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Halcyon

When your child doesn't seem very....driven

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OP here, and that is not correct. He does not want our child killing himself. He just wants him to show more initiative, study harder and more diligently and be a bit more focused on doing well.

 

My dh values family time immensely and makes time for vacation, taking the kids out on the weekend to do fun things and he does not want a stressed out child. He wants a hardworking child. There's a difference.

 

 

I re-read the original post because I thought it did say that--that your dh wanted to go down the road of his NYC friends.  

 

I see that you have a parentheses explaining that while your dh referred to the NYC friends, he didn't want to go that far.  I totally didn't see that part.  I only saw the part where he was referring to how his NYC friends handle things and thought he did want to go that far.  

 

I am sorry for misreading.  

Edited by Garga
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And I think if my 14 year old were doing what your 14 year old is doing, I would absolutely say it's MORE than enough, and DH would too. Really. I don't insist on As but when DS14 slipped and was getting a C in one of his public school classes, NONE of us were happy, DS included.

 

 

 

Yes, I think I've been barking up the wrong tree. This thread has made me uneasy.  I have felt like my posts weren't hitting the mark and wasn't sure why. I've felt at odds with you and was wondering why.  I can see now that I was coming at the issue with an incorrect assumption and so the things I was saying weren't applicable to what's actually going on. 

 

I think I'll stop posting now!  :)  

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No one is saying that gentle reminders, studying WITH your child, gently modeling a love of learning and self-betterment, driving your kid or suggesting he sign up for things or even paying for tutors is a bad thing. You put up a straw man here.

 

What I, and I think many others here are saying, is that not every kid is destined for Yale or Columbia and some dreams have to die hard so that you can dream your child's dreams with him/her and help/guide/and yes occasionally push in THAT direction.

 

He sounds like a smart kid who is acheiving! He is taking Calc in 9th grade after all. To me, that is not a cause for concern or worry. :) (as I said before, assuming he has a life, interacts with humans, showers every day and does have some internal motivation overall. ) :)

I don't think the parents here are saying Yale/Columbia or else. I think the OP is using that as one possible illustration of results of a driven high school career. As has been pointed out, there is a middle way between aiming for lottery schools and just turning off the electronics in the hope that the kid lunges madly for the bookcase. What I am saying is that internal drive is nice to have. i think letting the kid be in the hope that the spark might descend might be a little negligent. Sometimes kids don't know what they don't know, and it's our job to guide the way a bit.

I mean there's so many awake hours a day. I don't tell my kid specifically how to fill them, but If the kid's interest is a staring contest with the dog, that is an okay use of time?

Edited by madteaparty
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Yes, you can encourage and support intrinsic motivation, through maximising a sense of autonomy, and encouraging the work needed to develop a sense  of competence. 

 

The trouble comes when you want them to be intrinsically motivated about something externally imposed. How do you give autonomy, at the same time as taking it away ? It's a bit of a quandry. 

 

 

You've reminded me of something. In his Alg 2 class last year with Wilson Hill, he was VERY self motivated and directed and I was very hands off. The teacher LOVED him, and told both him and me what a wonderful addition he was to the class. He did very well, pushed himself very hard, and loved every minute of it, really. 

 

What was different about this class? One--I wasn't the teacher. Two-he loved the genial competitiveness amongst the students, Three--he LOVED the kind, helpful , caring teacher. That last was the most important. In public, the teachers were sometimes outright unkind, and he was so sad. He didn't understand why they seemed to WANT him to do poorly (I know that wasn't the case, but that's how he felt). 

 

So having a caring, small, friendly class where the students are working hard and the teachers are pushing you, but the emphasis is on GETTING the material, not just getting a good grade--that seems to be key.

 

Huh. You totally just reminded me of how self motivated he was in that class. Thank you!

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But this 14 y/o is already taking calculus. So, not a slacker, but working a few years ahead of the cohort.. Should he have been pushed so he could be taking differential equations at age 14? For what purpose?

