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villagemother
villagemother asks:
Q:

How can I motivate my son to work hard in school?

I am hoping someone out there can help me or is going through something similar.  My son is thirteen. This is his second year in Seventh grade.  Last year, we moved to a very remote part of Alaska and it has been hard for him to adjust to it here.  I do understand that and at this time, we are in the process of possible relocating again very soon which my son is really looking forward too. He attends a school with alaskan natives.  
Ever since he was in Kindergarten, my husband and I have gone to numerous meetings with the schools and teachers in regards to him.  They always tell us how intelligent he is, but he doesn't want to do his work or turn it in, or would shut down all the time. For years, we've dealt with these issues and tried so many different things to no avail.  Now here I am looking at him possible repeating seventh grade again for the third time all because he just doesn't care, has no motivation, etc.  So yesterday, I decided that it was time to take away his playstation and his psp player and I explained to him that until I start to see some real change in him as far as his schoolwork and attitude, he will not see the games until I see real improvement.
I just don't know what else to do.  My husband and I are so frustrated. We love him so much but just don't know what else to do.  After so many meetings with teachers, etc etc.  I am so tired of all the talking but no results.  
Anyone have any thoughts on what we could do to help him....?
In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Apr 25, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds as if you are concerned about your son working up to his potential in school, and rightfully so if he is having to repeat a grade.  Has he been tested for any learning disabilities?  Does he have more of a problem on tests or just completing homework?
If it is purely a motivation problem, consequences for poor grades can be appropriate, as well as making sure that there is praise & reinforcement for good grades and positive reports from teachers.  Some things that you also may want to consider are nightly structured study times if he has homework or not, and initiating weekly communication with his teachers on his performance.  You also may want to think about ensuring that he is eating & sleeping adequately, and limit his use of time on video games and/or TV.

Often times kids can get bored with school, especially if there are not a variety of teaching techniques being used that keep kids engaged.   Has your son ever been tested for his learning style---whether he is an auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner?  There are many websites that do brief €œscreenings€" on the topic and then will discuss how you build upon those learning styles for success in the classroom.

At 13, it€™s not too early to talk to your son about his career goals as well.   Sometimes discussing the educational requirements for jobs they want to have in the future can start kids looking to the future rather than just focusing on getting their needs met here and now.

I hope that you can come to a point where you and your son are satisfied with his performance.  It€™s great that you are concerned about him and want to help him achieve success!

Boys Town National Hotline an Education.com partner
€“ 1-800-448-3000 / www.boystown.org


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Additional Answers (6)

vdancer
vdancer writes:
Another thing you can consider is to give him some opportunities to help others.  Its amazing what happens to young people who find a way to contribute in their community.  Maybe he can help with animals, on a farm, with some little children.  These "service" projects can get him focused on others besides himself, and help him build self esteem for his contributions of time and energy.

I am a also a big fan of no TV or media or internet for this age, which is hard when its already a habit.  But finding other things to get interested in, a hobby of some sort, making things, building things, art, music, will help him pass the time in a constructive way.  

This age is difficult for many young people.  They are no longer little children and certainly not yet adults.  Good luck..best wishes for a happy relocation and a new beginning.
> 60 days ago

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JeanneBrockmyer
JeanneBrock... writes:
That's good news about your move!  Sounds like your son may continue to struggle some, though, given what you have said about his school history.  It's probably time for the new school to redo at least part of his evaluation since it is two years old.  He may not need the full restrictions of a special ed placement, which can be stigmatizing as I'm sure you know.  
As far as discipline, it is tempting to go all out, especially when nothing seems to be working, but in this case you may want to consider  smaller, attainable goals.  So maybe he would get his video games back for 1/2 hour if you get a good report from school two days in a row.  I don't know your exact situation, but it usually works better for the child to know exactly what he is supposed to do and what the outcome will be.
It would be great for your son to have an activity outside of school where he can really shine.  Sometimes this is a volunteer activity, as already suggested, sometimes it is something active like karate.
You may have already tried counseling, but once you are settled, if your son continues to have problems it may be worth another try.  One possibility that could be assessed is that your son is experiencing some depression. That might require a somewhat different parenting approach. These years can be difficult for any child, and a child with a disability faces extra challenges (as do his parents!).

Dr. Jeanne Funk, education.com clinical child psychology expert
> 60 days ago

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concernedteach
concernedte... writes:
I think its great that you and your husband are truly trying to help. A lot of parents tend to see their child's education as the school's responsibility. I too struggled in middle school both accademically and socially. Is your son artisctic? Does he doodle in his notebook instead of taking notes? If so then you might want to think about enroling him in an art class. I hope that you and your son realize that even though he may like his new school better, most of the time, when a new kid comes to school, one of two things happens: the child is accepted as cool, or rejected as an outcast. This is not always the case, but it does happen. I think that taking away his games is a good step, but it may make him not like you. I would suggest letting him play only after his school work is done. One think that worked for me was doing my work as soon as I got home and had a snack. This helped because my brain was already in "school" mood, and there wasn't a big transition. By waiting until after dinner, as most parents do, you open the door for your child to be unwilling to work. He thinks that he's already had his fun for the day, so what's the point in ruining it with work. You might also want to try sugesting having a small party at the end of school only if your son does well from here out. Encourage your son to make friends, even though you will be leaving soon. Having a friend tends to help because they can discuss classes and people. If your son is struggling with a subject, a study buddy tends to help keep him focused. Also, friends tend to discourage bullies, a common problem in middle school.
I hope this helps, and don't give up. Once you find what works, keep with it even into high school. good luck.
> 60 days ago

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Daysey
Daysey writes:
Hello Villagemother I am having a similar situation I know exactly the way you feel I was thinking on getting a counselor to motive my son but I don't know if is a good idea ? I have also enrolled my son on a tutoring program, have you try doing this for your son ? If not I think you should.
> 60 days ago

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EducationExpert
EducationEx... writes:
The answers above are all good.  But, I'll add an additional layer.  Parents are in a tough position because they are both the unconditional love giver and the boss.  Those roles are difficult to balance simultaneously.  In addition, for efficiency sake, it is far easiar to simply snap at the child - "do your homework" - than it is to spend time inspiring the child to become self-directed.  I know for sure that when my teenage son is doing something wrong my instinct is to bark at him.

Fortunately, I have an advantage - I run an educational consultancy and recently wrote a book "Motivate Your Son". Through my work and in my research for the book, I grew to realize that we have to figure out the unique ways to communicate with our children.  There are different frameworks but I use the Enneagram as one way of typing students in order to figure out how I can press the student's unique motivational triggers.

In your son's case, figure out his personality type and then try to speak with him in the language that would best help motivate him.
> 60 days ago

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AMADYDIOUF
AMADYDIOUF writes:
YOU can motivate your son by giving him exercises and tell him about the importance of studies
> 60 days ago

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