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Question
Posted by: CMP | 2007/12/06

Professional Parenting Advice

HI CS

This is the first time I am using your forum, I make much use of the Paedisatrician at times. I have 2 questions, both relating to children of school going age.

The first child is 15, he is not mine, but is my mother's domestic worker's son, he is great kid on the whole but has just barely passed Grade 8 after having repeated it this year. He got an average of 48%, My role in his life is one of guardian, I am there to look after his interested and try to provide him with guidance necessary to make a success of his life. I have asked him to let me help him with his school work but he is not interested in getting me to help him, I have purchased him study guides, I have tried to do extra exercises with him, I even arranged that his teacher at school give him extra maths lessons. His marks are poor and I have no idea how to motivate him to do better, I tried the bribery and corruption route by offering him cash incentives for good marks and a Playstation 2 if he passed with 50% in all subjects, he missed this target miserably. He wants to be a pilot when he matriculates.

The second question regards my son age 8, he attends a private school where he seems to be getting bullied (he gets hit ocassionally but without any marks and verbally bullied as well) repeatedly, I have taken this up with the school both teacher and principal but have never had a great response from them, I have him on the waiting list for another school but it looks like they will only be able to accept him in 2009 when he goes to Grade 4. His Academic record, although good, is not at the same level it was at last year where his previous teacher took a real interest in him. He was at a psychologist every 2 weeks for the first 6 months of the year but then I ran out of Medical Aid and my cash flow during this part of the year is a bit tight.

My question is how can I help these two boys to reach their maximum potential? how do I get them to focus on their academics as well as enjoy the big wide world? both of them are interested in either playing tv games or watching tv, what sort of rules can I put in place that will encourage their achievement without breaking their spirits and being overbearing?

Thanks for your help.

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Our expert says:
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{a) Do you really understand whatever motivates him ( ? does me ? ) --- why would he WANT to study harder and get better marks ? Does he REALLY want to be a pilot ? If so, can perhaps someone associated with that field explain to him convincingly that without good scores and abilities in maths and sciences, he's highly unlikely to be allowed to begin training as a pilot, and highly unlikely to complete such training, even if they allowed him to start it. Does he understand the conection between better marks and especially in some particular subjects, and being able to achieve the things he wants in life ?
(b) Here, it sounds as though a significant part of the problem is the school's apparent lack of interest in dealing properly with the issue of bullying. Are their other kids getting bullied, and would their parents perhaps be interested in joining you to push the school to dealing better with this ?
and for both boys, couldn't you set up clear rules than relate whether they have any access to TV and games, and the duration of such access, to having done all homework, and to success in raising school performance ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: CMP | 2007/12/07

Thanks Inspired Parenting, I will give it a shot. Thankfully we are on holiday for the next few weeks, and hopefully I can take the school head on in January ;) I will definitely have him back at the psychologist next year and hopefully this year we will be better able to financially plan for the therpay sessions. With regards to Grade 2 teacher for this year, I tried phoning for weekly report backs but she never called me back, I bought her a cactus for Christmas.

As for 15 year old, I will see if I can find somebody who may be able to assist us with sorting out something regarding a visit or meeting with pilots, again this will have to wait until the New year, his mom is taking him home for Christmas...

Thanks again for the good advice, I will definitely give it my all and let you all know early next year how it is going.

Reply to CMP
Posted by: INSPIRED PARENTING | 2007/12/07

Dear CMP

Maria referred me here. I posted this on the parenting forum for you.

I CONGRATULATE YOU on the opportunities you are providing for your 15 year old son.

You may help to motivate him further by finding him a mentor or role model preferably a male who can take him under his wing.

I would also arrange for him to visit an airfield and speak to some pilots with regards to their training. Making his dream more real for him may give him the incentive to put in the effort required to make it come true. One of the pilots might let him hang out with HIm on the weekends.

If necessary the TV may have to be locked away until the grades improve.

It is essential that you place your 8 year old back in therapy.

The bullying must be dealt with and come to an end immediately . Do not allow your child to be subjected to one more minute of bullying. Ongoing bullying could result in depression. Remove him from school if they cannot resolve the issue.

He can't concentrate on his school work if he is terrified of what will happen at break time.

Do not take no for an answer and get the child psychologist to issue a report explaining how the bullying is affecting your child. Insist on arranging a meeting with the bully's parents, and be very clear about how this is affecting your son.

Ask your child's teacher to keep a close watch on your son and ask for feedback everyday on how it went. Keep the teacher informed of how your child is feeling, and how the bullying is impacting on his life.

If necessary go to the school governing body.

You are the only one looking out for your son, and he is depending on you to keep him safe in this world.

Good luck!
INSPIRED PARENTING

Reply to INSPIRED PARENTING
Posted by: Maria | 2007/12/07

Hi CMP

You need to start a new post, CS doesn't come back to look at ones that he already answered.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: CMP | 2007/12/07

HI CS

I have no idea what motivates 15 year old. He does however have an expectancy like attitude, like he does not have to work for anything, I am not sure if this is because we have given him (and his mother) whatever they have needed during his life without asking questions that he is now reaching a level of expectancy, he doesn't study orpput in any extra work unless he is forced to, and I am concerned because lately I am coming across as a dragon lady.

WRT 8 year old, he is a fair bit smaller than a lot of the other kids at school, he is also quite reserved at times, but a very clever little boy, he picks up on everything end his reading level for his age is excellent, but his work has started suffering this year and I have no idea what to do about it. WRT other kids being bullied, there is the odd occassion where I hear about it, but I never get told who the other kids are.

The biggest problem is that I am a working mom and unfortunately still earn more than my husband. We also have an 18 month old daughter who takes up a fair amount of our time in the morning and evening so we try to spend equal time with both kids seperately and together but this doesn't always work.

I hope the additional info helps.

Thanks for your input

Reply to CMP
Posted by: CMP | 2007/12/07

I have tried to get his mother's permission for this but she is not allowing me to do this, she says it is not necessary for him to be assessed.

Reply to CMP
Posted by: Maria | 2007/12/07

Hi CMP,

Have you had the 15 year old evaluated to see if he has any learning disabilities? Perhaps his poor performance is not just due to lack of motivation?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: anon | 2007/12/07

CMP, you may want to post on the parenting forum as well. There is a poster who has a very informative website and writes articles for magazines. She is a child psychologist.

Reply to anon

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