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badcon asks:
Q:

How do we motivate our intelligent 13yr. old 7th grader to excell in school?

Our son, is an only child. He's 13 and looks like he's 16! He has always done well in school. This year he is in 7th grade. He was accepted and is in an inter-baccelaurete middle school program. He is tender hearted, even a bit naive, we are structured(no R movies or M games, limited video, no phone or computer in his room, no facebook etc.) He has a clear opinion of right & wrong, is very well versed with adults. He has ideals of valor, leadership & helping others. He's truly a good kid. Problems started in 6th grade, issues in math. He was tested, for cognitive things(fine) and they say he's not AD(h)D. However, even with both parents, a tutor & teachers all whom are willing to help him. He's still not doing assignments, lying about it, not studying for tests, losing information or "forgetting" about a 5 page essay due tomorrow! He seems to have no problem remembering anything fun or of personal interest to him. He's disorganized, we've helped him, he said he wanted to do it on his own; did that, 2 weeks he had 2 F's.  He says he forgets, misunderstood, didn't know or doesn't know? All his teachers say he's easily an A student, but does not make the effort. They all say he's a joy in class, he participates and is in no way a discipline issue.
We require A,B's & 1C on grades. We offer $ for this and more$ for all A's. He's grounded for poor grades (yes EVERYTHING goes). What else can we do to help him. He's tired of hearing us explain why he needs to do his best in school.
In Topics: School and Academics, Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago

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Expert

BarbK
Nov 24, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like your son is pretty normal.  At 13 your son is going through a lot of changes both physically and mentally.  And he certainly doesn't know how to explain it.  With that being said, that doesn't mean you stop being a parent and wait until he grows out of it.  In fact, he probably needs your help and guidance more than when he was younger.  Just like you keep tabs on what he watches, what he does and who he hangs out with, you also need to be informed with his assignments and due dates.  He just isn't ready for that - and that's ok.

Here are a few things you can do to help him with his school work.

Check for yourself what was assigned.  Many schools today require teachers to post assignments on their school's website.  Don't leave it solely up to your son to tell you what he needs to do.

Keep track of his grades.  Once again, many schools have Internet gradebooks which can be accessed by parents 24/7.  Now of course this is only as good as the teacher who keeps on top of entering their grades, but they are getting better at this.

Form a parent network.  I'm sure you are not the only one having this problem.  Find parents who have children in your son's class.  Exchange email addresses so you can share information and confirm when assignments need to be completed.

Have teachers sign off in planner.  Arrange a meeting with your son's teachers.  Ask them if they will double check that your son has recorded the assignment correctly.  They can initial if it is correct.  If this doesn't work for the teacher, ask what he/she suggests.  After all this is a common problem.

Model for your son.  Explicitly teach him how you keep organized whether it is a day planner, electronic calendar, or small notebook you keep in your purse.  Show him what you do each time you use it and how it helps you keep things organized.

My friend and business partner has two teenage boys and she shares similar stories with me all the time.  One book she found helpful was Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind by Michael Bradley.  It might be worth checking it out.

Good luck!  Your son is lucky to have a concerned parent who is doing all the right things.

Barb K
www.LessonPop.com

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