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Question
Posted by: Concerned Dad | 2011/02/15

Son needs motivation to study

My son is 18 and in matric at a private school.He is not doing very well in school and has always just scraped through.Nothing we do or say to him can get him motivated to do better,He is not rude or misbehaving,but he just does not seem to want to do better.He has extra lessons at school ,but will find a reason not to attend every single day.I am also warried that if i force him to attend these classes he will find other ways of not attending.

We need to get him to understand the impact which this school year will have on his future.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Are you certain that he is truly able to do very much better, and that it is simply a lack of motivation that is limiting him ? OK, failing to attend extra sessions sounds like he may not be trying as hard as he might - but maybe he is convinced that it is hopeless and that he CANNOT perform any better ?
What are his views of his future ? What does he enjoy doing ? How does he choose to spend his time when he has his preference ? And what does he actually want to do with his life ? Not what you want for him, but what does he want for himself ? Presumably he understands he will need to work for a living - how does he want to spend that time ? Does he have alternative career plans which he feels don't need the better matric you feel he needs ?
Overall, its dificult to find out these things if you don't already know them, now that he's in some sort of confrontation about matric work.
Maybe seeing a psychologist could help - to assess his actual abilities, his actual interests, and to discuss with him why he feels so apparently reluctant to apply himself harder to his studies.

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5
Our users say:
Posted by: Fishy | 2011/02/17

I agree - BRIBE HIM.
But, you have to be true to your ride. No improvment - no car (or whatever).
In my son''s case it was a set of golf clubs which equeled a HUGE improvement in his marks.
Grade 12 boys don''t care about stats and stuff like that.

Reply to Fishy
Posted by: PUrple | 2011/02/16

Not everyone is suited to an academic path. Reward him for attending extra lessons (money works at this age) and point out that no matter what he wants to do when he leaves school, the better his matric is, the better chance he''ll have of being able to do it.

Show him a copy of the workplace section of the newspaper or give him a look on career junction so that he can see what types of jobs are available and being advertised right now and what qualifications they require.

Perhaps take him to see an industrial psychologist for some career counselling to help him focus his ideas on a career direction.
He might also be the kind of child who would benefit from a gap year - a year overseas having to scrape by on minimum wage with no parents to run to for help definitely aids maturity. Then he can come back and go into a trade or find a job, or if he did do well enough to go to varsity and is interested enough in studying by then, he could apply to study.
Perhaps his plane tickets and money to help him live for 6 weeks while he finds his first job can be his reward for passing matric with at least 50% in every subject (30% might get you a certificate but it is a valueless matric).

Reply to PUrple
Posted by: Jenn | 2011/02/16

How about the fact that not studying = failing which in turn = unemployment / crappy minimum wage job. Your son is old enough to know better- maybe it''s time to show him. Get him stats, etc. I''m sorry but he''s not a child and shouldn''t have to be bribed.

Reply to Jenn
Posted by: Been there done this | 2011/02/15

bribe him
excellent matric pass = new car

Reply to Been there done this
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/02/15

Are you certain that he is truly able to do very much better, and that it is simply a lack of motivation that is limiting him ? OK, failing to attend extra sessions sounds like he may not be trying as hard as he might - but maybe he is convinced that it is hopeless and that he CANNOT perform any better ?
What are his views of his future ? What does he enjoy doing ? How does he choose to spend his time when he has his preference ? And what does he actually want to do with his life ? Not what you want for him, but what does he want for himself ? Presumably he understands he will need to work for a living - how does he want to spend that time ? Does he have alternative career plans which he feels don't need the better matric you feel he needs ?
Overall, its dificult to find out these things if you don't already know them, now that he's in some sort of confrontation about matric work.
Maybe seeing a psychologist could help - to assess his actual abilities, his actual interests, and to discuss with him why he feels so apparently reluctant to apply himself harder to his studies.

Reply to cybershrink

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