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Son Underachieving and Driving Me Crazy

My son is finishing up 8th grade. Last night he came home from a marching band practice at the high school, an honor he fell in to with another boy whose older brother made it happen. We were tight on a soccer game schedule, but when he walked in the door, he said he had an awards ceremony to go to for keeping a 3.5 average in Spanish. (Very typical to get information like this at the last minute or a minute too late) I went with him and watched a lot of kids get academic honors. I feel horrible, because rather than be proud of the accomplishment in Spanish, I was disappointed that he hadn't done more. And I didn't hide it. He has an IQ of 136 and can ace a class with minimal effort, but chooses not to. He calculates how much he can not do and still get a B. Spanish is "easy" because its all memorization. It spills into everywhere. He doesn't get up in the morning. has to be told over and over to do the few chores we ask of him. Literally refuses to do school work at home. He does it all in the hour of advisory in the morning. This isn't a middle school problem. He has always been like this ever since he'd sit on the floor refusing to tie his own shoes at age 4, when he was quite capable. I know I'm doing terribly at dealing with this. I have taken on the attitude that its his job to be a success and I can't make him care about doing his best. He doesn't care if he gets a good grade, or makes us proud, or earns an allowance. But I can't really let it go and he knows I am disappointed in him. Its not like we're always at odds. Not at all. He's affectionate and lets go of any arguments we have. Sometimes I'm still shaking from a tense encounter and he's moved on and is quite happy. He's kind of a home body even, often choosing our company in the evenings and weekends. Even that I think comes from not wanting to put out the effort of making plans with friends. He waits to be called. My husband is an engineer who admits he was an underachiever, too. And I know I was, but I didn't have nearly the natural ability my son has. I suppose that makes us want him to be better than we were since now we see how we could've done more. Are these things genetic or did we pass it on some other way? I just need advise on how to let go of my expectations. He's so capable and I feel like I've failed him by not being able to inspire him into doing his best.

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Thank you for all the insightful responses to my plea for help dealing with my response to my son's underachievement. I was especially grateful for the view of his side from people who were like him when they were younger, and for how my response could be affecting him. I can never get back the missed moment I had to celebrate his Spanish Award. I ended up making a funny congrats card (in Spanish) and stuck in some cash, knowing it would mean a lot to him, since we long ago ended allowance until he could do the daily responsibilities without being told repeatedly. We got big hugs and the next day he was up on time and made his bed. That lasted a day, but what is clear to me (again) is that, for him, reward is more effective than punishment. And in the end, its up to him. He's doing better than fine in school, and even if he's "able" to do more, if thats enough for him, it has to be enough for me. I love him regardless. But I don't have to reward mediocrity in order to show my love! Thanks again.

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I struggle with the same thing frequently with my son. A tip I came up together with a therapist helps me step back when I need to gain perspective. Here's the tip - when I am so wrapped up in his issues that I can't tell if I'm being reasonable or overreacting, I imagine that he is someone else's son. What would I advise that son's mother to do? This has made it possible for me to view the situation a little more objectively, and to recognize when I'm overreacting and when there is a legitimate problem that needs addressing. I hope this helps!

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I'm sorry to say I don't have advice to make it better... I just wanted to say "I feel you!" My son is EXACTLY the same! I have been frusterated since he was in the 3rd grade- he had a 9th grade reading level, and got a B in reading... WHAT!! He just didn't feel like doing his assignments, and a B is good right? I have talked to a lot of Moms with bright kids that have this problem and they tell me I worry too much- that it will work itself out- but if you come up with something PLEASE SHARE!! :)

I have the same situation but mine is now 17 is failing all his classes has chose not to follow my rules and is not living at home. He was a streight A student till the 7th grade then I have no idea what happened. School Counslers have been NO HELP he refuses to go to cousleing and that will not help unless he is willing. He finally decided in 10th grade to go places and hang out with friends then he chose friends in which he got into trouble with he is drinking.
I believe he is board with school and I can not get the schools to respond because he hardly ever gets above a C they seem to think he is just not that smart. I have tried 3 different schools in the past 4 yrs not always the best thing for a teenager but the last move was his fault not mine.
He doesn't do his chores thinks he knows the best way to do everything and bearly gets out of bed. if he is grounded he will do nothing but sleep.
Good luck with finding the problem if you do let the rest of use with the same type of child know.

