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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Falling Grades--How Do You Motivate Your Child?

I was talking to my good friend today about the troubles she is having with her son and school. In short, her son’s grades are falling behind. The kid is smart. He has the ability. His decline is due to a variety of reasons—the main one being apathy. He just doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t turn in homework, sometimes he doesn’t even bother to do it and he has resorted to lying about his work load. To prevent his grades from slipping further, my friend has sent emails to his teachers asking for help, she has checked assignments on his teachers’ websites (those who have one), she has reviewed his daily planner, and she has made sure that he has completed his work each night (the assignments she knows of). She has done everything short of attending his classes with him. She has also tried rewards and punishments. Neither strategy seems to work. She cannot find the “magic bullet” that will motivate him to try harder.

I understand her frustration. As parents we are constantly asking ourselves, “How can I motivate my child to do better?” “How do I teach him that he needs to try his best?” In general, I feel that a fire from within develops in each child in their own time. It's waiting for the spark that can be excruciating. We try so hard to fan the flames. And my friend is certainly doing that. It is clear that she cares deeply about her son and his success in school. She is relentless in her quest to turn him around and get him on the right path. I admire her willpower and her conviction that her son CAN and WILL do better. She will not give up. I know it is aggravating for her now (and headache inducing), but her diligence and perseverance will pay off--I'm sure of it!

Share Your Story
Have you experienced this kind of indifference? What have you done to help motivate your child?

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