how to make a kid want to do well

mom_of_4December 6, 2008

I usually post on the step family forum ... but really I am at my wits I figured I would copy this post into the parents forum as well to get some more input

I suppose "make" is the wrong word. But, really how do you get a kid that just doesnt seem to care to give a crap about school.

I have posted before about ss11 and his issues with school. He has adhd and has consistantly had troubles in school. We revamped his IEP this year to include a number of things that we felt were important but still are having troubles.

I have been working and preping ss for WEEKS for a big test that he had coming up in math. Fractions and converting them with the equivilants and all that jazz... Well, the test was this past week. He was at moms house this week so I didnt find out about it until our pt conference on friday. His teacher pulled out the test and he made 20% and F. There were all of two correct questions on the test. Apparently he had a study guide and the teacher even basically gave them exactly what was on the test. He told them to concentrate on memorizing their 1/2,1/5,1/3,1/4... He knew this was a huge test. He knew his grades were low and in order for him to get back on safety patrol he had to bring them up... He didnt study AT ALL. He lied to bm said he didnt have homework... Actually last week he also lied to dh when he picked him up for school and said he had his homework and then later called me from BM's house to get the answers for his science study guide ... for a test the next day... he didnt bring home his science book because he "doesnt know" (shoulder shrug)

So, after a week of lieing he failed a major math test and more than likely the science test as well because he bother to look over the answers for that one either.

But, it is like it doesnt phase him in the least. He got upset for a minute at the school when we found out about the lies and not studying...but that was it. He was upset because he might not get to go back on safety patrol but he didnt put in ANY effort into actually getting back on safety patrol. I am so frustrated at this point. We talked about the test for weeks... if he would have studied even a little bit... he would have passed.

Now I do lay part of the blame on the teacher for not informing us of the exact day of the test and I do lay some blame in bms lap for not taking a more active role and making him study the science at least. But, the fact is I cant be there 24 hours a day..none of us can. Next year he will be in middle school. 6 classes 6 different teachers with different rules and homework and what not. I have got to get him to take some personal responsibility. But, I just dont know how. I have tried thing after thing different rewards different punishments... I even told DH I was so frustrated I was seriously considering paying him for good grades (something that I am really against) But, I dont think that would even get him motivated. What do I do? How can I get him to care .... at all really?

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Give him jobs at home which require lots of actual hard work- digging over the garden, moving boxes around, floor sweeping, driveway sweeping, cleaning out the cars, handwashing dishes and pots- and if he complains point out he needs to get used to it because that's the only kind of job he is going to be able to get with no education behind him.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 10:26AM
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Actually, Colleen's suggestion might have the added benefit of helping him self-organize. Sometimes kids with ADHD benefit from heavy/strenuous physical labor to 'line up their circuits' and help them focus.

Now, I don't know if you can 'make him care' but you can help him succeed, and sometimes, a little success goes a long way toward restoring motivation. Are you willing to work with him 1 on 1 every day after school? And are you willing to converse with BioMom on a regular basis so you both can stay on top of him? I know that's asking a lot of you, but it could be the thing that turns him around. And considering the consequences if he doesn't turn around...

He's already got an IEP, which is great. Do you think you could add a clause that the teachers e-mail you and BioMom a week before all tests and provide two copies of the study guide - one for each house. Then spend 15 minutes a day reviewing the material with Sonny? (DS and I spend 5-10 minutes every night and every morning when he has a test coming up.)

Also, does Sonny have and diagnosed learning difficulties in addition to the ADHD? And what is his intelligence like in general?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 11:06AM
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In the IEP we have already established the daily updates basically... homework is signed by the teacher daily tests are written in the agenda and signed by teachers...

As of right now I am basically working with him one on one everyday. But, that is what it is taking to get hw done and right without taking until 11:00 at night and still have it all wrong. It is not an established regiment but I would have to say 4 nights a week we end up working one on one. (( This is strictly doing hw or studying for whatever test might be coming up))

Bm is being super supportive this year. (Which is a huge change from last year) She actually had ss call me last week to ask me questions about hw because she didnt know the answers. But, I have the distinct feeling that a lot of that has more to do with her not wanting to be bothered. But, like I said super supportive this year so we are basically on the same page with each other.

He does not have any other diagnosed learning difficulties. He does have some self esteem issues (which he uses to his advantage with his mother saying things like "I'm too stupid to do this" and she immediately goes into babying him mode ...instead of actually helping him) But, some of them are very real. He is also VERY immature for his age. It has almost come to the point where I rely on his younger brother to do things that I would normally ask the oldest to do.

But, for all of this in some ways he is very smart. Electronics are his thing. He loves wires and batteries and things that make noise or move or whatever that he can rewire and reconfigure. MY tv set currectly has several different wires connected together attached to a piece of metal pinned to the fire place as an antenna. (it totally works...not that we need all that but whatever) And his room has speakers and wires all over the place some attached to batteries that he has rigged up etc etc. We encourage this as much as possible. We bought him an electrical set and based on the wiring he does it operates a timer or a couple of other things. (And obviously he gets all the speakers batteries wires etc from somewhere)I think it is seeing how things work in general because I am just now remembering that he took apart the breaks on his brothers bike to "fix em" (that one didnt work out)

But, it is figuring out how to take this interest and focus it into school. He goes to a science and technology magnet school. But, the experiments and what not doesnt interest him nearly as much as the thirteen lightbulbs on the ceiling and "But, what if one of them did x could you do y"

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 5:08PM
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