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perhaps you can learn from my experience. I was one of those natural acheivers....IQ 156, talented in music, etc. Whenever I came home with a report card full of good grades, my parents would dwell on the one A- in gym class, or the B+ in penmanship. When I did manage all As, the response was, "You are so smart that that is what we expect of you". I would see my friends get rewards and celebrations over far less accomplishments. What I learned was that it was not possible to please my parents.... that all accomplishments would fall short of their expectations. We were estranged for many years.(decades) If your child acheives, show that you are happy with the acheivment, even if you think they can do better. Right now, it is not worth it for your child to try, because even his accomplishments are underrated. Please get over it NOW. Otherwise, you will raise someone who wants to do as little as possible to get by. I expect that your son knows how much work is involved to get a 4.0 rather than a 3.5 and has decided (consciously or unconsciously) that it is NOT WORTH the trouble, since no one appreciates the difference. Please start celebrating accomplishments, now.
L.

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Your son sounds like me (and the rest of my class of 'high achievers' I went to school with)... high IQ, nothing challenging or interesting enough in school to bother with.

Smart people often work out the real-world reaction to artifice like grades very early: what is an A worth in a store? Yeah. Next week, when that A's old news, how much is it worth (how much is it going to 'count' toward next year's grade)? Zilch. Outside the school system, does anyone actually care what grade anyone got? Hardly.

3.5 may not be much of a stretch for you lad -- but it does suggest a natural affinity for languages that he might like to think about. If he can get that good a grade by showing up (my experience throughout school), why bother putting any effort into it? Beyond 'above average' and already knowing he's smart, why put anything into something he's never going to get anything out of? It's a question HE needs to answer to his own satisfaction.

I figured out in grade 2 that teachers are not here to facilitate excellence or nurture curiosity... they're here to present the curriculum -- which often represents 100% of what they know about the subject they're teaching. It is a very rare teacher who thanks a small child for pointing out (through eager questioning) that the teacher doesn't have a clue what the answer is. So rare, in fact, that not once in my entire public school life did I ever meet ONE.

What is a small, eager, curious and bright child to do with their questions? Well... take them out of school, for a start.

'L. is not living up to her potential' was written on virtually every single one of my report cards... and my reaction to that by the time I was 13 was 'why the heck would I?' As in: what exactly would I get out of bothering? Higher meaningless grades? Yipee. More time wasted doing the same stupid problems I learned to do three years before they were in the curriculum? Hoop-jumping practice? Gee, no thanks, I think I'll use my brain otherwise.

THE reason I completed high school at all was because I was still under the hilarious misapprehension that it was necessary for anything. The reality (made plain by a whole generation of homeschoolers) is that even universities as prestigious as Harvard and Oxford *prefer* self-directed learners who haven't learned to value grades over learning, or how to jump through hoops instead of taking on a challenge.

20+ years later, the ONLY use I've ever had for my high school transcript, A's included, is having something to put in a safe deposit box.

Encourage your lad to do more of what he does well, and talk about the value of excellence (as a philosophy)... and decide how YOU feel about the contrived value of grades, so you can either let it go or make it genuinely important to you (as in: go get some of your own). Don't sell yourself short, either.

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Alright... first, I have to say ... he gets B's. So what. Honestly. He is old enough to learn that there are consequences from his own choices. If getting B's are what he chooses to do, then what is the problem. So he isn't an all A student. I would rather have a solid B student, then one who struggles in school and can't even achieve a C.

Second, have you ever thought about the possibility he is rather bored. Many school situations are just that ... boring ... for those students who are more gifted. You say 'he calculates what he can NOT do to get a B'. That tells me everything is much much to easy for him. There is no challenge. There is no real stimulation. He gets all his homework done during the advisory hour. He doesn't NEED to do it at home because it seems everything is so easy for him he just needs that one school hour to finish.

I would stop looking at what your son is NOT doing and start talking to his school counselor and see what can be done to encourage him and stimulate him. Are there tougher classes or perhaps a teacher that demands a bit more of their students. THis isn't going to go away in high school.

