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Tjljjw

Almost 12 DS negativity about school

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Tjljjw

My son is turning 12 next week and just started high school this year.

 

He is very negative and unmotivated. Struggle to get him out of bed to get ready, refusing to homework and assignments even with me offering my support every night.

 

He is in an athletics excellence program that he had to apply to get into and I fear that he will lose his spot if he continues this way as they have to sign a contract to say they will be of good behaviour at school and hand in all homework and assignments and he also has to keep his grades up.

 

He is a very intelligent kid,but just puts no effort into anything.

 

It's just become a battle every single morning to get him to school and then a battle every night to get him to do his homework.

 

I am a single mum and by the time I work all day, drive kids around to sport, cook dinner etc and then face a homework battle every night I am at my wits end!

 

In primary school they had a 'no homework' policy so he isn't used to doing homework which hasn't helped!

 

Any advice on how to handle this or help change his attitude?

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lizzzard
Posted (edited)

Do you think he might be overwhelmed by the work? Stressed about meeting expectations etc?

 

My DS is the same age. Admittedly he does have anxiety. But on the surface it looks a lot like a lack of motivation, laziness, boredom etc. Until I realised what was underneath it, DH and I were worried about his attitude and would get frustrated with him.

 

Things reached breaking point and everyone (including the school) suspended their agenda around 'motivating' him to work harder....and instead we focused on building a better relationship of trust with him (really listening, being open, really focusing on reducing pressure/expectations etc)- especially me and his classroom teacher. By the way, I didn't think I was putting alot of pressure on him before either...but it was more that I had to deliberately be supportive iykwim? Things have improved immeasureably now and he is actually taking the lead in doing his homework, asking for help, accepting support. I actually can't believe how things have turned around from 12-18 months ago. Partly maturity as well, but the whole dynamic is different now.

 

Obviously that's just our situation and you might be facing something different, but its something to consider anyway.

Edited by lizzzard
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PuddingPlease

Not sure if this is harsh but would it be worth making after school sport attendance conditional on completing the previous nights homework. If he was struggling with the work or it was making him anxious then I would not suggest this approach but if he is struggling with motivation then this might be a way to provide him with some.

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CrankyM

It sounds to me like he actually needs some support. Is there anyone at school he can talk to? School psych?

 

An outsider looking in at your description, it doesn't sound like he is unmotivated or lazy, it sounds like he is overwhelmed, anxious and struggling. I think meeting with the school to talk about it would be helpful. Get them work with him, not tell him you have to do x or you won't get to do y. He wouldn't be the first child overwhelmed with the differences between primary and high school, but they need to actually be aware of what is happening.

 

Motivation is especially hard when you are struggling emotionally. And then the task keeps getting bigger and harder in your mind until you want to cry and run away and avoid it completely. This might not actually be the reality but that is often how it feels.

 

Rather then tell him he has to do him homework, help him schedule it out. Break it up into smaller chunks that seem easier to do. Use a diary or monthly planner to show him how to organise himself so it doesn't look so overwhelming. Talk to the school about supporting him, with even maybe a temporary reduction in homework, or getting him to attend something like homework club that is supervised by a teacher who can help with the organisation side of it. Not all the teachers will know he's struggling unless he actually communicates it to them. Work with him to learn how to self advocate that he needs some help.

 

[Note I don't have a high school child yet, but I have one going into high school next year who will react similarly if the support framework and skills are not in place.]

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Tjljjw

Thanks for the replies. I have been in touch with the teachers, well actually mainly they have contacted me to tell me he has not been doing his homework at all for the entire term. This has then led to discussions briefly over email with me trying to support him at home with it. Previously he just kept saying "I don't have any homework" when I asked him if he had any.

 

He is actually not doing any after school sport and this is another thing over the last couple of years that have dropped off, no motivation to do anything anymore. He used to be so focused on athletics and keen to succeed but now just would prefer to lay in bed on his phone and watch netflix. The running around is for my other DS14 who trains 3 x per week.

 

He has met new friends since starting high school that live in our estate and he is outside a lot more now at the park etc. And has not touched his xbox in months which has been good too.

 

We have seen multiple psychologists over the years in regards to behaviour issues but I guess with no homework/assignments and issue in primary school this is just a new thing added along with not wanting to go to school.

 

I do schedule time for him and I to sit down and work on this homework and the other night once I could actually get him to sit down he did well.

 

I might maybe see if I can meet with the year co-coordinator and have a chat about ways we can try and support him. That might be a good start at least.

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lizzzard

Op this sounds sooooo much like my DS! He is also athletically talented. We ended up stopping his primary sport for 12 months when things were at their worst, but he had recently taken up a new sport which he he excelling at. We are being careful about the pressure though..,,

 

For us the school/academic issues really hit in Year 5. The schools support has been really important but mostly the attitude of the classroom teacher. Really backing off and listening to DS was the key for us. I hope you find your solution too.

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