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I don't get it and maybe I never will

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My DS is 15 and has no interest in his grades. He currently is carrying 3 Bs and 1 C on a 10 pt grading scale in PS. He is very capable of having all Bs and As. He is just not motivated and I don't get it. I was always looking at the big picture ahead of me but he doesn't seem to understand that college starts now! 10th grade counts! We live in a very competitive state for state college admissions. Can someone share with me their experience since this is my oldest?

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My oldest isn't that old, but I've heard friends talk about:


sometimes a talk (or more) with Dad helps teen boys to step up to the plate more than the same pep talks from Mom.


sometimes they tie school performance to outside activities. Ie. If you don't keep a B average then you can't have the extra curriculars.


Some questions though - do you know what is taking his grade level down? Is he doing his homework? Is he handing stuff in? Is he studying for those tests? Even on non-homework nights are you requiring that he study anyway - esp. the C subject?

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In a way, I can sort of understand where he's coming from. He's being asked to work hard for no tangible reimbursement (imagine if an employer said you should work hard this year and he'll get around to paying you in three years). Maybe you could institute a rewards system of some kind? For each A he receives per semester, he could earn $100. And then if he gets all A's for a semester, he could get something extra nice (a new game system, laptop, iPod, or something to that effect). It's much more effective for him to be self-motivated than to have a parental figure begging, pleading, nagging or yelling at him to study.

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It could be several things.


Ds was in a co-op last year where the majority of students were obsessed with their grades and made a big deal out of studying. Ds yielded to that peer pressure and brought home straight A's whereas the year before it took a lot of effort on my part to get him to do his work, much less do it well! So, his peers could certainly be an influence.


I think some teens, especially extroverts with full social calendars, have a difficult time seeing past the following year, and college seems like it's too far away to be concerned about now. I've pointed out several kids to ds, commenting on who succeeded in college and who didn't, so he can learn from their successes and failures.


Another theory (I have lots of them, lol!) is that some of us make things too easy for our dc.

I worked hard gathering college info when I was a teen, because I knew if I didn't no one else would! Otoh, ds knows I'll make the phone calls for him, do the research on requirements, sign him up for tests, advise him on what classes to take, etc., so he's not necessarily thinking about the future all the time like I think he should.


Maybe he really truly doesn't care if he goes to college. When my nephew flunked out of his first year at college, my brother was shocked to find out nephew never wanted to be at college in the first place! In retrospect, he realized the clues were there all the time, db just wasn't looking for them.


You're just going to have some heart to heart talks with your ds to find out.

Edited by Sophia
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A little encouragement.


My brother was like this in high school. He just didn't see the point in jumping through all the hoops. My parents refused to pay for anything except CC until he proved himself, but once he got to college, he got all A's because he could handle a midterm and a final or a paper. He just never could either get motivated or get it together to hand in daily homework busywork in high school.


He then transferred to the state university and did very well and now makes quite a nice living for himself, his wife and his new baby.



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I am currently reading a book called "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax. The subtitle is "The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men." Seems that your son is not alone! I've only read the first couple of chapters but so far, it's good and really makes me think.

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