My father is a high school counselor and loves it when parents comes in and want to discuss how they can work together to motivate the child.

Being disappointed in him because he isn't reaching his potential, isn't helping. Instead you should be looking to what is the root cause. It isn't because he is lazy. He ISN'T lazy. He does all his work in ONE school hour! He knows exactly what needs to be done to get a B. If he was lazy, he wouldn't take the time to do that and he would just not do ANY work... and end up with C's or D's. He cares enough to get B's. He knows that is important. He just isn't stimulated enough to put in that extra bit to get an A.

As far as chores around the house and such... that is typical teenager stuff. You just have to have that conversation of 'you are part of this family, you help out. We all help out.'

Personally, I do not like to attach allowance to chores. I think chores are something you do because you are part of a family and live in the family house. Allowance is something seperate.

Every kid has SOMETHING that is important to them. They have something that is very important to them, or something they really like to do. Find out what that is. If he doesn't pull his weight with the household responsibilities... take it away. Take away the priviledge. If it is important enough to him, he will make sure it doesn't get taken away again.

Honestly, I think you just need to adjust your perspective. Underachievers are underachievers for a reason, not just because they don't want to do the work. Nothing in what you have written tells me that he is lazy. He is making a conscious choice. You need to dig a little and find out why.

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I don't have a 13 year old. I was a 13 year old... I never brought homework home. I was bored. If they had put me in classes that were interesting I might have gotten along better.

I have not had any problems getting good jobs (and keeping them) in my life. Once I figured out that output equals money I was motivated! I worked at McDonalds for 4 years in high school. I have been home for two years with my daughter (and work from home now) prior to that I was a Mortgage Lender and a Bank Manager.

Honestly? My high school education (or lack of it) had not had a direct inpact on my life. I went to see friends. I saw homework as poor planning on the teachers part. I spent all day there and they wanted my night too??

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I too have a son that is naturally gifted and more of a loner. I have to say middle school years were the worst. Things changed a lot when he hit 10th grade. People told me that it was the age and I came up with a list of reasons why it wasn't - but looking back as he is finishing up 10th grade he has naturally grown and matured and taken on better attitudes. I still struggle with him not getting a job at his age (16) - because he says he doesn't need the money. I want him to have it for experience. There will always be issues where you will be at odds - it is all a part of parenthood and adolecent and teenage years - so I have been told and am slowly realizing. I have found I have to tell myself that I should be happy that he is getting good grades (though I know he could be straight A's with a little effort he is happy with A's and B's) - at least he isn't drinking, doing drugs, or hanging out with kids that I wouldn't approve of. I have to remind myself for every little thing I wish he would change - there is something to counter that I am grateful for. Not to be long winded - but I really do think a lot of it does have to do with his age right now. From everyone I have talked to as I worked through so many of the same issues - the middle school years are the worst. It will get better. We all want the best for our kids - but we need to remember a part of the growing process is they have to learn a lot of it on their own too. We can guide them - but they need to step up and make it happen. I truly do think you will see a change in him once High School starts. For now instead of telling him the things you want him to do different just praise him on the things he is doing that you are proud of. Maybe hearing praise after a while will slowly change his attitude. And don't expect a miracle when they do get older - it gets better but a whole new set of issues - such as they know everything and you know nothing is going to surface. I have learned to take it lightly and not fret the small stuff - we have great kids and that says a lot these days.

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My son is 20 years old. He became exactly as you describe your son at about age 12-13. This is just who he is. I had many years of trying to turn him into what I wanted him to be. That only angered me and the knowledge that I was disappointed in him only led him to what I now believe was a deep depression. With me backing off and him just working at his own pace, he did graduate on time and has a job he actually loves, at this moment in his life. He still lives at home and is pretty much a homebody, but he seems happy. And looking at that smile on that wonderful face is worth everything to me. Will he ever "get it"? I don't know. Maybe he won't even want as much as I think he might want. But if he's happy with his decisions, then that's okay with me. He may not ever want the "big house" or the "fancy car" or to "climb the ladder of success". That's okay with me. After feeling like I could've lost him while he was sad and depressed knowing that I was disappointed in him, his "laziness" and "lack of drive" does not compare to the smiles and hugs and his sense of his own achievement. No, realistically he will never become a doctor or an engineer, etc., but this is the son that God gave me and I love him just the way he is.

