Sunday, 12 December 2010
My son just handed me his report card last night. I looked it over briefly. Then I had to make a decision: to say what was on my mind or to alter the content therein and extrapolate only the positive words.
His grades are not bad. In fact, I'm sure some mothers could only wish their child got grades like his. On the other hand, I've also heard of children who would be grounded for weeks and subject to tutoring for the next seventy or so years.
So, which avenue to choose? When you know that your child is doing the bare minimum to get decent grades, it seems to me that something should be said. When you know he's not living up to his potential, what constitutes constructive criticism and where is the line that, when crossed, decreases motivation?
Motivation and organization are definitely not his strong points. As parents, we have employed every method we know how to help with these issues, but to no sustained avail.
Many parents say that their child is brilliant, so I hesitate to go that route, but this child of mine is different than most kids I've met in my lifetime. He's a walking encyclopedia with a fact to contribute to almost any conversation. But he only contributes a conversation when he feels personally compelled to do so.
He's motivated primarily by his own personal interests. That to say, if he's not interested, he's not motivated. If he's "forced", there is backlash.
Contrast this with my daughters, one older and one younger than him, who are extremely self-motivated, even in classes that they hate. They are also more socially aware and comply with generally accepted social rules. I know the golden rule that you aren't supposed to compare your children, but here there really is no comparison.
I understand how to motivate the girls because I understand their personalities, as different as they are from each other and from me. But I don't understand how to approach my son on the subject of his apparent lack of motivation.
The problem comes when, what should be an easy "A" in an easy class, is a low B or C because the teacher is boring or the subject matter is not to my son's liking.
Actually, getting him to go to bed on time and wake up on time are equally as difficult. He just doesn't see the value in it and so he passively refuses to comply.
I also understand that boys go through a bit of a "funk" at a certain age. I don't want to make a bigger deal of it than I should if it's just a phase, but how do you gauge what is a phase and what is an innate problem? How do you know what to ignore and what to act on?
I could really use some advice on how to deal with this. What has worked for you in motivating and un-motivatable child? When do I say something and when do I keep my mouth shut?
WHERE IS THE INSTRUCTION BOOK WHEN I NEED IT!?