AIBU to be really annoyed with DS for just doing O.K at school?

(105 Posts)
moodymum8 Fri 15-Mar-13 08:26:50

I am a regular but have n/c for this as most of my posts are a bit more upbeat and I can't decide if I am being a complete cow or now:

DS is in Year 7 and a bright kid. Every parents' evening in the past have always been a breeze: bright, well behaved, gets good grades, no complaints...

He is now in Year 7 and this week we've had the first parents' evening at his new school and I find myself feeling really annoyed with him. Basically he is coasting - I think that's the message.

For example one teacher told me that the class had sat an exam that they were supposed to have revised for. DS did zero revision - didn't even tell me there was a test coming up. He got the second highest mark in the class and is delighted - crowing about how brilliantly he's done.
He started the year with really high levels in maths and English. He's made zero progress (gone backwards in fact in one) and does the absolute bare minimum for homework, never volunteers for the extension tasks etc but because he started on high levels, he's still near top and gets good marks and again is crowing about how good he is.

I am really furious if I’m honest. The AIBU part is AIBU to think that is not a good enough to get good marks with a crap attitude and no effort? And AIBU to wish he'd got all level 4's and a good telling off? And AIBU to let him know I am disappointed?
He knows I am I think because he lectured me that in MFL for example he has got the highest level they award for Year 7 so what’s my problem?
DH thinks we should be pleased DS gets good grades and is well behaved at school. He says many parents would be delighted just with that but I’m not. I think having a crap / lazy attitude is going to hold DS back much more in life than getting slightly lower grades. So AIBU and if not what do I do about it?

ChasedByBees Sat 16-Mar-13 07:44:19

Have just skim read so this may have been covered. You are right to worry as at some point in the future, effort will be required and if he believes that he can either do something straight away or he can't, he will fail.

Many of my smarter friends at school did less well in the workplace than those who had learnt that effort was what mattered. There's some studies showing you should praise effort, not intelligence to get the best out of your children. These might strike a chord:

alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=32124
www.highlightsparents.com/parenting_perspectives/interview_with_dr_carol_dweck_developing_a_growth_mindset
www.learning-theories.com/self-theories-dweck.html

I think you need to set your son challenges where effort is required and don't praise good grades or being smart, but praise when he tries or the effort. As he is smart, perhaps you could discuss the articles with him and how if he wants to be more intelligent and do better, he needs to apply himself.

FWIW I was very much like your son and didn't get my nasty shock till starting university. I pulled myself up then but I think that my early training that I was clever and could just do things caused a real wobble in my self confidence the first time I couldn't just do something. I got through it though.

DoJo Sat 16-Mar-13 08:59:04

Just wanted to add my voice, but haven't had time to ready the whole thread. I would be wary of constantly pushing him - I was always told that, whilst I was doing well, I COULD do better and in the end I just felt as though there was no pleasing my parents or teachers and carried on coasting as at least that gave me time to do things that I enjoyed.
And you know what - I still don't work that hard, and because I am happy to coast along doing 'just enough' I can spend more time with my son, earn enough money to pay the bills and not have to worry, and I'm really happy. I also don't know a single person who tries their hardest all the time - as adults, most people skate through things and do what needs doing rather than trying to excel at everything, and rightly so. I would rather be a happy slacker than a workaholic who doesn't have time to enjoy the simpler things in life. I would also be more concerned about his attitude towards his sister than anything else - being bright is a matter of luck, but being pleasant is something else and should be addressed. Maybe if you encouraged him to help her, he would see the benefit in learning, discover a talent for teaching or just be a little more sympathetic to her and benefit in that way.

noblegiraffe Sat 16-Mar-13 12:28:00

chasedbybees those links are really interesting (and sound very applicable to the OP's DS).
My 3 year old refuses to have a go at certain things (like drawing) saying 'I'm not very good at that'. I will certainly be making a big effort to reframe challenging things as fun etc.

soontobeburns Sat 16-Mar-13 12:46:58

God sounds like me.
I always coasted through school and never did homework or studied at all and I was still the top of my class (secondary not grammer school)

Tbh it did negatively effect me. I left with 1 A, 2 Bs and 6 Cs st GCSE but if I had studied I could of got all As.
I couldn't cope with deadlines and coursework come alevels and even though I am now doing my ba in night class I still procrastinate and cant work hard at it...I am passing due to natural ability but I could do better if I tried. I just cant argh.

lljkk Sat 16-Mar-13 13:30:59

Have you ever read the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn?... a less naturally bright child working her ass off to come halfway up the class list? That really deserves pride and a pat on the back.

Not it doesn't, nor according to Kohn I mean. You never express pride or give praise if you follow UP. Not for effort, not for anything.
Just saying.

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