What I am saying is if a child spends four hours a day on three different languages because that child is self driven, we all seem to think that's OK, but if a parent tells his kid to put in that amount of time into those languages because that child's long term goals would benefit from it (say a kid wants to go into foreign policy), than we consider the work an "abuse" in some way because it isn't self driven. When a child reaches Calculus isn't a topic of discussion right now. We are debating if we should let kids do the minimum if they so chose as oppose to pushing them to do their best, whatever that best might be. If we should be more proactive in their schooling, or to put it otherwise "be on top" of them. Lots of kids on this board work very hard, and you see parents are always so careful to say that it's self driven as if I don't know, we are scared to be judged.

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I re-read the original post because I thought it did say that--that your dh wanted to go down the road of his NYC friends.  

 

I see that you have a parentheses explaining that while your dh referred to the NYC friends, he didn't want to go that far.  I totally didn't see that part.  I only saw the part where he was referring to how his NYC friends handle things and thought he did want to go that far.  

 

I am sorry for misreading.  

 

 

Well, you're right and not right. DH is of two minds. He is competitive and wants the best for his kids. When he talks to his NYC friends, he sees how they're pushing their kids, and their kids end up at Cornell and UPenn and such. And he thinks he wants that for his kids, especially since we've moved to a bit of a backwater town -- he doesn't want the kids to think we don't have high standards just because the people around us are not particularly academically oriented.

 

Then he actually hangs out with thos Cornell and Upenn kids and sees that they are rude, and unhappy, and self-centered, and he thinks about the importance of life balance and the desire for our kids to be happy, and he self-corrects.

 

But he can go back and forth, for sure. 

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The balance is hard, for sure. 

 

Even in terms of a child's long term interests - they're not the only interests you have to take into account. The child is still here, right now, and a 40 hour + work week isn't going to be in every child's short to mid term interests.

 

I always think it makes more sense to work with a child's goals, than against them, but I can see that would be tricky if the goal was ill defined, non existent, or just not a very sensible goal. I mean, they can't just sit twiddling their thumbs until a goal appears!

 

But it doesn't sound like Halycon's son is twiddling his thumbs.

 

 

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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Total aside, but I thought your son was doing pre-calc at WHA this semester, not calc. Do I remember wrong?

(Like I explained to my eldest earlier today when she was reading this thread over my shoulder, she's been growing up (among a handful of other Hive kids) with your son, Derek's son, and Rose's daughter for years.  :coolgleamA: )

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I don't think the parents here are saying Yale/Columbia or else. I think the OP is using that as one possible illustration of results of a driven high school career. As has been pointed out, there is a middle way between aiming for lottery schools and just turning off the electronics in the hope that the kid lunges madly for the bookcase. What I am saying is that internal drive is nice to have. i think letting the kid be in the hope that the spark might descend might be a little negligent. Sometimes kids don't know what they don't know, and it's our job to guide the way a bit.

I mean there's so many awake hours a day. I don't tell my kid specifically how to fill them, but If the kid's interest is a staring contest with the dog, that is an okay use of time?

 

This made me laugh.

 

Idk. I think we forget too that the teen brain is undergoing a lot! Literally reorganising itself. Maybe staring at the dog is all the PFC can handle sometimes :)

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What I am saying is if a child spends four hours a day on three different languages because that child is self driven, we all seem to think that's OK, but if a parent tells his kid to put in that amount of time into those languages because that child's long term goals would benefit from it (say a kid wants to go into foreign policy), than we consider the work an "abuse" in some way because it isn't self driven. When a child reaches Calculus isn't a topic of discussion right now. We are debating if we should let kids do the minimum if they so chose as oppose to pushing them to do their best, whatever that best might be. If we should be more proactive in their schooling, or to put it otherwise "be on top" of them. Lots of kids on this board work very hard, and you see parents are always so careful to say that it's self driven as if I don't know, we are scared to be judged.

 

 

This this this. You hit the nail on the head.

