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What do I do when he just doesn't care?

Posted by on May. 1, 2013 at 10:27 AM
  • 16 Replies

My 5th grader brought home his report card and his grades dropped from mostly A's and  2 B's to all B's and even a C! I was very disappointed, sad, angry, at a loss. I lecture him about the importance of learning and doing good. His father does the same. He KNOWS how we feel about education. I know he can do better but feared that he just doesn't care that much and that's why his grades dropped. I ask him why he doesn't care and he doesn't know what to tell me. With the first sign of dropping grades, I would give him a consequence, usually grounding him for a week. That didn't work. Then I would ground him even longer (sometimes a month!) still doesn't work. The big blow is the day he brought his report card home and it was all B's and a C. He has never gotten a C before. I was at a loss. What could I possibly do to envoke a passion for learning in him?  What punishment can I give now since I have tried everything before? I can't ground him because that doesn't work anymore. I just talked to his teacher and she also said it's an I-don't-care issue. I am hurt, sad, angry that he wouldn't listen to me when I tell him how important school is. Honestly, I want to spank him so bad. But I know that's frustration on my part that needs to be released. What do I do? How do I fix " I don't care"?

As the teacher said, the work will just get harder through the years and in the 7th grade he will sink or swim. You either learn good study habits now or you WILL sink. So far, my son is on the path to fail.

juggling

by on May. 1, 2013 at 10:27 AM
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Replies (1-10):
momto3B
by on May. 1, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Has anything else changed? Is he having issues with any of the kids in school?  Have any of this other habits changed? Is he sleeping? Grades dropping to me are possibly a sign of something else going on.  I would take him to the pediatrician and then possibly a therapist, just to get to rule out any physical or emotional component. 

If nothing turns up, I would think about hiring a tutor (could just be a high school kid that he admires and is willing to work with) or getting him into an after school study program. 

mjande4
by Platinum Member on May. 1, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Is he in any extra curriculars?  I know my sons' coaches do grade checks and players are benched for lower than a B.  I would find things that he likes to do and reward/punish based on this.  If he has video games, etc. take them away until grades go up.

henzel3
by on May. 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

could it be that he is hanging out with other kids that have that type of attitude? and does he have friends that like to study maybe make study dates with his friends that like to study. as for the punishment maybe make it so he can't go outside or something he really enjoys. also i would maybe recommend taking a walk outside with just u and him or your hubby and him and talk to him. trust me i have a fourth grader who would love to put off his homework but our rule is you don't do anything til your homework is done.

anotherandree
by Bronze Member on May. 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

This is the conversation I would be having and maybe with a family therapist.  A kid does not go from being a good student to being a poor student unless he 1) really does not understand the material or 2) there is something else BIG going on that he is not talking to you about.  It sounds like the "I don't care" is red flags for something else going on that needs to come out.  (BTW, I am a therapist and while I do not specialize in school or family therapy, I had to learn enough to make referrals.)

Quoting momto3B:

Has anything else changed? Is he having issues with any of the kids in school?  Have any of this other habits changed? Is he sleeping? Grades dropping to me are possibly a sign of something else going on.  I would take him to the pediatrician and then possibly a therapist, just to get to rule out any physical or emotional component. 

If nothing turns up, I would think about hiring a tutor (could just be a high school kid that he admires and is willing to work with) or getting him into an after school study program. 


Mrs.Kubalabuku
by Member on May. 1, 2013 at 10:42 AM
3 moms liked this

What has changed with him?

I'd stop punishing for now and start communicating.  Perhaps he was getting teased for being "a geek/nerd/dork/whatever the kids are using these days."

Does he still get quality time with family?  Sometimes as the work gets harder, kids realize they are getting less time to spend with the people they care about, so they start slacking off work.  Fixing that issue could be as simple as making a scheduled time where YES, family recreation comes before school work.

