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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:22 pm
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Hello everyone,
I am new to the forum.
I wonder if someone could help with an advice. My eldest is a teenager. We didn't try 11plus, we moved to UK later. She's really bright, but absolutely unmotivated, has no interests apart from socializing and simple pleasures like dance, music, shopping etc. I know that you may say that I should be happy that she is not doing drugs and generally nice person, but I not only want her to be a good person but also to fulfill her potential, which she has. She got A* on Maths GCSE not doing anything at all. This year she dropped all her selected subjects to C and D. Every day we have arguments. As I start my lecture that it's more useful to spend time on studies than friends, I get "leave me alone, you are spoiling my life". I restricted Facebook, I restricted time out, but I feel it doesn't help. She is just not interested in getting good grades although she has all the ability. Did anyone have a similar experience and could help with an advice?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:14 pm 
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maybe some of her friends are not motivated - children don't want to be the odd one out. Friends can influence behaviour so it might be an idea to form a study group with couple of her friends where they sit together and work for exams. They might spur her on to achieve better results.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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Unfortunately at this age I think they have to be self motivating, you cannot force them to work (voice of bitter experience). Does she know what she wants to do after A levels? Is she in year 12 or 13? It wasn't clear from your post. Maybe you could try to motivate her by looking at courses at uni etc. What are her predicted AS grades and what will she need to do the courses she wants to do? One thing I do know is that nagging will not help - it has to come from her.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:02 pm 
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scary mum wrote:
One thing I do know is that nagging will not help - it has to come from her.


Absolutely agree - also from experience. As a parent all you can do is advise and support if it goes wrong. Our job is to love unconditionally. You may feel she is wasting her opportunities, but if she doesn't there is probably little you can do to convince her.

My DD is finally at uni - having sorted herself out and turned herself into a model student - motivated and ruthlessly hardworking. It wasn't down to what we or her teachers said. It was completely and utterly down to what she wanted and once she knew there was no stopping her.

I do remember one hideous argument when she blamed us (parents) for everything that was wrong in her life - she hated us, her life etc. My reply was along these lines: "Stop! We have advised you. We have offered you help, but you chose not to accept it. We are now supporting your choices, because we love you. We are funding your time at home out of our earnings. You can either go along with our house rules, because we are a large family and have to be considerate to one another, or you can move out. It is your choice and we will help if you want us to, but it is up to you. None of this is our fault. I will not accept the blame for your choices." And then I left the room.

I don't know if that was right or not; I'd never spoken to her like that before or since, but I was fed up and I felt better after it. She couldn't continue her rant and she seemed to accept what I'd said. It wasn't a turning point as such, but she has never blamed me for her choices since.

Good luck - parenting is such a hard job and I think parenting teenagers is possibly the hardest job of all.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:57 pm 
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Your dd could have been me! A stack of great o levels, then i just ran out of academic steam.
The one thing that got me working again was the thought of my own space, no curfews, and a fresh start, so perhaps you could sell uni on this basis. However you do not want to commit a large amount of cash, if she simply does not enjoy academics, it may be that training on the job ultimately suits her better. Even though i got my degree, it was not until i was employed that i really got motivated to do well.

I have to say i can still remember my dad moaning at me 25 years later, marching into my room and switching the telly off, banning me from being out after 10pm etc etc, none of it worked I am afraid. The only thing that worked was visiting my sis at uni, and wanting a slice of her freedom, and to do that i needed 3 a levels.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 2:28 pm 
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Agree that it will have to be down to her but equally you can help to make the choice clear - if she doesn't work towards an employment goal then she isn't going to have any easy time 'dossing' around on the bank of Mum and Dad .

Most teenagers have no concept of the cost of everything they have and the work involved in running a home and looking after a family.

We have always supported DCs financially and by not making too many demands on their time when they are studying hard, as I am sure have many other families but if your DD thinks she can swan about while you work hard maybe you could consider withdrawing financial support and leave her chores to do before she can go out?
I wouldn't present this as a punishment - just a reality check.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:22 am 
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My sympathies, my dd is younger but is also hard to motivate and I often feel powerless and shut out.

What does the school say? They must have seen it all before many times.

I may be oversimplifying but I agree about the reality check for her, time to treat as adult. She can get a Saturday job, experience low pay and pay some rent and contribute to running house - chores etc. At the same time I think maybe she's too old to restrict like you have-how can you keep her off Facebook or from leaving the house past a certain age? She might want it more because of you. my dd often does the opposite of what I want. So I keep her guessing and change tack a lot. Have to try to stay one step ahead of her thought processes!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:22 pm
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Thanks a lot everyone for your replies and sympathy! It made me think the same thought again - to let go or not to let go?

She is in Upper 6th form at the moment and this year is critical, it is quite scary to let go just before her A2 especially because As were so bad after quite decent GCSEs.

She is planning to take Art foundation course for a year before going to University and her Art teachers are saying that in Arts they do not look at whether you have A or B for your grade but at your portfolio, therefore she relaxed completely, said that she needs only 1 A level for this course and I am afraid decided not to try hard on all others :(

I don't know the situation with Art, but it is hard to believe that good University would look only at portfolio and would not be interested in grades at all (this is what she says to me).

She has her chores at home. As for job - I am not pushing her at the moment to get one as she needs time to revise, though anyway she would probably waste this time not for revising...

I know I am restricting too much. I feel I have to reconsider some of my behaviour with her probably... Although it's a bit scary. I tried already to give her more freedom, she just takes it all and doesn't know where to stop...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:38 am 
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leanmeamum wrote:
it might be an idea to form a study group with couple of her friends where they sit together and work for exams. They might spur her on to achieve better results.


That's a very good idea, which I would love to try, but the problem with her friends is that they all took different subjects and the other big problem is that we are living miles away from school and from her friends! That was probably a mistake in choosing a school so far away as it takes so much time for traveling and if she goes to meet her friends it also takes twice as much as it should.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:47 am 
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Please don't feel guilty about any of this - all us parents think we have got things wrong & maybe we have but maybe our children would have behaved this way whatever we did.
Mostly they turn out Ok in the end :)

Have a look at web sites for the Art schools your DD might be looking at and see what they say about admissions qualifications and if necessary you can email admissions officers to check.

Its also worth talking to your DD about what her plans are after Art school - not many people make a living as a professional artist so she might find that potential employers in related fields (teaching, advertising, design, gallery or exhibition management) are indeed interested in her A level grades, not least because they will be looking for evidence of a work ethic.
I have older DCs in two different areas and they still need to complete A level grades for applications.

Personally I think the teacher who told her that her A level grade don't matter should be sacked!


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