Need advice

fruitlover59August 21, 2013

I am a mother of two kids, and my youngest, who was 15 doesn't like to study. All he likes to do all day is play computer games all day, like Super Mario for he really hates studying. He is currently failing math, and I am really concerned that he will not got into a good college. Please let me know what I should do. I'm really worried! He is a really smart kid - just needs some motivation.

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daisyinga

I would approach the situation with both a carrot and a stick. First, I'd talk to his math teacher and let her know that I was concerned about his math and taking steps to help him improve his grade. I'd let her know I need more feedback (once a week).

Next, I'd make him earn his computer game time by doing his homework every night. I would have asked the teacher for extra material for nights when there was no homework.

I'd get feedback from the teacher once a week that he was turning in his homework. If he's not turning in homework, no computer games for the next week.

If he is a smart kid, gets appropriate math homework every night and does it correctly, he should pass math.

Once the next test comes back, if he doesn't have at least a B, then I'd ask the teacher for supplemental work for every night. Also, I'd make sure he went over the test thoroughly to make sure he understood what he missed. Math is foundational, and he needs to understand what he did wrong because many sections build on the previous section. If you don't think he is doing this, you may need to sit down with the teacher and your son to make sure he covers this material.

If the teacher gave me feedback that he is not paying attention in class, talking, sleeping, etc., then if the problem is severe I would let my son know that either he pays attention in class or I come and sit with him during that class. And I would follow up and do it if needed. Don't make a threat you won't keep.

It sounds like part of the problem is general motivation. Does he have enough chores? Is he playing too many computer games? He may need extra curricular activities on his college application, so he may need to do some community service and extra curriculars. He definitely needs to do plenty of chores if he's sitting around playing computer games all day.

Also, if the grades are not good there would be no driver's license until the grades are better (again, only if you're willing to back that up).

Next, the carrot. Can you take him to visit some colleges? Would that motivate him? What can you think of that you could promise that would motivate him? A gym membership? A kayak or skateboard? Make sure to explain to him the connection that kids who go to college, get good grades in a major that is hiring have more money for the fun grownup toys. Make sure to point out that we adults don't get something for nothing - we have to earn our surf boards, snow skis, bikes, etc.

You might have a short-term and long-term reward. Short term, once a week if he's done well with his math and other grades, then go out for pizza or whatever would be fun.

Get him interested in something besides computer games if you can. Get him started on the skills he will need for college. He should be doing his own laundry, cooking some for the family, doing yard work, etc.

Last, but not least, I got this tip when my kids were much younger and it's been a great tip. Make the focus of your praise your son's hard work. If he washes the car, praise him for his effort and hard work. If he makes a good meal, praise him for his effort and hard work. Teach your son the pleasure of working hard for something worthwhile.

Good luck whatever you decide.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 12:48PM
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yvonnemommy

Since your boy likes to play computer games, why don't have a try with online learning? We've been using Math program on this site beestar. The questions are all very good and DD finds the questions interesting and challenging and enjoys solving them. Plus, Math is free for all grades.
Lisa

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 4:40AM
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jemdandy

If he is thrilled with computer games, he should be writing them. For that, he'll need skills, math being one.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2014 at 3:32AM
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