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Bad attitude, will not apply herself, and hates school


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#51 Storygirl

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:23 PM

OP, I hope you are still reading.

 

I have children with learning disabilities. DS12 is not one of them. But when we were homeschooling, he was very difficult to teach, for some of the same reasons you mention in your original post. We finally decided to enroll in school, to see if things would change for him. He likes school, but he continued to have some of the same problems there, so we sought out some evaluations.

 

It turns out that he has anxiety. Also lower working memory and some problems with attention, though not enough to have ADHD as a diagnosis.

 

The anxiety really pulls things to a stop for him, mentally. He shuts down and in the moment just can't do things that I know he is capable of.

 

Because you mention that she has some anxiety, you may want to explore whether that could be affecting her schoolwork. And yes, knowing that she has more work than her sister can add anxiety, even though it isn't logical (anxiety isn't logical).

 

I hope you were able to get some helpful advice.

 

 

 

(And, for what it's worth, I agree with a previous poster who suggested it may make sense to look into ADHD, which can also present as you describe. Your pediatrician may be able to evaluate or steer you toward someone else how can. It's a good place to start, because the screenings are not time consuming and don't require a full battery of psychological testing).


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#52 fralala

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 05:44 AM

I feel for OP. It takes a lot of courage to post a question about your own situation. That's why I generally Google for posts on this site that match what I need-- you have to be brave to put yourself, and your child, out there, and it can feel deeply personal even though of course the responses are to a general situation, not to you.

 

In any case, I read through this whole thread because I also have felt this way with my child, and it seems the reason we have so many responses is not because those of us have felt this way are alone and uniquely flawed, but because there are many who have gone through this and are on the other side now and able to offer some thoughts and perspective. Thanks to you all. There is a lot to mull over here.


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#53 Alexigail

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:36 AM

Oh man, I really empathize with what you're going through. My 10 year old son is exactly like this and it has been so difficult. He balks at doing any work and cries, complains, acts out etc. For us, it led to a diagnosis - ADHD and anxiety. He is so smart that it took a long time to piece together why he is struggling. I totally get why you don't want to do less - it feels like rewarding bad behavior. I did realize that because his brother is on the autism spectrum, I may have inadvertently expected a lot from him - to be independent too soon so that I could attend to his brother's needs. We've had a huge shift in our house and I am trying to balance my focus as fairly as possible. He misses out on a lot of my attention because his brother has high needs, so I try to offer him a lot of support, especially when the behaviors come out. This takes SO much patience and we've had some tough moments, so I'm right there with you. Here are some things that have helped:

 

-I started planning the school year by asking him what he wants to learn about. I had him make a list. He got to pick several things (nature study, computer science, physics, Latin) and I got to pick a few (literature, some history, and math). We probably won't be getting to all of these things, but since most of his interests are science based, I'm going to do unit studies of the things he's said he's interested in.

 

-We made him his own space with a desk, chair, and one of these shelves from WalMart. His work is all in one place and organized - he has his own pencil case with all his supplies and his brother is not allowed to use them. I look over his work at the end of the day and make sure that he has the books/papers he needs to do his assignments.

 

-I type to do lists for him that he can check off. This takes a lot of time, but helps so much. He can see when he will be done and wants to do it so that he can get his screen time. It also helps him see that there isn't too much on any given day. Here is an example from last year.

 

-We started using Teaching Textbooks, which appeals to him because he can use the computer and he is also getting feedback from the program itself rather than from me.

 

-We got nature study portfolios. - They're open ended enough that I can tailor his lessons to how he is doing that week

 

-I started using a timer for a lot of things

 

- I made "life skills" a part of his school so that 2-3 days a week he has to work with me on contributing to the household- cooking, laundry, repairs- the trick is that I have to do it with him

 

- He takes fish oil every day

 

-He spends 20 minutes on the treadmill and 15-30 minutes doing chores in the morning. This helps with focus a LOT

 

-Screen time depends on completing school work. Allowance depends on completing chores.

 

-This sounds a little weird, but I got him a Bop-it and a Simon says game. He loves them and they really seem to help with his concentration

 

-I play calming music throughout the day

 

- I don't know if you're religious or not, but we have been praying more together

 

-I got a workbook on Executive Functioning for Teens. He and I are going to work through it together. So far, it looks appropriate for younger children. EF issues are very hard to detect, but they often include things like messy handwriting, disorganized thinking, etc. These can really affect self esteem, and for my son it was a horrible spiral of feeling like a failure and then acting like a failure if that makes sense. I have learned to be really confident in his abilities and to expect from him what I know he can do, but always be there to help too 

 

Anyway, I hope some of that helps a bit. Obviously, this took a lot to trial and error. We still have good days and bad days, but I am a lot less stressed and I think he is too.


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#54 shawthorne44

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:42 AM

Who wouldn't want to play instead of school?     Make the alternative worse.  In fact much worse if there is attitude.   Need any ditches dug?    Tell her it is vocational training because digging is one of the few jobs people with an attitude and an elementary school education are able to get and keep.   