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My kids aren't to this age yet, but my husband was the same way. I was the exact opposite. The only difference between the two of us was our family structure. He comes from a very nurturing background (loved and attended to the way a child should be). I, on the other hand, was raised by a single mother of two. I strived to do well in school to steal some of mom's attention. I remember begging her to go to Parent-Teacher Conferences so the teachers could tell her how well I was doing (looking for a pat on the back), but she never had time. My husband's parents went to everything, every football game, every open house, etc. My guess is, your son just has loving, nurturing parents, who are doing everything just right! He'll turn out okay... just look at your husband. ;o)

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I struggle with the same thing frequently with my son. A tip I came up together with a therapist helps me step back when I need to gain perspective. Here's the tip - when I am so wrapped up in his issues that I can't tell if I'm being reasonable or overreacting, I imagine that he is someone else's son. What would I advise that son's mother to do? This has made it possible for me to view the situation a little more objectively, and to recognize when I'm overreacting and when there is a legitimate problem that needs addressing. I hope this helps!

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S.,
WOW! I could've written what you did! This is much like my own story. Hubby's an engineer, underachiever son, etc etc. My oldest too was/is an underachiever. He did enjoy band. But his academics were often the pits. Didn't put forth any effort. I'd ask if he had homework. Nope. And truthfully I heard the same from my other two.
No you cannot force them to put out effort or like a subject. You've done all you can. But you need to let go of it. It's hard yes. But consider that the disappointment you're showing is exactly what he's reacting to. He may figure that he's such a disappointment that NOTHING he does will make you happy, so why bother? Show a little encouragement. Try to find out why he's so non-communicative. Or why he doesn't try. Maybe there's an issue with self esteem.
He's good at Spanish? See if he'll loan you his book so you could learn a little too. It never hurts to learn another language. But it'll be a way to connect with him. What are his interests? Does he realize how well he chose in deciding on Spanish? It'll get him in the door to a lot of places.
8th grade is also just that age where any parent is a real drip. They're testing their own waters and abilities to think for themselves. That doesn't mean to back off entirely. If he's into independence, then allow him to be accountable. If he neglects to tell you about an awards banquet, well DARN! It would've been nice to go, but I'm unprepared for it. Should've said something sooner. If he wants the award, he needs to speak up, if he wants you to see him get it. Kids are often their worst enemy. Especially at the in between being a kid/semi-grown up stages.
Explain that if he doesn't get up for school, he'll ultimately fall behind from tardiness/absenteeism that he'll have to take this year over again. Appeal to his ego. Does he want to fall behind and be in with the 'babies'? Maybe he understands his high I.Q. and just wants to fit in with the other average kids. Fine. But as long as he first understands that unique kids like him come along less often and are the ones that will struggle less as grown ups because they CAN understand a lot more a lot better and they'll write their own ticket.
He may be able to shake off an argument better than you, but don't be fooled. Realize that he could be holding a lot of resentment in too. Explain that it hurts you as a mom that he appears so unaffected by an encounter when you argue, because it's like he doesn't care.
But again you need to let go of some of this control stuff. Because, S., even as parents we can't control every minute of their lives. Guide them, do your best by them, but to control is to deny them their individuality. And sometimes they have to learn the hard way. Hopefully not too devastatingly hard. But we can't control what they do away from home, and often that's a situation that can be trouble. They've made a bad decision. You will still love them, but you have to let them grow up and find their way too.
Hang in there!

It sounds like he hasn't found anything he finds worthy of his time or effort. I've seen it a lot at the high school level. These kids have such potential and yet they squander it while others work so hard to pass. It may be time to explore things you wouldn't normally explore with your son. Se if you can light a fire that way. Another option may be finding an appreticeship in a field that interests him. Finally, maybe he just doesn't understand how good he has it- volunteer as a family and make a difference. It's not going to be easy but it will be worth it.

Best of luck!