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You've reminded me of something. In his Alg 2 class last year with Wilson Hill, he was VERY self motivated and directed and I was very hands off. The teacher LOVED him, and told both him and me what a wonderful addition he was to the class. He did very well, pushed himself very hard, and loved every minute of it, really. 

 

What was different about this class? One--I wasn't the teacher. Two-he loved the genial competitiveness amongst the students, Three--he LOVED the kind, helpful , caring teacher. That last was the most important. In public, the teachers were sometimes outright unkind, and he was so sad. He didn't understand why they seemed to WANT him to do poorly (I know that wasn't the case, but that's how he felt). 

 

So having a caring, small, friendly class where the students are working hard and the teachers are pushing you, but the emphasis is on GETTING the material, not just getting a good grade--that seems to be key.

 

Huh. You totally just reminded me of how self motivated he was in that class. Thank you!

 

When the teacher thing is right, it seems to really be great for a lot of kids. 

 

It's good that you know what works to maximise his motivation! 

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Total aside, but I thought your son was doing pre-calc at WHA this semester, not calc. Do I remember wrong?

(Like I explained to my eldest earlier today when she was reading this thread over my shoulder, she's been growing up (among a handful of other Hive kids) with your son, Derek's son, and Rose's daughter for years.  :coolgleamA: )

 

 

He's doing pre-calc. Did i write Calc somewhere? My error.

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I thought the first post was a mistype, but then saw two more mentions.  :lol:  I thought I remembered both your son & Derek's being able to slip into WHA's pre-calc class at the semester break. Thanks for clarifying. I'm so glad he is once again enjoying himself in WHA math classes. And, I'm glad he's back at home. 

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To be fair--neither he nor i pushed to get to calculus early. he just worked consistently and he is where he is. he is not a math prodigy by any means, but does like math and seems to get it quickly.

 

i am talking more about internal drive, which seemingly cannot be cultivated externally, but...can it be encouraged?

 

Is it nature and nurture? I think that both apply 'to a degree.' He's obviously good at understanding math at an early age (nature). He's also demonstrated enough internal drive to get where he's at today. I think you and your husband are helping to cultivate internal drive by the life you live, examples set and encouragement to move ahead when capable. The question is really more around whether internal drive can then be increased through more external stimuli? One of the problems I see is that most successful people who enjoy their work do so because of a passion for what they do. The internal drive is a natural byproduct of their passion. If they are not passionate about the work and are simply driven to success by external factors (e.g. survival, parents, expectations, etc...), there isn't a deeper sense of satisfaction. This is also why you can have wealthy people who are miserable and those of modest means who live more fulfilled lives doing something they are passionate about. 

Edited by dereksurfs
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Are you sure that he really "can't think of a thing to say"? That he "can't articulate things"?

Do you observe a lack of this ability when he converses about a topic of his choice?

To me, this car scenario sounds very much like a teen who does not care to discuss the very topics mom has selected for a meaningful conversation. He many not be unable to contribute - he may simply don't care to discuss this particular issue with you.

 

Talking to my DS can be like pulling teeth; he is introverted and communicates in order to exchange particular information that he feels needs to be exchanged. He does not talk just to have a conversation or pass the time. But when he initiates a conversation, or when there is company he cares about, he can debate, argue, discuss with the finest of them. he can with his friends. He just chooses not to respond on cue to scripted conversations (or, horror of horrors, to "schooly" discussions in our homeschool. he does fine participating in his outsourced classes.)

 

So maybe your DS simply does not wish to discuss with you?

 

Ooh, this really speaks to me.  MIL will want to discuss scintillating topics like whether eggs are healthy or not, and why the doctors can't just make up their mind.  First they say eggs are good for you.  Then they say they are bad.  Who am I suppoesd to believe?  Talk, talk, talk, it was so irritating.  My parents never talked to me so much, so it was weird for me to try to  look interested for long intervals of time, let alone think of an appropriate response to something I just didn't care about.  I just wanted some quiet so I could read the newspaper.    

