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The parenting thread - Page 2

post #16 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post
Then why is your kid still there?

school isn't about learning facts, it is about preparing for life. you learn to deal with not very bright authority figures, you learn to deal with a group of randomly selected teammates of various abilities. you have to do projects assigned to you by the authority figures and cooperate with your team mates in doing so. you might, if you are lucky, have to negotiate with a bully on the way.
post #17 of 162
I tried to get my parents onto the rewards for good grades system; they never bought into it and just told me that I was expected to get good grades so why should I be rewarded for them. They mainly cared about the semester grades since those went on the transcripts, so as long as everything was a B or higher, they had no problem. On progress reports, if the grade was a C, they showed concern and pushed me harder to get it back up. Otherwise, I never had a problem with grades, but I was a bit jealous of my friends who were rewarded for getting C's and B's.
post #18 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter View Post
A thread for parenting questions (inspired by Globetrotter's question about the birthday party.)

I would love some advice here:
So, my 8-year-old boy comes home with his report card. His school sets grades as "Not good", "Good" or "Great" and there are around 20 categories being graded. He got 5 "Greats" and the rest as "Good".

He comes home and the first thing he says is "look at my report card, I got 5 "Greats" so you should buy me a Ninendo Wii!" I exploded at him and told him that being mediocre is no reason for a present and he was going to have to try a lot harder then that. Then he fought back, in tears, saying that it is a good result because he is stupid and that is why he can't do any better. He admitted that some of his friends got better but some did worse and he thought it was as good as he can do because he had the same result last term. The idea of the Wii came because his friend was told he would get a Wii if he got 10 "greats" and he did.

In truth he is a very bright kid but has attention problems and most of his negatives are attributable to him just not concentrating or making an effort.

How to proceed to inspire him to do better? I don't really want to attach rewards or punishments to his report card but it seems that is what other parents do.

Any thoughts?


So you "explode" at an 8 year old? WTF?
post #19 of 162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soxpats View Post
So you "explode" at an 8 year old? WTF?

Oh. "exploded" is too strong of a word..actually, I don't think I even raised my voice. More of a "you're kidding, right?" kind of tone.

But...are you a parent? I am surprised if any parents of an 8-year-old could imagine life without an explosion every now and then. I certainly have exploded at my child and I am sure I will do it again if the situation warrants it. I am not talking about abusing the child, physically or emotionally; just a well-timed scolding.
post #20 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter View Post
Oh. "exploded" is too strong of a word..actually, I don't think I even raised my voice. More of a "you're kidding, right?" kind of tone.

But...are you a parent? I am surprised if any parents of an 8-year-old could imagine life without an explosion every now and then. I certainly have exploded at my child and I am sure I will do it again if the situation warrants it. I am not talking about abusing the child, physically or emotionally; just a well-timed scolding.

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.
post #21 of 162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Boogers View Post
Here is my $0.02 from the other side of the table (being the formerly hyper kid....or maybe the hyper former kid )

The question of whether praise is due is not in the number of greats but in the progress he has shown and the effort it took to achieve them. So that's the question - did he show significant progress to get this far? If so you should reward him in some fashion while focusing on further growth. For me this goes hand in hand with the concern when a child thinks they are 'stupid' and should have the bar lowered for them. It's a very fine line that needs to be walked to make the child proud of their accomplishments, aware they can continue to improve, and motivated to do so.

Speaking from my own experience, I would receive praise of various types for achievements that were not as great as my siblings had but at the same time I never felt like the end expectations were different. I would graduate from high school with high grades, go to college with a scholarship or two, be successful in life, etc. The journey to reach this was just at a different pace in the beginning.

I wouldn't buy a Wii because that wasn't the arrangement but praise is fine if it's warranted. Kids respond well to positive reinforcement and for kids that develop at a slower pace those positive reactions can be few and far between. If he worked hard I would give a small reward and get him excited about maybe getting 7 or 8 greats on the next card and maybe picking a reward for getting 7 or 8 and a huge reward if he can get 10.

Hey Henry! Good to see you here!
It is exactly that "fine line" that I find myself treading these days. My boy is actually doing really well all around..applying himself well to school (actually 2 schools as he spends Saturdays at an English immersion program) as well as karate. We recently added two new kids to the family (twin girls) and he has been absolutely amazing with them. Very caring and helpful.

As to the report card situation, it has been discussed and he decided that he can do better on the next report card and that he would be very upset to do worse so he will make sure that doesn't happen.
post #22 of 162
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
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



good luck


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.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
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.
post #23 of 162
when i was at school i only ever wanted to get good marks to please my mother. when i did badly she would never get angry but id always dread the disappointment on her face when she saw the reports.

when i got good marks i never got a Nintendo but making my mum proud was worth all the effort.
post #24 of 162
You could show him that documentary on Meth and say "See? This is what happens when your grades slip!"
post #25 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post
This is getting slightly beside the point, but why can't learning be its own reward? When I was a kid growing up, my parents bought me mostly books, not toys and video games. They would take me to a bookstore or surprise me by bringing home books in subjects they thought might interest me, fiction and nonfiction alike. A childlike imagination is only good for so long; let him rot his brain out at a friend's house.

It can and that's kind of what I'm getting at. Make grades grades and presents presents. Start mixing the two and I think you send a kind of messed up message.
post #26 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
school isn't about learning facts, it is about preparing for life. you learn to deal with not very bright authority figures, you learn to deal with a group of randomly selected teammates of various abilities. you have to do projects assigned to you by the authority figures and cooperate with your team mates in doing so. you might, if you are lucky, have to negotiate with a bully on the way.

Any school will 'prepare him for life' because all teachers derive authority from their position. Why is your child at that school specifically? As his parent it is your job to have his best interests at heart. Contrary to the popular viewpoint, school should not be largely about socializing; it should be about academics. Your child's entire future will involve dealing with authority figures and idiots. He will not have his entire life to explore his interest-of-the-week with passion.
post #27 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
It can and that's kind of what I'm getting at. Make grades grades and presents presents. Start mixing the two and I think you send a kind of messed up message.

I'm sure the prof will chime in on this thread soon (at least, I hope he does!) but from what I've seen, this reward system will eventually result in a kick in the ass. Except that kick in the ass won't be in the comfort of home in middle school; mommy and daddy will have given you the incentive to graduate high school with "gifts". What about college? Or at your first full-time job? Make a given task about that task, not about any arbitrary reward associated with it.
post #28 of 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadly7 View Post
Any school will 'prepare him for life' because all teachers derive authority from their position. Why is your child at that school specifically? As his parent it is your job to have his best interests at heart. Contrary to the popular viewpoint, school should not be largely about socializing; it should be about academics. Your child's entire future will involve dealing with authority figures and idiots. He will not have his entire life to explore his interest-of-the-week with passion.

oh, I think that the school my son is in is about the best there is, I have nothing against his school. there are probably a couple of private schools in the greater chicago area that are better, but the overall package would be worse - insanely expensive, full of kids who are so much richer than my kid that it would put him in a position of disadvantage, less diversity.

I'm not saying that my son's school doesn't teach him much, I am saying that elementary school academics aren't really worth very much, in general. he can explore his interest of the week at home, or in extra-curricular frameworks. for instance, he just expressed an interest in clockmaking, so we are experimenting with that.
post #29 of 162
Hey Alter, I'm a teacher working a few minutes away from the statue in your avatar. Small world!

I don't have any children nor any advice... just sayin' hi!
post #30 of 162
I'd get him started on some dandy literature, that would fix the concentration problems without forcing it.
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