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8th grade son just isn't focussing in school

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I really need some advice….

 

I have a bright son…who just has no desire to excel in school at all. He is in 8th grade and he is having a VERY hard time focussing and getting on with the work at hand. He goes to an alternative school, that does things in an "out of the box" kind of way…there are only 45 kids for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade. He lets work pile up, putting it off to the last minute.

 

He is bright, he loves to have intellectual conversations, he is currently reading (on his own) Catcher In the Rye. He is a musician and plays guitar and bass all of the time. He wrestles 3 times a week  and watches the Vlog Brothers for hours at a time….(when he can).

 

My DH and I are stuck between Do WE PUSH HIM/OR DO WE LET HIM FIND HIS OWN WAY???? We are tired of nagging. We are really tired of being angry and worried about it. We are not so worried about this year in school, but what we are worried about is next year, when he goes to High School and a lot more is expected of him and he is in a lot bigger school….

 

There are people in our lives who are telling us he is not living up to his potential….? (Family) And I sometimes wish my parents pushed me harder to succeed…..

 

What I need is someone to say take a deep breath OR you should be worried…..

Any good news to report anyone?

 

Thank you!

post #2 of 10

Is this a new development?

 

If it makes you feel better, my 13-year-old 8th grader DS is all over the place this year. Puberty has just scattered him to the wind. He was in line to be valedictorian of his class but he blew it first semester due to missing assignments. He has asked us for help in the form of reminders so we are trying that this semester.along with some general help in regards to organization (which has historically been an issue but thought was under control the last 2 years.) This really is a tough age and your son isn't the only one going a little nuts. I know I get similar frustrations from DS's friend's parents. My eldest went through a similar patch at 13 too. We did nag her to death and it did nothing. In her case, her school was totally inappropriate and we moved her but I can't say what it is exactly for your son.

 

Advice? Well, there is only so much nagging one can do before it just hurts the relationship without any benefit to grades. It might be worth taking a month off. His grades may tank but it is 8th grade. This is when they figure stuff out.

post #3 of 10

I recommend ~~'Bright Minds, Poor Grades: Understanding and Motivating your Underachieving Child', by Michael Whitley.  You can get it through Amazon. My daughter was very much like your son at that age.  The book really helped me understand how to help her...

post #4 of 10

My DD1 (also in 8th) has needed tweaks here and there. We try to keep up with what she is doing, but remind her about missed stuff if we see it in the grade reports. Mostly, we're trying to get her to do her own stuff.

 

I saw the pushing method used on my brother (in college, no less), and it simply didn't work until he found his own reason to do well in school - for him it was a change of major, obviously not an option in 8th. But I really don't think nagging works.

 

What about arranging a tour of the high school or shadowing a student there for a day to give your DS a heads up about what is coming? That might be a motivating factor (hey, if I get good enough grades, I could be on the wrestling team/in band, etc. next year - that kind of thing).

 

PS I see my DD and her friends working out a lot of social stuff this year, and I think that takes up a chunk of their time and attention. Just an observation.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks…this helps. I do agree that the hormone gig is taking a HUGE toll this year on my DS's focus as well as social concerns…what a jumbled time in their life. It is hard when other family members comment on how he "should be doing better", he is so smart. It is only 8th grade…I really like the idea of taking a tour of the high school…we have that opportunity next month.

I do know that the nagging takes a toll on our relationship…yuck. I just hope we get over this hump soon.

Kathleen

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by litlwons View Post
 

Thanks…this helps. I do agree that the hormone gig is taking a HUGE toll this year on my DS's focus as well as social concerns…what a jumbled time in their life. It is hard when other family members comment on how he "should be doing better", he is so smart. It is only 8th grade…I really like the idea of taking a tour of the high school…we have that opportunity next month.

I do know that the nagging takes a toll on our relationship…yuck. I just hope we get over this hump soon.

Kathleen


Don't get me started about family members shake.gif My mom already mentioned my DD applying to Yale. Umm, she's in 8th grade. And it just happens to be the school that she wanted me to go to (I didn't)...

 

I'm sure you'll be over the hump soon! The social thing is just crazy. Can't wait for that to smooth out. Our DD goes to a big school, but is going to a much larger high school - that has its advantages.

post #7 of 10

How does your family know how he is doing? Do they have access to his grades and such? I tend to be selective about who I share info with in the family. I can vent to my parents about any frustrations we are having. My in-laws too but I usually don't. The rest of the family we choose not to discuss school stuff with for a variety of reasons. A couple members I don't so much as roll my eyes in regards to the kids because they are gossipy and to hungry for negativity. 

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
 

The rest of the family we choose not to discuss school stuff with for a variety of reasons.

+1

post #9 of 10

I explained to my son how his grades in 8th impacted his course choices in 9th (and the rest of HS), which impacted his options following HS (includng what colleges he might have a chance of going to), etc. And the let it go. He dropped the ball a bit in 10th, but did tell me in his Senior year that he wished he;d listened to me earlier...

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by JellyMomma View Post
 

I recommend ~~'Bright Minds, Poor Grades: Understanding and Motivating your Underachieving Child', by Michael Whitley.  You can get it through Amazon. My daughter was very much like your son at that age.  The book really helped me understand how to help her...

 

I also found that to be a fairly useful book.

 

However, we also found that we had to help our son structure his time & give him support. This sometime took the form of reminding & helping (e.g. father helping him w/ his Chinese writing as supplemental work; me giving suggestions & comments for English writing). Sometimes it was nagging. Sometimes it was total lack of sympathy when he brought in  poor grades when we saw he hadn't done much work. Now at 15 he is much more organized and together than he was at 13 - he is beginning to create and work his own plans.

 

I would suggest not leaving him to "find his own way" if he is floundering, showing lack of direction.  Help to create an environment where he can do well - just getting my son to keep his school work off the floor and study desk relatively clear is/was part of the battle.

 

Another thing is to talk to him about what goals and dreams he may have & then show him the qualifications he may need to get to pursue that dream.  If he likes games of strategy, see if you ca get him to view his school work or achieving his dreams as something he can try to plan out.

 

Good luck!

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