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Is it nature and nurture? I think that both apply 'to a degree.' He's obviously good at understanding math at an early age (nature). He's also demonstrated enough internal drive to get where he's at today. I think you and your husband are helping to cultivate internal drive by the life you live, examples set and encouragement to move ahead when capable. The question is really more around whether internal drive can then be increased through more external stimuli? One of the problems I see is that most successful people who enjoy their work do so because of a passion for what they do. The internal drive is a natural byproduct of their passion. If they are not passionate about the work and are simply driven to success by external factors (e.g. survival, parents, expectations, etc...), there isn't a deeper sense of satisfaction. This is also why you can have wealthy people who are miserable and those of modest means who live more fulfilled lives doing something they are passionate about. 

 

:iagree:

 

The bolded are quasi-needs; unlike true needs - competence, autonomy, relatedness - achieving them doesn't necessarily fulfil us.

 

Survival is important, of course!

Edited by StellaM
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I think one thing we are also not addressing is just the day to day rhythm of life.  I tell my son so study, and I ensure that I check up on him. When I see him ready to do nothing at 1pm on a school day, announcing, "Im done all my school." I will say hey did you study German extra today?  (because I know he needs more time on German.) I might ask if he studied other subjects...

 

There are days that maybe your son is burnt out, and you might not give that reminder.  You see that he worked till 2pm, and perhaps has a cold.  idk...there's the worry and then there's the every day balance, which really, is all we can do anyway.  

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OP here, and that is not correct. He does not want our child killing himself. He just wants him to show more initiative, study harder and more diligently and be a bit more focused on doing well.

 

My dh values family time immensely and makes time for vacation, taking the kids out on the weekend to do fun things and he does not want a stressed out child. He wants a hardworking child. There's a difference.

So. For a willing and capable kid I think it is fine to establish an expectation of diligent work.

 

What I was hearing in your OP was a sense that you and your dh thought there was something deficient in your son because he was not intrinsically motivated to work as hard as he could at school.

 

That's not really a deficiency, your own and especially your husband's levels of academic motivation as teenagers were I think well outside the normal distribution on the bell curve.

 

I don't think there is anything you could do that would guarantee that level of motivation in your son; modeling and inspiring might help, but of course you're already doing that.

 

I don't think it's wrong to help push a kid along a bit, substitute some of your own motivation while waiting for him to maybe develop more. That, within reason of course, can be part of a parent's role. It's how sports coaches function as well :)

Edited by maize
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On the pushing or not issue, another thought:

some kids are not pushable. Some kids are so independent and strong willed and only intrinsically motivated that any push creates a counter push, and that very quickly there will be a situation where the parent is either constantly punishing or bribing, with no real effect because the kid who is not extrinsically motivated does not respond to punishment or bribes either. There is a sweet spot somewhere up to which the kid will cooperate - and after which the kid will shut down and either blatantly refuse, or cut corners and lie, and most definitely, develop deep resentment.

 

Not saying the OP's DS is like this - but there are such kids. very stubborn ones.

 

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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On the pushing or not issue, another thought:

some kids are not pushable. Some kids are so independent and strong willed and only intrinsically motivated that any push creates a counter push, and that very quickly there will be a situation where the parent is either constantly punishing or bribing, with no real effect because the kid who is not extrinsically motivated does not respond to punishment or bribes either. There is a sweet spot somewhere up to which the kid will cooperate - and after which the kid will shut down and either blatantly refuse, or cut corners and lie, and most definitely, develop deep resentment.

 

Not saying the OP's DS is like this - but there are such kids. very stubborn ones.

Very true.

 

Which is one of the many reasons there can never be a single best parenting strategy that is effective for every kid.

Edited by maize
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Wow a big thank you to everyone's thoughts here.

