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Laws of motivation for kids???


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I'm looking for how to figure out what motivates your child and then channel that energy as far as school. This is not for my kids, but another's son. Suffice it to say he hates school (he is in p.s.) and is refusing to do any work in any kind of efficient manner.  He basically is being forced to do it at this point.  Every privilege has been taken away. It is a will issue. He doesn't want to.  He is very intelligent so ability is not the issue.  So other than "the beatings will continue until morale improves" (this is a joke!)  they are at a loss. Anyone? How do you get a kid at this point of giving up to care?  I want to say I have heard someone speak about this but I can't remember who or when. Just trying to see if there is a resource (other than counseling, which they are pursuing).

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Can they homeschool him?

 

Can they? Yes. They could afford to, but mom doesn't want to because 1) she wants to work (she is a p.s. teacher) and 2) because the issues she has had trying to get him to do homework over the years have convinced her she could "never teach him"  

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I agree, he might be suffering from depression.  Also, I agree if he has exhibited a bad attitude towards school for an extended period of time have they ever considered the possibility that he has some undiagnosed learning challenges?  My nephew was labeled a troublemaker in elementary because he refused to do a lot of the work but was very bright.  Turns out he has a high IQ, is severely dyslexic, has low word retrieval abilities, among other issues.  When he started struggling teachers and his parents alike tended to assume he just had a bad attitude.  By the time they actually did diagnose him (5th grade) he absolutely had developed a bad attitude.  Being told over and over the work is easy, just get it done, what is your problem, etc. can be very demoralizing when you are trying your hardest and you can't keep up.

 

Boys tend to be labeled as a problem kid or having a bad attitude more quickly than girls when they start struggling in school.  I would gently suggest the family consider evaluations for learning issues AND depression/anxiety.

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OneStep, your story about your nephew makes me sad. Just yesterday a woman who teaches an after school violin program was complaining about a boy in her class who won't sit still and focus and is disrupting the class. When I suggested there might be something like ADHD behind his behavior she insisted that he was a smart kid who was just choosing to misbehave. I don't know the kid and can't judge, but I am extremely uncomfortable with the assumption that a child who is getting in trouble for behavior is just choosing to do so. Almost all kids would rather succeed than fail, at school or at home. An attitude of not caring can sometimes be a defense mechanism from years of struggling and being labeled a trouble maker.

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i know for certain that anxiety has been an issue in the past and still is--for example, looking at a large page of math problems and becoming so anxious about getting it done he doesn't start. He was on medication for anxiety for awhile, and if I recall correctly there were some negative side effects (a tick??) that caused them to pull him off (that and the mom didn't think it helped that much).  

 

Also dad mentioned that he thinks perfectionism is an issue--almost like he won't do it if he thinks he can't do it perfectly.  This child has been tested to have a high IQ and has been in gifted classes since 1st grade. His current class is a gifted class. 

 

Also they have on and off had him on ADHD medications. Currently he is not. Generally the parents think they have not helped overall but it is hard saying.  

 

School this year has been a big jump from last for some reason.  He does have an IEP and the teachers are supposed to check to make sure he gets his assignments written down, etc. but there are still problems with him coming home and not knowing what he is supposed to do with the assignment and/or doing the assignment and not turning it in (and making excuses as to why).  There seem to be attention issues for him but also will issues (not finishing work he is asked to finish). 

 

Not sure how to evaluate depression in a 12 year old but it's a possibility. I really hope they stick with their plan to see the counselor.  Honestly, there is a lot of stress in this home. I cannot get into it, but I am sure that does not help. 

 

 

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6th grade, 12

 

A lot of people probably won't agree with me, but there's a lot of development going on at 11-13.

 

While we do try to motivate our kids and give consequences, I'm not going to give up hope if the kid doesn't respond. Their brain is growing and changing so much.

 

Is this something that he's never wanted to do?

 

What is their proof that he's bright? Does he do well on tests or does he just appear quick but has never done well in school?

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A lot of people probably won't agree with me, but there's a lot of development going on at 11-13.

 

While we do try to motivate our kids and give consequences, I'm not going to give up hope if the kid doesn't respond. Their brain is growing and changing so much.

 

Is this something that he's never wanted to do?

 

What is their proof that he's bright? Does he do well on tests or does he just appear quick but has never done well in school

 

 

Generally he has gotten good grades up to this point with much supervision and intervention from parents and teachers to keep him on task.  This is the first year where it is almost like he just doesn't care whatsoever. 

 

You are right--a lot of brain development going on at this age. 

 

He has been IQ tested as gifted and in a gifted class up until (and including) this year. 

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Generally he has gotten good grades up to this point with much supervision and intervention from parents and teachers to keep him on task. This is the first year where it is almost like he just doesn't care whatsoever.

 

You are right--a lot of brain development going on at this age.

 

He has been IQ tested as gifted and in a gifted class up until (and including) this year.

I used to teach middle school and this is very typical. I don't know how many parents accused me of losing their kid's homework because "Johnny always did well in school and now he's flunking your class! Must be your fault, teacher!" And no, it's Johnny's fault. Puberty really messes some kids up. Kids go from being excellent students to not turning any homework in, they do all sorts of weird things. It's a difficult age. And trauma or changes in home life also seems to impact middle school kids worse than a lot of other ages.
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