Sometimes when a child has always had it easy academically they freak out when the work becomes too challenging.  Everyone's expectations are so high, but now it is actually taking real work for them to maintain.  It can be a shock, and what they really need to hear is that it is OK to struggle with certain subjects, so long as they always try their best.  They need to know you support them, even if their natural talents start to wane.  For example, I was one of those kids.  Everything came so easy to me until 6th grade.  Then, my natural ability towards math seemed to stop, and everything was very challenging.  Instead of punishing me, my Dad understood that I had reached the limit of my "natural" potential and might not be able to maintain the straight A report card.  He told me to try my best.  Sometimes my best resulted in a C.  It wasn't the end of the world.  Before I knew he was happy to see me just try, I was too afraid of failing.  I built a "I don't care anymore" defense so I wouldn't feel the pain of disappointing him.  

Pukalani79
by Silver Member on May. 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM

 Like everyone else has said, what's changed for him? When my son's grades dropped dramatically it was because he was spending his time worrying about when the next bullying was going to happen and ways to avoid it rather that what was being taught.

mamavalor
by Bronze Member on May. 1, 2013 at 3:02 PM

The third marking period is usually the hardest of all four, so you need to give him some slack.  Find out what is happening in his life.  New friends?  New activities?  If you can't figure out anything, then I would say let him fail.  He will turn learn.  It's best that he does this now than in high school when his grades really matter.  Good study habits can be acquired at any age, when the student has learned the value of them.  Also, talk about taking away his sports and/or activities if his grades don't improve.  His priority is to be a good student.  That is his job.

corrinacs
by Silver Member on May. 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM
1 mom liked this

1. Don't punish him.  If punishing him didn't work in the past, adding more punishment isn't going to work either.....in fact I have a feeling that its adding to the problem.

2. Talk to him about those grades.  What subject(s) did his grades drop?  What subject did he get the C in?  Does he see a reason why? What bothers him about those subjects?

3. Talk to his teacher about it.  What has she noticed different in him?  Are there things that stand out to her?

The good news is that your son is NOT on the path to fail.  He's got some B's and a C, which isn't TERRIBLE.  I understand, I expect my children to make all A's too.  You just need to get to the bottom of the sudden change in heart about school.

There are many reasons he could be feeling this way.  Boredom if he's not being  challenged enough.  He could be being bullied and has anxiety about school as a result.  he could be anxious about teh grades in general; and one grade could have set him off.  The best you can do is guide him to find that reason, calm him down and make him realize that school is important in a healthy way :).

ashleysmommy123
by Member on May. 1, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Instead of punishments for dropping grades have you tried any rewards for getting better grades.....my motivation as  kid was always money.....I brought home a report card with all A's I got like $10 or $20!!!

Due9
by Member on May. 1, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Do you think the fact that our household has a new baby that has colic contributes to his poor grades? I spend ALOT of time with my newborn because he IS constantly unhappy. On to of this, I have a 15 month old that needs me too. He is now NOT the only child, but has  2 small siblings. It makes for some very loud, hectic days everyday. It seems like my son wants to help me so much and be involved with all of this baby care. I actually suspect it is taking priority in his life over being a good student. I feel guilty. What do you think?

I have actually considered a nanny part time in the evening. This way I can have help and my son doesn't feel the need to help me. He is very social and hands-on. I don't ask him to help me with a crying baby or cleaning up a mess, but he just does. It is who he is and has always been known as the child that always helps-even with teachers like sweeping classroom and taking role.

Quoting anotherandree:

This is the conversation I would be having and maybe with a family therapist.  A kid does not go from being a good student to being a poor student unless he 1) really does not understand the material or 2) there is something else BIG going on that he is not talking to you about.  It sounds like the "I don't care" is red flags for something else going on that needs to come out.  (BTW, I am a therapist and while I do not specialize in school or family therapy, I had to learn enough to make referrals.)

Quoting momto3B:

Has anything else changed? Is he having issues with any of the kids in school?  Have any of this other habits changed? Is he sleeping? Grades dropping to me are possibly a sign of something else going on.  I would take him to the pediatrician and then possibly a therapist, just to get to rule out any physical or emotional component. 

If nothing turns up, I would think about hiring a tutor (could just be a high school kid that he admires and is willing to work with) or getting him into an after school study program. 



juggling

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