 

My DS is a huge challenge - stubborn, unmotivated, a little lazy and at the same time, a competitive perfectionist.  Nothing seems to consistently motivate him, and as his parent/teacher I feel as if I am in over my head.  I have constant thoughts of putting him back in school - I dream of it being easier than our current battles.

 

I have found the more I stay out of the way but set defined expectations with clear consequences, the more he steps up to the table. However, I often fail at enforcing the consequences. (That is hard to write, but true.) It is so hard to watch them suffer - this is my challenge in being autonomous. 

 

In our house, there is a somewhat predictable pattern in the "How do you give autonomy, at the same time as taking it away?" question.  It requires him experiencing the pain of consequences (i.e.,. poor grade, lost privilege) for him to see that he alone is responsible for his autonomy.  However, it has to happen over and over again - it is not a one and done experience - for him or for any of us.

 

This learning process is slow and often very uncomfortable, but it is a process of growth for us all.

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Wow a big thank you to everyone's thoughts here.

 

My DS is a huge challenge - stubborn, unmotivated, a little lazy and at the same time, a competitive perfectionist.  Nothing seems to consistently motivate him, and as his parent/teacher I feel as if I am in over my head.  I have constant thoughts of putting him back in school - I dream of it being easier than our current battles.

 

I have found the more I stay out of the way but set defined expectations with clear consequences, the more he steps up to the table. However, I often fail at enforcing the consequences. (That is hard to write, but true.) It is so hard to watch them suffer - this is my challenge in being autonomous. 

 

In our house, there is a somewhat predictable pattern in the "How do you give autonomy, at the same time as taking it away?" question.  It requires him experiencing the pain of consequences (i.e.,. poor grade, lost privilege) for him to see that he alone is responsible for his autonomy.  However, it has to happen over and over again - it is not a one and done experience - for him or for any of us.

 

This learning process is slow and often very uncomfortable, but it is a process of growth for us all.

 

 

I hear you and empathize completely. My son is also a bit of a perfectionist but the thing that resonated the most about waht you said was the "over and over again" part--why cant he learn more quickly? Arg. And I have been known to give second chances on exams--if he gets a poor grade, he can restudy and retake the exam. I am thinking this year i will average the two scores and not simply take the better score--that might help. He is good with boundaries and consequences, but i often find myself wishing that he didn't need consequences in order to up his game.

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I think internal motivation is present in most people. It just looks so different in teen boys. School and good grades, for the most part, are external structures with their own set of rewards and punishments. Some people are fine to put their motivation in harness with the structure and some aren't. I have learned the most about how differing internal motivation is by seeing my swimming girls. My oldest (blessed with athletic gifts, size, smarts) works hard and it motivated by love of swimming. She sets her own goals (they frequently don't line up with coaches) that have nothing to do with winning. She will drive everyone crazy with her tiny goals, but she is satisfied. My second dd is small, has learning challenges, and works crazy hard. Her goals are big and she is vocal about them. She loves to swim, but she is swimming for particular reasons (winning, being better than everyone else). She faces much more disappointment but also has larger triumphs. She is "better" at practice because she is constantly pursing something big.

Both of my girls have internal motivation at the same thing, but it looks very different. My boys have internal motivation as well, but only about the things they want and the things they want are more hidden and not easily shared at 14.

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You've reminded me of something. In his Alg 2 class last year with Wilson Hill, he was VERY self motivated and directed and I was very hands off. The teacher LOVED him, and told both him and me what a wonderful addition he was to the class. He did very well, pushed himself very hard, and loved every minute of it, really. 

 

What was different about this class? One--I wasn't the teacher. Two-he loved the genial competitiveness amongst the students, Three--he LOVED the kind, helpful , caring teacher. That last was the most important. In public, the teachers were sometimes outright unkind, and he was so sad. He didn't understand why they seemed to WANT him to do poorly (I know that wasn't the case, but that's how he felt). 

 

So having a caring, small, friendly class where the students are working hard and the teachers are pushing you, but the emphasis is on GETTING the material, not just getting a good grade--that seems to be key.