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#55 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:48 AM

Who wouldn't want to play instead of school? Make the alternative worse. In fact much worse if there is attitude. Need any ditches dug? Tell her it is vocational training because digging is one of the few jobs people with an attitude and an elementary school education are able to get and keep.


I'm sorry but suggesting this for a CHILD who is experiencing ANXIETY is so mean and will not get the desired results.
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#56 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:48 AM

Dp

Edited by Jean in Newcastle, 05 September 2017 - 09:49 AM.


#57 Tanaqui

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:51 AM

I'm sorry but suggesting this for a CHILD who is experiencing ANXIETY is so mean and will not get the desired results.

 

And in this case, we're not guessing anxiety - the OP told us herself that the kid suffers from it.


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#58 MinivanMom

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 12:58 PM

Okay, I have one who just had a bad attitude at that age. Actually, the bad attitude stretched from about ages 6-10. And I have a lot of kids, so I've done "the kid breaking down because mom pushes too hard" and "the kid with learning challenges" and "the kid with anxiety" and "the kid with attention problems" and even "the kid falling apart emotionally and acting out after a sibling's intense medical issues/hospital stay".

 

This kid was not any of those kids. He was just a regular kid with a bad attitude who preferred playing to schoolwork. But it came out in big, dramatic frustrated tears, and if I had posted on here at the times we were struggling, everyone would have jumped all over me that his schoolwork was too hard or too long . . .  or that we needed to take a break for a while or dial it back to the 3 R's . . . or that maybe there were undiagnosed learning disabilities or anxiety or something. And everyone would have been wrong, because he just had a bad attitude. Because sometimes little boys would rather play than sit at the table and do schoolwork with Mommy.

 

However, I'm very glad that I took the time to consider other possibilities. I got his eyes checked. I had testing done - which didn't uncover any major issues - but did let me know that he had a low-working memory relative to his IQ and that he had a strong skew between verbal and nonverbal. I was able to make some curriculum changes that were a better fit for him as a result. And I started observing him very carefully in other settings (church, scouts, sports) to see how he interacted in groups and for other adults. And really, he was just a nice, healthy, generally well-behaved kid who felt he ought to be able to play all day and shouldn't ever have to do schoolwork. 

 

So, having eliminated other possibilities, we worked on his attitude. When he was calm I told him that it was against the law to play all day. He must do schoolwork and learn, so he could learn at home with me or he could learn at school, but he couldn't just play all day. Rinse and repeat. On days when he got through his work quickly, I praised him and was sure to point out how much more playtime he got than kids in school. When he cried and complained, I calmly sent him to the dining room to work alone (so he wouldn't have an audience). He was always welcome to join us again when he felt he was calm enough to do so. He was much better by 10 and was a completely different kid by 12. And, really, he is a fantastic kid, and everyone just loves him.

 

So, for the op, it's possible that your daughter just has an attitude problem. You know your daughter best. But there are other possibilities here too. Especially considering the stress of having a sibling with major medical issues and the anxiety. There's no harm in exploring those possibilities while gently working on her attitude and behavior. 


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#59 Corraleno

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:50 PM

This kid was not any of those kids. He was just a regular kid with a bad attitude who preferred playing to schoolwork. But it came out in big, dramatic frustrated tears, and if I had posted on here at the times we were struggling, everyone would have jumped all over me that his schoolwork was too hard or too long . . .  or that we needed to take a break for a while or dial it back to the 3 R's . . . or that maybe there were undiagnosed learning disabilities or anxiety or something. And everyone would have been wrong, because he just had a bad attitude. 

 

However, I'm very glad that I took the time to consider other possibilities. I got his eyes checked. I had testing done - which didn't uncover any major issues - but did let me know that he had a low-working memory relative to his IQ and that he had a strong skew between verbal and nonverbal. I was able to make some curriculum changes that were a better fit for him as a result. And I started observing him very carefully in other settings (church, scouts, sports) to see how he interacted in groups and for other adults. And really, he was just a nice, healthy, generally well-behaved kid who felt he ought to be able to play all day and shouldn't ever have to do schoolwork. 

 

The two bolded statements contradict each other — low working memory is a learning disability, usually found in conjunction with slow verbal processing speed and a skew towards visual/spatial versus verbal/sequential processing. This makes tasks like memorizing math facts, keeping track of multiple steps in math problems, and memorizing facts out of context, like spelling lists or vocabulary words, especially difficult for kids — and these are all tasks that ramp up right around 4th grade through middle school, at the same time hormones are increasing, kids are having growth spurts, etc. 

 

So your son did not "just have a bad attitude," he had underlying learning issues that you addressed by switching to curriculum that was a better fit for him, and then worked on attitude. That is what pretty much everyone here is suggesting that the OP do, rather than continuing to assume that a child, who at the very least suffers from anxiety, is just being lazy, sloppy, and stubborn. 


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#60 MinivanMom

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 07:09 AM

The two bolded statements contradict each other — low working memory is a learning disability, usually found in conjunction with slow verbal processing speed and a skew towards visual/spatial versus verbal/sequential processing. This makes tasks like memorizing math facts, keeping track of multiple steps in math problems, and memorizing facts out of context, like spelling lists or vocabulary words, especially difficult for kids — and these are all tasks that ramp up right around 4th grade through middle school, at the same time hormones are increasing, kids are having growth spurts, etc. 

