Originally Posted by globetrotter
good question, Alter.
here's how I handle when I want to improve my son's performance:
1. I explain to him what the basic idea is (your son might be just a little too young for this type of talk) but I basically say "look, if you want to have a good job, and be able to have the lifestyle that we have, you have to be able to compete with all of these other kids, and if you aren't the best at X (honestly, where I work to reinforce him isn't grades - grades in the US for 3rd grade are jokes, I work to reinforce other things) then you won't be able to have nice food or a nice place to live or take vacations.
2. I divide it into actions, not results (which is what I do with my reports, too) - so not so much "you need to get 8 'greats' " but "you need to spend an hour doing homework tonight"
3. I reward good results immediately - pretty much any good results get a small reward right then and there - it could be ice cream or a movie, or it could be a video game.
4. I punish by taking away screen time - no tv, no video games, no computer
This is nearly identical to the approach we take. And I should say that he actually loves going to school and he does all of his required homework without too much fuss at all. In the grand scheme of things he is doing great...just that I want him to keep that drive to do even better.
Originally Posted by Thomas
Man, this has been the case for us over the last few months - scoldings.
Anyway, here's my take on this as a former (and still part-time) child. I never got praised, I never got scolded, it all came easy, I was so damn indifferent. Finally someone pushed me - my guidance counselor - and I found something I really wanted to pursue and it flowed from there. Had the push came from my parents, it would surely have fallen on deaf ears. While it is your job to set standards and expectations...I'd consider having an ally at the school to prod and reinforce as well.
As a parent, our son gets largely A's with the occasional B, but that's mostly a matter of turning up and staying awake in class: our school system is a damn joke over here. That said, we do base his privileges upon his effort and not his results. His results are important, but we insist that he does a set amount of work each night to get him in the 'steady work' mode. Easier said than done, but we're still fighting that fight. FWIW, we have a broad definition of privileges, like long hair: after one bad episode, we sheared his hair down, which broadcast his shame to the whole school...but then again they already knew why.
I had similar parents that never really reacted positively or negatively to grades. I never had much drive to do well at school and just squeaked through high school. I only went to University because it was easier than working and the government was paying. And to meet girls.
I think that is something that I don't want to repeat with my boy. I want him to be ambitious. But, like you say, I do realize that the motivation for that is probably going to come from someone other than myself. That is perfectly fine, but I just want to make sure that he has as many opportunities as possible to find it.
We have never gotten to the point of shaving his head. But thanks for the pro-tip.