he's "mediocre" because he's spreading himself too thin?

    If he's in a lot of different things, maybe talk about dropping one or two activities to allow more time to focus on the others.

    Answer by Laura1229 at 12:22 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Let him experience everything and don't judge him at all. Once he discovers something he has passion for he will put forth the 110% that you want.

    Answer by MACY7108 at 12:45 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Stop demanding that he be perfect or that he excel at what he does. Not every child will excel, some just participate because they like what they are involoved in. It could also be that he is involoved in too many things at one time. Praise him when he does a good job and leave it at that. My son plays baseball and does a lot better when I don't harp on him all the time.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 12:46 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Been there, done that!....I think we all would say that our kids don't live up to their potential. My daughter will be 15 in a few months. I have learned to back off and let her do her own thing. Meaning if she doesnt want to perform at the best rate possible, then technically, theres nothing I can do. Its her choice. I noticed that if she got ONE B, I said...well, its good, but get that B up. She began to feel as if nothing could please me. Theres nothing wrong with a B. I have really begun to just let her feel her own consequences. We as parents are always wanting to shield our kids from the harsh realities of their own bad behavior, but we cant do it forever or they will never feel failure because we are always holding them up. I guess I just felt I was frustrated and tired of doing for her what she needed to be doing for herself. I know its hard, because you know the consequences of not doing well in school, cont

    Answer by momofsaee at 1:46 PM on May. 22, 2009


    Answer by older at 2:19 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • let him be is 13 he will find the potential in himself, you can wish for greatness but pushing will always cause them to push back!

    Answer by judith_visco at 3:32 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Some kids need security and boundaries. If he doesn't take care of responsibilities in one area he doesn't get to do what he likes to do. No nagging and lots of praise for effort that he gives. grannywilson

    Answer by grannywilson at 9:45 PM on May. 22, 2009

  • Praise him for any and all improvements you see. When teens think they aren't ever doing as well as you like, they sometimes say "Why bother, they're never going to be happy."

    Answer by dflygirl7 at 8:02 AM on May. 23, 2009

  • homeschool him

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:28 PM on May. 23, 2009