 

Huh. You totally just reminded me of how self motivated he was in that class. Thank you!

 

I think you have hit on a very important aspect of the solution that really works for him along with the reasons why. Excellent course providers like WHA offer something very unique during these critical, formative adolescent years. Its not something to be taken lightly either. Having the opportunity to take courses from teachers who genuinely love their students, encourage them to thrive academically and are gifted at it is a very special thing. This can mark a child's life in a way that nothing else can providing a positive adult role model which stimulates their growth on many levels. It begins the process of them believing more in themselves and their own abilities as they establish their own identity in a world apart from their parents. This is the developmental stage we are all in as we move them from childhood to adulthood. They are developing super fast while soaking everything in including their interactions with teachers and peers. Even though we homeschool, we relish the opportunity to give them these interactions. Its goes much further than merely getting the grade. Rather, it works in concert with our efforts to bring out the very best in them. Gifted teachers can and do inspire far beyond the short time they spend with them.  ;)

Edited by dereksurfs
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On the pushing or not issue, another thought:

some kids are not pushable. Some kids are so independent and strong willed and only intrinsically motivated that any push creates a counter push, and that very quickly there will be a situation where the parent is either constantly punishing or bribing, with no real effect because the kid who is not extrinsically motivated does not respond to punishment or bribes either. There is a sweet spot somewhere up to which the kid will cooperate - and after which the kid will shut down and either blatantly refuse, or cut corners and lie, and most definitely, develop deep resentment.

 

Not saying the OP's DS is like this - but there are such kids. very stubborn ones.

 

I have this child.  Which is unsurprising, because I also was this child.  Most days I still am....

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What I am saying is if a child spends four hours a day on three different languages because that child is self driven, we all seem to think that's OK, but if a parent tells his kid to put in that amount of time into those languages because that child's long term goals would benefit from it (say a kid wants to go into foreign policy), than we consider the work an "abuse" in some way because it isn't self driven.  

 

Eh, abuse is not the word I would use, but I do think it's counterproductive to do stuff like require a teen to work four hours a day on three different languages because their "long term goal" is to be in foreign policy. 

 

That's overkill and over-controlling, imo. Above and beyond the fact that most teens don't really know what they want to do, their goals are their goals, to own and pursue, to meet or not, on their own. 

 

Their interests are their own as well, and repeatedly suggesting that they do more with an interest or hobby is a good way to ruin an activity, imo. Sure, you can occasionally suggest things if you happen to spot them and truly think they might be interested, but when a parent is trying to turn a fun activity into A Good Use of Time, it creates a disturbance in the force, and the kid loses all interest. I don't see why a kid can't be interested in travel or art or earthworms without also having to volunteer with a local nonprofit and blog about it, y'know? 

 

I guess much of it falls into that murky area called being reasonable. It's reasonable to require a good effort at math everyday, and if that leads you to pre calc in 9th grade, then so be it. Requiring a student to be in pre calc by 9th? Less reasonable. Likewise, requiring a good effort at foreign languages every day is reasonable. Requiring four hours of study in multiple languages? Much less reasonable. 

 

Make a teen aware of the requirements for certain careers? Very reasonable. Requiring that they add hours of study in specific areas because they said they wanted to be a diplomat or a chef or an artist? Much less reasonable. Why? Because it might be a daydream or a passing fancy or just a convenient answer to a constant question rather than a true goal, which is perfectly normal at such a young age. 

 

I'm a big fan of love, limit, and let them be as a parenting guide. Love, as in love them no matter what. That doesn't change with age. Limit, as in keep them safe and secure.  For a teen, certainly this might mean taking charge of facilitating a good education. Let them be is often the hardest one to follow. Letting them be means giving them the space and freedom to make their own decisions and mistakes and to really own their own life.

 

This is constantly shifting ground in the teen years as they grow and change, and it can help to ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Educationally, if the worst equals "this kid is not going to graduate," then I'm going to intervene a lot more than if the worst equals "this kid is not going to get into that competitive program." 