Hello,

I read your letter and couldn't help thinking SO WHAT! He sounds happy and busy enough, just because you can doesn't mean you have to. I could of done better if I had tried ( rather like your son ) and had a management job until I chose to be home with the kids. Now I am in a far less meaningfull job and far happier. I have a son who is 16 and dyslexic. He struggles to achieve the ½ of what your son does and the whole family will be thrilled if he even makes it to the 12th grade. Let him enjoy HIS childhoos and fight to the top when he is ready. good Luck,, J., mom to Mark 16 and Vanessa 9½, living overseas

I'm sorry to say I don't have advice to make it better... I just wanted to say "I feel you!" My son is EXACTLY the same! I have been frusterated since he was in the 3rd grade- he had a 9th grade reading level, and got a B in reading... WHAT!! He just didn't feel like doing his assignments, and a B is good right? I have talked to a lot of Moms with bright kids that have this problem and they tell me I worry too much- that it will work itself out- but if you come up with something PLEASE SHARE!! :)

Hi S.,

I was so glad to read your post. I am glad to see it is not only me going through this. I have a son that just turned 14 a few days ago. He very well could get straight A's if he put some time and effort into it. He would rather play his guitar than anything right now. It drives me and my husband insane. My husband is an electrician; wanted to be a doctor. Very well could've been, but did not want to put in the time or the effort, and to this day regrets it. So same thing he wants better things for our son. We had a teacher last conferences tell us; if he could get his self a little more focused and organized he would be the type of kid that could skip a grade. Instead he gets mostly B's and sometimes a C in advanced math. If things do not come easy to him he wants nothing to do with it. He has been like this since 5th grade. Getting homework done is a fight almost every night in our house. He is a great kid with a huge heart. But he drives us crazy almost every day. Because the lack of effort he puts into everything besides his guitar. I know it is very hard, it is for me; but I do think it is the age and we need to keep that in mind. I don't have any advice because I have the same type of situation going on here. But I try to tell myself it could be a whole lot worse. It could be D's and E's. He could be out doing drugs and drinking. He is not, so be thankful for that. Things do get better from what I have been told. Sorry I have been so long winded, but I can relate so much to this. I feel for you. If you want to email sometime to complain feel free. ____@____.com Just like you said I don't feel I handle the situation very well. I feel like I yell at him all the time, and I hate that. A lot of people have told me to read the book "Raising Boys". I've heard it is an excellent book. You may want to try that. Good luck to you, I know its hard.

Take Care

Goodluck!!!!!!

I think the best advice is to let him be who he wants to be. I know that must be hard, especially if you know that he has a lot of natural ability. But the only person who can make him achieve things is him. And by you constantly showing disappointment, it may be causing him to slide even further backwards. He may be thinking that no matter what, you're going to be disappointed in him so why should he try... I remember going through this same thing with my mom. She always knew I was very capable (and told me so often) but sometimes I didn't put forth the effort. To be honest with you, I didn't care as much about my school work (I was a lot like your son - I put forth just enough effort to get the B). The funny thing is that when my mom really backed off (which was when I got to college) is when I started caring about my grades and wanting to do a good job... Now that I'm a mother myself and am in graduate school, I really put forth A LOT of effort to get good grades. When I get an A-, I'm upset that it wasn't an A. And this amuses my mother to no end! She keeps laughing and asking where this committment was when I was younger. So, in the end, my best advice is to simply support your child and gently encourage him to do well. It sounds like he's a good kid overall - it would be a different situation if he was anti-social or into drugs, etc. If he seems to be happy with his place in life, then it might help you (for your own sanity) to simply accept him for who he is. Who knows, he may surprise you and really pick up the pace once you back off :)

We have taught our daughter, who is 14 and finishing 8th grade as well, that we care nothing about the "grading scale" or the actual grades on her report card. We will reward or punish her in respect to how hard she works. If she brings home a B in English, she is going to be punished. This is an area she excels in, unless there is something obvious that we are helping her with, there is no excuse for a B in English FOR HER (everyone is different). When it comes to math, a C is acceptable as long as we see her working hard on homework and going for extra help when she needs it. My parents left me grades up to me and told me it was my responsibility. The problem: No matter how "smart" our children are, a teenager CANNOT see the effect their current laziness will have on their future. As parents, we have to help them and set standards to train them for the future. They won't just snap out of this when they become adults. We have to give them consequences now so that the natural consequence has a smaller chance of affecting them in the future. GOod luck, I know that this can be a struggle.

