By Guest Blogger Anonymous
I have submitted this blog anonymously in order to shield my son from complete embarrassment, but I must admit that I am a little embarrassed as well. I am embarrassed that I have worked hard my entire life to get where I am today, yet I am raising a son who seems to do the complete opposite. Today I am reaching out for help and advice from all of you!
I have a son who expects everything to come easily. For a period of time, it did. But when he began middle school last year, it was an unwelcome surprise for him, and the amount of effort he put into his work in the past just didn’t cut it anymore. The A’s and B’s he was used to earning were now C’s, D’s and F’s.
I feel the need to let you know that he is not struggling with comprehension on his assignments. He is very intelligent … top scores on standardized tests, an abundance of common sense, very witty, an avid reader, and extremely intuitive. Very rarely will he need additional explanations to a homework assignment, class assignment, or project.
The problem lies in the lack of care. “School just doesn’t interest me,” was his reply when my husband and I talked to him about his lack of efforts. He has zeros for incomplete assignments, low grades because he rushed through his work, failed tests because he neglected to study. “Let him fail!” is what I heard from so many, but if he fails and changes nothing the next time around, is it really teaching him a lesson or helping him in the long run?
We spent all of last year doing the “trial and error” thing. We punished, we rewarded, we praised, we scolded, we ignored, we celebrated. Seriously – we tried it all but never seemed to find anything that worked. He is an extremely happy kid who loves to be outside playing with friends. He is well-balanced with sports, downtime, responsibilities, etc. I didn’t want to take the joy away from this child but I had to do something.
So, at the beginning of this year we started fresh and I decided to check behind him on everything he did at home … studying, homework, reports, etc. I made sure the work was complete and it was done to the best of his ability. I made sure that the assignments he was working on matched the assignments listed online by his teachers. It was not fun to do this – not fun for anyone. I was exhausted after a full day of work to then monitor and guide my son through his nightly assignments. It was not fun for him to be treated like an elementary school student who had to have their hand held. It was not fun for my other child who was getting much less attention, and it was really not fun for my husband who had to listen to the whining from all of us.
BUT, it seemed to pay off. Better grades, better organization, and smiles when he came home from school. He was trying his best and that made us all happy. That is all I wanted out of him. If he made a D after working hard, so be it, but at least he tried his best.
Fast forward to the past two weeks where I slacked off. I didn’t check his homework each night. I didn’t remind him to study for tests. I had a lot of things I was juggling and I just didn’t give him the attention I had given him during the first month or so of school.
You guessed it … everything went downhill! He came home from school crying because of three low test grades that now pulled his averages down. When I spoke to his teachers and to him, we found that the problem lied once again in his lack of effort. He had not studied one bit for any of his tests that week. Two of his teachers contacted me to tell me how disappointed they were in his work.
I think the thing that really had me upset was that he wasn’t crying because he was disappointed in himself, he was crying because he knew my husband and I would be disappointed and he knew that he would probably receive some sort of punishment.
So friends, I have put it all out there. I am worried of the judgement and ridicule that might come from this blog, but I truly hope that you can instead hear my plea for help. From one mom to another, I would love your advice, your encouragement, and your words of wisdom. I would love to nip this problem in the bud now so that highschool and college are not a daily struggle for us all.