 

The rules for parents are three . . . love, limit, and let them be. ~Elaine Ward

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I'm a big fan of love, limit, and let them be as a parenting guide. Love, as in love them no matter what. That doesn't change with age. Limit, as in keep them safe and secure.  For a teen, certainly this might mean taking charge of facilitating a good education. Let them be is often the hardest one to follow. Letting them be means giving them the space and freedom to make their own decisions and mistakes and to really own their own life.

 

This is constantly shifting ground in the teen years as they grow and change, and it can help to ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Educationally, if the worst equals "this kid is not going to graduate," then I'm going to intervene a lot more than if the worst equals "this kid is not going to get into that competitive program." 

 

The rules for parents are three . . . love, limit, and let them be. ~Elaine Ward

 

:001_wub:

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Some teens are also so sweet, kind and somewhat malleable that you even have to be careful not to over-suggest (let alone over-require!) With my older son, I'll have to really know him and understand him to guide him carefully because he's a hard worker and takes things pretty seriously. But he doesn't really plan long term and he doesn't over think, over study or over stress....he takes life as it comes for the most part.... If I told him he should sign up for two AP classes in 10th grade, he would.  But then, it's not necessary and would lead to burnout.  So, I won't.   :)  By 11th and 12th he will have even more of a firm idea of who he is and where he is going.  He can then decide for himself about AP vs other choices.  Right now the plan is 5-6 AP's.

 

 But, that may need to change based on his own stress level, desires, needs, etc..  And If I then say say, "Hey these were YOUR goals, remember, so that YOU could get into the school YOU Wanted and then *I* am going to enforce and require those goals on you."  do you think that would go well?  Of course not.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Calming Tea
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We used to have a wonderful poster here(Ester Maria). I miss her posts. Her homeschooled kids were learning Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew, along with couple (or maybe several) modern languages. She was rigorous in her approach especially in liberal arts. That was her family culture, and her kids were doing just fine. Not all homeschools need to be child driven. Sometimes other models, where expectations are clear and reasonable for a given child, work as well.

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I don't think anyone is suggesting that it's a good idea not to have clear and reasonable expectations for a given child. I think the issue at hand is that it's sometimes difficult to tease out what is reasonable for a given child, which then makes it impossible for expectations to be clear.

 

Also, as regentrude said -- some kids are not pushable. Some freeze. They refuse to do any school work. at. all. Consequences be cursed. Some rebel. They start hanging out with the wrong crowd, get into trouble with the law, etc. Some turn to self-harm to cope with the feelings of lack of control. Some see death as the only way out. 

 

"Let them be" is deceptively complex. Context matters. For some, it means never doing anything that resembles requiring anything of the child. I doubt many people on this thread (or on this board) advocate that as a good approach to educating a child.  For many on this thread and on this board "let them be" most likely means expecting a great deal and providing a world of opportunities to the child, but acknowledging that ultimately the child must be the one to act. 

 

Yes, there are many posters whose children rise to parental expectations. There are also parents visiting children in mental health wards and parents sobbing at their children's graves. 

 

It reminds me of finding the edge in yoga...The idea is to stretch the child, taking care not to break the child. Any less is not enough. Any more is too much. Find the edge and let them be. 

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To be fair--neither he nor i pushed to get to calculus early. he just worked consistently and he is where he is. he is not a math prodigy by any means, but does like math and seems to get it quickly.

 

i am talking more about internal drive, which seemingly cannot be cultivated externally, but...can it be encouraged?

 

I think if it can be, it is probably indirect.  A good example, opportunity.  And passion - I think that is not something you can manufacture.  Something like pushing a kid who has been motivated at an instrument during a rough patch is one thing, but pushing the same way in a kid with no interest would be another, it isn't going to create a motivation.

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I have both kinds of kids - the ones who won't step up and work hard unless they are pushed, motivated, and the expectations are set high AND the kind that are like a piece of ribbon on silk or a polished surface - they just fold up/over when you push them.