Hello S., You are a good mom, taking your kids to all of there events and spending time with them. It says alot that your middle school son wants to spend time with the family. That said, I do have to say that you rained on his parade. Weather you think he could have done better or not, the school recognized his accivement with an award ceremony, and you couldn't join in on the compliment. He is doing well, but all you can focus on is what he isn't doing. His self esteem is suffering, this is why he isn't reaching out to his peers. Nothing he does is good enough with the most important people in his life, how then can he face his peers and feel good about himself? Ask yourself how you would respond if everything you did for your family was taken for granted and all you received from your husband was complaints on how you could do more. How would this make you feel? Keep up the great things you are doing with your family and try to understand that your son is going through the roughest age in life. The transition between childhood and adulthood is confusing and painful. I have three kids who are grown and on their own. The oldest and youngest are as bright as your son, didn't have to study, high IQ's, etc. My middle child had to work ten times as hard to pull in a C. They all grew up to be wonderful adults, doing very well for themselves. Good luck S..

I know this isn't exactly the type of advice you were asking for, but your son sounds a lot like how my 13 year old nephew is/was. School was so easy for him that he didn't need to put in an effort and he wouldn't do his homework because it bored him. That changed this past school year when my sister found a montessori school for him. She says the change has been dramatic. He loves to go to school and loves doing his homework, and he as a result his attitude for other activities has changed as well. Not sure if there is such an option in your area, but it may be worth investigating.

Please remember....children live up to YOUR expectations of them. If you let him know you are disappointed in him, he won't let you down.....he'll continue to disappoint you. I think you need to change your tactics with him. Let him know how proud you are of him for who he is and the accomplishments he does have. You need to do this so he'll talk to you......it's the MOST important thing....communication...you really don't want him to EVER feel he can't talk to you because you might criticize him. I wish you the best of luck....it's not an easy path to raise children and honestly, they need to grow into the person they were meant to be...it's our job to see that they get there and sometimes it's not always OUR visison, but theirs. Maybe he could tutor others in Spanish over the summer, giving him the self esteem to perhaps change the way he sees himself. Good Luck. C.

Greetings S.,

Congratulations to your son on his 3.5 average in Spanish.
That is a GREAT accomplishment, unless his native language is Spanish. However that still would be an accomplishment. Feel good about his one achievement. Let him know how proud you are of his accomplishment and that you know he is capable of great accomplishments in ever subject.
Some of the best ways to inspire your son to do his best is by you doing your best, by being supportive and encouraging.
Much success.

Love, Peace and Joy,
S.

Kids with a high intelligence often become bored with their school curicculum, and being intelligent (which makes them intellectually active) these kids often resent "busy work" feeling that if they know the material than that is all that counts. They would rather spend their home time following their own personal interests and learning about those things instead. In fact, those pursuits are generally much more important to them. The only thing in my experience that actually helps (being exactly the kind of child with these problems in school) is recieving a lot of praise and recognition both from parents and teachers for what they are accomplishing (not necessarily blind "good job" for their grades. And encouragement in their outside interests as well, so they feel having those interests supported, they don't necessarily need to defend spending extra time on them. Hang in there. Your son is really intelligent and he will do well for himself if you just continue to believe in his intelligence and support his direction, even if you feel compelled to counsel him on its results... :)

Well all I can say is you've done all you can it is up to him. As I had told another Mom on this site--

I tell my kids I am all grown and have completed my education successfully, so them messing up thier life will only hurt them--yes it saddens me, but ultimately it is only them and thier future they are hurting. My life will go on as usual even if they get bad grades. Sounds harsh, but it is true!

