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empathy-reborn, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 11
Experience:  L3 in CCLD. Acted as a SENCo. Voluntary Exp with Young People of all ages
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My son is a Junior in High School, although hes pretty smart,

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My son is a Junior in High School, although he's pretty smart, he gets poor grades (C's and D's). Although everyone says Junior year is so hard and the pressure can be over whelming, he seems to have less homework than his younger siblings. He says he wants to go to college but his lack of motivation is killing his prospects. My feeling is that there is no choice, all my kids will go to college and in our town 99% (litterally) go to college. But not having a lot of money, I am afraid of spening a fortune on him just to flunk out. How can we motivate him to do better in High School, care about his grades and prove he will be able to handle college? Or should I take college of the table.

Dr. D. Brown :

Please let me take a moment to review your question.

Dr. D. Brown :

I can certainly understand that you might be concerned about your son and his situation. It is upsetting to see someone we love not fulfill their potential, especially one of our children. I don't know your son, but it does sound like he is not really motivated by grades, and there may be many reasons for this. Perhaps he is having a hard time emotionally in school- that is, the transitions that teenagers go through both in their bodies and mentally (peer pressure, etc.) can be overwhelming. Boys tend to mature later, as you probably already know, and perhaps he needs to mature a bit more before he takes on the responsibility and pressure of being in college. Is it possible that he could go to a local community college first? Sometimes kids get more motivated when they figure out what they are interested in (a major) and/or without the social pressure of high school. For some kids, getting out from under that pressure makes a huge difference. I don't think you can "make him care about his grades". That has to come from him. I would suggest sitting down with him and reviewing where he is at. Explain that these grades are going to keep him home going to community college and see how he responds. Perhaps that is what he would prefer and he is just acting this out. Further discussion should give you more information on what he really wants to do. Many kids "find their way" in a two year college, then move on to a four year with more maturity than they would have had otherwise. I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you have further questions. I always appreciate a positive rating if you feel that your question was answered. If not, email me back and I will gladly answer. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.


Community college makes sense, thank you. But what do I do in the meanwhile? Should I allow him to have terrible grades until he finally matures and figures it out. I feel like we have a poor relationship as our primary interactions are about things he is succeeding at: late for school, not doing any homework, not getting together with friends, etc. He basically does a little homework and sits on the computer for hours. Any follow-up thoughts before I close would be appreciated.


In response to an email I received asking me to rate the answer, I was just waiting for a response to my follow-up.

I think what you need to do is take him away from that situation so maybe do something as a family. Something that you will all enjoy. Or even find learning strategies based around what he is interested in. Hope this helps.
empathy-reborn, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 11
Experience: L3 in CCLD. Acted as a SENCo. Voluntary Exp with Young People of all ages
empathy-reborn and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Again,

It looks like another expert answered your question further. But what I would recommend is to instill consequences about his behavior. You decide what the boundaries are: Do you want him to show his homework when done? Can you say "no computer time", except for homework, during the week? What about his cell phone? Is that something that he really treasures?

It is best to find something, like the cell phone or computer, to take away right away if he does not comply with the house rules. So, you can sit down with him and your husband perhaps and write up a contract about respect, homework, chores, etc. Have both of you sign it. Then he is very clear on what is expected of him. If he does not follow these guidelines, he will have some consequence that means something to him. For example, he needs to finish his homework by 8 pm. if he does this, reward him with computer time or something he really enjoys, If he does not abide by the rule, then take away the same thing. He needs to feel the consequence (sting a little) and you may find his behavior starts to change. If not, privileges just keep getting stripped.

Hope that helps!! Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.
Another thing you could do is develop a routine of what goes on during the times when your child is at home such as scheduled homework times and times where you can help them with revision for exams. Also find time to engage on hobbies you may find they can relate some of the subjects they are studying to personal career goals. Maybe find out what he wants to do when he grows up and do some research with him into what qualifications are needed for this particular career and how he can gain them.

Hope this helps feel free to pm me if you need further assistance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dr. Brown, you bring up some good points, but also additional changes. Since my son was fairly young, we have had trouble finding his "currency" as Dr. Phil would say. It seems whatever we take away, he makes it a point to show no concern over. Now that he's older, its basically Xbox or his computer. He will go for days or a week completely ignoring the fact he doesn't have it. He rarely uses a cell phone, mostly just for us to pick him after after his sport and doesn't go out with friends often enough for it to be a punishment to ground him; on the contrary, we want him to go out more for his own sake. Now that xmas is coming, we keep exploring with him what hobbies he'd like to explore so we can buy him a gift other than electronics, but he has no ideas about this or his future. He is living for the moment. I'm sorry to be so difficult, and will try to use your ideas!! Thanks agian.

If he has no hobbies of his own then why not share some of your hobbies with him and are if he likes any of them.