 

I worked best when my teachers expected a lot from me. If I had a slacker teacher who let us get by with the bare minimum, I did the bare minimum. If I had a teacher who expected greatness, who gave us challenging work, and who praised when we met that level, I shot for the top. But not everyone reacts that way.

 

The challenge is to figure out what type of kid you have - knowing that these aren't the only two types - and act accordingly. It is a new process of discovery for each of my kids - and sometimes, it depends on the subject or activity. Sometimes, it is true no matter what they are doing.

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Gently, I think you (and dh) need to back off. This kind of discussion with a 14 yo boy can quickly turn into a constant subtext of "my parents don't like me, respect me, trust me." That is very damaging in the long run. He may never be as motivated or passionate about things as you are (most people aren't). I am the more driven person in my house and it was very, very hard to not project my drive onto the kids, especially the boys. 14 yo boys will grow and change so much it is hardly believable. The difference between 14 and 16, 16 and 18, 18 and 20 is well and truly amazing. 

He may never been as driven and passionate about learning as you are. That's okay. If he is doing the minimum well, that's okay too, especially at 14. He will do more every year and he may find his "thing" in his teens, or he may not. That's okay, too.

 

Frankly, helicopter parenting a la NYC is not something to be admired or attempted, imho.

 

Or he maybe not passionate about the same subjects.  Sounds like he's more of a science and mathematics type person than lit. 

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I think mine must be too. During my son's brief stint in public high school last semester, I was truly appalled at the low standards. Now, that may be because my standards are stupidly high, like yours, or the school actually sucked LOL. I have no idea, to be honest. But nonetheless, I will continue to expect a lot from my son. But I will try and recognize that I may be coming from a different place than him.

 

He might be going through deschooling mode

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You've reminded me of something. In his Alg 2 class last year with Wilson Hill, he was VERY self motivated and directed and I was very hands off. The teacher LOVED him, and told both him and me what a wonderful addition he was to the class. He did very well, pushed himself very hard, and loved every minute of it, really. 

 

What was different about this class? One--I wasn't the teacher. Two-he loved the genial competitiveness amongst the students, Three--he LOVED the kind, helpful , caring teacher. That last was the most important. In public, the teachers were sometimes outright unkind, and he was so sad. He didn't understand why they seemed to WANT him to do poorly (I know that wasn't the case, but that's how he felt). 

 

So having a caring, small, friendly class where the students are working hard and the teachers are pushing you, but the emphasis is on GETTING the material, not just getting a good grade--that seems to be key.

 

Huh. You totally just reminded me of how self motivated he was in that class. Thank you!

 

It sounds like another factor was interest.  I noticed this in 11th grade.  I decided to take French in high school.  I had been interested in it since middle school.  I was forced into Spanish after a massive schedule change.  I think part of me being immature and having to take something I didn't chose led me to do okay, but not great.  But at 15/16 I was different.  I had the choice.  I was more mature.  Plus I had the experience of knowing that not every language is modeled like English.  I almost became fluent.  Unlike many other students I studied outside of class.  My fellow classmates claimed the teacher wasn't good.  She was great.  They just never bothered to study beyond what she taught.  

 

I hadn't realized that I did this with classes where I was interested in the subject.

 

Oops looked at the date and realized it's an old post.

Edited by happybeachbum

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I do think he will be a content and happy person--and he's a good listener and cares a lot about others. He also doesn't complain usually, and does what's expected.

 

Your ds really does sound like a happy, well-balanced, lucky/blessed person!

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Well, here are few traits of kids who want to learn but we do not understand it:

 

They talk about the skill and read about it a lot.

They are energetic and excited about it.

They are making changes in their schedules to spend time on their passion.

They challenge themselves to get better at that skill.

 

If they have one of it, it is a sign. Gift them few things that would build their motivation.

 

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Edited by emzhengjiu
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