GL:)

Unfortunately, your sons IQ has no relation to his drive. He could have inherited the low drive, but still been blessed with a high IQ. Meaning; it's not the unmotivated kids with low intelligence...laziness does not discriminate. My son is also intelligent, and when the motivation (read-bribe) is right he can pull decent grades...but ONLY the bare minimum to get the reward...never higher! I personally feel that there is a huge danger in the children of this generation (I know, I know...every parent says that), but we have a generation of children who think they 'deserve' cell phones, cars, high paying jobs, and that immediate gratification is the norm. They think flipping burgers is 'below' them and that high-school is a waste of time. Regardless of what one thinks of high school, it is necessary and to do well WILL open many doors for the future. Teenagers don't see the future well...and they lack the experience to have any hindsight. You're right, you can't make him care about his grades...but you can remind him that he needs good grades. Even if the thinks (or knows) that he will get through college just fine, and professors are different in college, blah, blah, blah...there is a standard sequence of events to education and you have to follow the rules or you lose out on some great opportunities. My son has closed a lot of doors on his own. Will he be successful? Sure...but it will be harder than it needs be for him and he will have a harder time proving himself in the long run. Your son will be okay, but just because he is smart doesn't mean he gets a 'by' in high school...so it's your job to keep reminding him and demanding success. Since when has anybody regretted doing well in school? Or found that being successful in high school limited their future? That's nonsense!

Good luck to you!
~L.

Some teenagers nowadays just seem lazier. My 15 year old son has the potential to be an all "A" student. He's done it up until this year (9th grade). He just chooses not to. Not from a lack of harping on our part. He told me the other day that grades are just numbers to be judged by by "our" society. He knows he can get good grades but by keeping up he looses the challenge of failing all 8 weeks and cramming the 9th week!

Perhaps your son needs to choose less activities. Like the one response about the contract, he might choose to loose band or a soccer team, etc. He may be overwhelmed and to proud, etc. to tell anyone.

Good luck, if you find something that works, please pass it on. I also have an 8th grader who got out of exams for the end of 7th grade and first semester this year and possibly this time around. He is currently suspended!! I in the process of demanding he does finals this time!! I worked VERY hard for every A and B I ever got and am not happy about my boys lack of educational pride.

I have the same situation but mine is now 17 is failing all his classes has chose not to follow my rules and is not living at home. He was a streight A student till the 7th grade then I have no idea what happened. School Counslers have been NO HELP he refuses to go to cousleing and that will not help unless he is willing. He finally decided in 10th grade to go places and hang out with friends then he chose friends in which he got into trouble with he is drinking.
I believe he is board with school and I can not get the schools to respond because he hardly ever gets above a C they seem to think he is just not that smart. I have tried 3 different schools in the past 4 yrs not always the best thing for a teenager but the last move was his fault not mine.
He doesn't do his chores thinks he knows the best way to do everything and bearly gets out of bed. if he is grounded he will do nothing but sleep.
Good luck with finding the problem if you do let the rest of use with the same type of child know.

I don't have a 13 yr old child, but I do have a 13 yr old BROTHER... Same thing... Smart, but non motivated...
I know you have probibly tried all of this...but just in case...
Try sitting down and making a contract... You keep your grades at this level OR... No band
He's smart... Maybe letting him come up with punishments for himself that you both agree on... No soccer, no tv, no games, having to (ugh) wash the dishes... etc

Could it be that he's truly a loner. Comfortable with family and close friends but not out there enough to be a social body? My hubby is great in social situations but really only likes being with family or alone...

He's 13.... and doesn't sound like he is acting out with violence or hanging out with the wrong kids.... do what you can and let the rest go, he should come around as he matures.. no matter what he does he has the potential to be successful in the future.
Just my opinion... good luck!

Hey S.,

Your son sounds very much like my youngest brother, same IQ, little introverted, could achieve way more but often. As much as it is driving you crazy with his underachieving, you need to try to build on his strengths and give him as much positive feedback and encouragement. That is the only way that works with my youngest brother. Knowing that your parent is disappointed in you is one of the worst feeling that a child can have and may continue to underachieve (by your standards) since it is what is "expected" of him, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Just love him and try to accept his personality and work with it as best you can. I am also a clinical therapist, who has worked with a # of kids (so I have a bit of experience with this). Hope that it's a bit helpful. Your son sounds like a very sweet, kind, smart child. Enjoy him. C.

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