 

So your son did not "just have a bad attitude," he had underlying learning issues that you addressed by switching to curriculum that was a better fit for him, and then worked on attitude. That is what pretty much everyone here is suggesting that the OP do, rather than continuing to assume that a child, who at the very least suffers from anxiety, is just being lazy, sloppy, and stubborn. 

 

Actually, it was a very, very minor gap. Very small. Not diagnosable or anything like that. He had an average working memory and a higher IQ. No other problems typically seen with learning disabilities (no slow processing speed & his skew was higher verbal versus average spacial).

 

I just point it out to show that there was relevant information in there that helped me to better adjust my teaching. I think those small adjustments helped me to teach him better, but they did not change his attitude in any way. We had to also work on his attitude.



#61 kristin0713

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 03:45 PM

I just wanted throw another possibility out there. I could have written your post last year about my DD when she started 5th grade. She started the school year with such a bad attitude, increasing arguments with me, worsening handwriting, unwilling to do work that I knew she was capable of. We really thought it was the start of adolescent mood swings and normal prepubescent behavior and that she was testing us. Throughout the fall, her anxiety worsened and then she started exhibiting random OCD behaviors. Finally in February, she got influenza and following that she completely shut down, stopped eating, went into a total state of OCD, anxiety, and very bizarre behavior, and started having urninary accidents. At this point we of course realized she was ill and the short version is that she had been suffering from PANS since the summer before when it was triggered by coxsackievirus. It didn't become full blown until influenza completely put her over the edge. I only knew to look into this because I had a friend who's child had PANDAS which is the same thing (auto-immune triggered brain inflammation) but PANDAS is caused by strep while PANS is viral triggered.

I bring this up because it is possible that we would have missed it entirely if she had not contracted the flu. Her symptoms were not THAT extreme until February, but they did follow a pattern of gradually worsening that I can see now when I look back. Now your daughter very well may just have an attitude problem, she may be testing you, she may just not want to do any work. My 9yo complains about school frequently. He cries over writing too much or reading boring things or reading what he things is too much. But it is different than what we saw last year with my DD. His meltdowns aren't completely irrational the way my DD's were last year and I find that I can motivate him by using things like a prize box and fun activities as a reward. Maybe changing some curriculum would help or setting more boundaries or giving more incentives. Best of luck and I hope you find something that works.
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#62 dori123

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 10:32 AM

Question for all of you who have gone down the eval path: is there any DIY tests that you can administer at home to get a preliminary idea of whether a full $1500 eval is a good idea? We have done the Iowa Cogat but it is not very informative. TIA

#63 Moomay

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 01:36 PM

Hello!

I am experiencing the exact same difficulty with my 9 year old and math. Here are a few things that are helping us tremendously:

1. Handwriting- My girl is left handed so this has always been a hurdle for her. When writing math equations, her writing starts strong and then slips, shrinks, and becomes unreadable. I did some research on how to help her and the biggest suggestion was to introduce her to calligraphy or cursive. Calligraphy is REALLY FUN. I stopped judging her handwriting or commenting on it. She feels bad enough about herself and doesn't need me riding her to improve. Instead, I explained to her that her writing is like a fingerprint, In that it is special and no one else has her writing. Then I told her that's its her own form of art. This kid loves art and there has been a massive shift in her writing by simply helping her change her mentality about it, introducing her to "fancy" writing, and making it an expression of who she is.

2. Math- My daughters attitude is much like your daughter. She says she "hates math", she starts hysterically crying half way through her work, and she asks to take a break every 2 minutes.

I realized that she may be dyslexic which we are looking into. I no longer leave her side during math. I used to give her the lesson and leave her to it while I taught my other kids their lessons. Me simply being there, saying encouraging things has been a game changer.

I stopped correcting her and started asking questions instead, I changed my tone and forced myself to eliminate any sort of frustration from my voice. Kids pick up on that. I'm not saying that you are doing anything wrong. This is just something I realized about my own self. I was rightfully frustrated but showing my feelings about it was breaking her down more. Kids look for attention, positive or negative, so I made a shift in myself.

Once I see that my daughter has comprehension, we simply stop. That's it. Lessson over, move on tomorrow. There is no reason to put her or yourself through that stress. This was what our teacher suggested we do. (We do Charter 2 days a week along with homeschool). Her teacher also suggested a tutor, which I'm also going to try. Teacher basically explained that there are certain things kids don't want to learn from their parents. Math and playing an instrument are the most commonly frustrating subject between parent and child. It's okay to get help and you're not alone here.

The entire reason we are homeschooling is so that we can teach in a way that our children can truly learn and grow. Most of us realized at some point that public school was not the right fit. We don't want "assembly line" children, right? Therefore, we have to break our own mentality that our children must be producing something tangible in order to show that they are learning.

I truly hope and pray that things get easier for you and that you find balance. I know it's hard to reach out and ask for help and I'm very thankful to find this group.