How do you encourage your middle schoolers to strive and do their best when their tendency is to do as little as possible to get the grade? This laziness also leaks over to NOT keeping room clean, leaving things like clothing on the floor, not bringing dishes over to sink to help and not remembering to feed the pet. I have already taken privileges away. We have tried incentives. We have taken all electronics away. NOTHING STICKS. Thanks to any parent out there with a thoughtful word or two.How long do you punish?
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”
― Stanley Kubrick
'Getting the grade' is not a demonstrably good use of their time and effort, so they won't do it. Young people have a tendency to not do things they don't want to do. The trick is not to carry on with the rigid structure of previous school years and allow for an element of freedom and creativity with their learning. This is the time when they want to find out what they want to do, so allow them to find themselves. 'The grade' is useless, but knowledge and experience are the most valuable things in the world.
Your kids sound like typical teenagers to me.
This is a stressful time in their lives with exams and everything, plus dealing with growing up and relationships and all sorts.
Instead of punishing them, why not try ignoring their mess? Keep the sharp words for leaving the house a mess, but leave their room alone.
Reason being that if they have been brought up in a clean and tidy environment, sooner or later the mess in their room is really going to GET to them, and they will start keeping it tidy without being told.
Much as when they move out and move on. Kids that were the filthiest at home, tend to grow up and keep their own homes clean and tidy.
So its just a stage, don't let them get to you
If there were to be one huge downside to the success of the feminist movement to get women equal access to everything it has been the complete and total annihilation of hardcore discipline, which somehow got trampled down in the rise of women in positions of power in media, politics and education. What used to be called discipline was an asswhippin' dealt out at exactly the right time in exactly the right amount, swiftly, to give a child an outcome of bad behavior on the spot, like electric shock when you mess with an electrical outlet or a burn when you touch a hot stove. Like a lightning strike, discipline so meted out brought results. This was in the greatest proportions discipline handed out by a loving but stern father figure (now a figure of ridicule in our society if you watch television. It's was a long pendulum swing from Father Knows Best and Ward Clever to Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin, but we got there).
But, now, as the less violent gender has more and more say, more control, fights harder for their beliefs, and a highly liberal media supported them, the side effect has been the complete and total loss of discipline, courage and self-respect for millions and millions of kids. For whatever reason, men defer to the compassionate reason of a gentler approach--it makes "logical" sense, which is so ironic in so many ways. So now kids are safe from harm and violence of any kind or any measure; they wear helmets and seat belts and don't talk to strangers or go too far around the neighborhood where Mommy might lose sight of them and a sexual predator of some sort will leap like the big bad wolf out of a bush and take them away.... so, they are very safe. They never suffer injuries. They don't get in fights. They don't even flunk out or get held back in school anymore. They all get to pass and feel good (in the name of "self esteem"). All the worst statistics are way down, they are much safer and much more aware of their vulnerability and the fragility of life.
They are also undisciplined, getting destroyed in all things academic by pretty much every other nation on the planet, and they are living at home into their thirties in percentages never seen in the history of, like, ever.
But hey, at least they are safe.
I had my ass handed to me by my parents on multiple occasions at all different ages. I deserved every single one that I got, too.
I remember throwing a fit in the grocery store once as a kid-- it was the first time I'd ever misbehaved in public. My mother promptly spanked me very soundly. I shut up and behaved myself from then on out. For my siblings it was all the same. We got many comments from strangers growing up about how all five of us were so well behaved-- and how did my mother do it with five, when they couldn't handle it with just two? A firm hand, that's how.
I maintain that discipline helps children. It was what kept me motivated in school. Sure at times I hated my parents growing up, but I am beyond grateful for their no nonsense approach to raising me. They loved me enough to teach me the way to act and deal with life, even if it was tough love.
Yet in the UK if you physically chastise your child you are (now) wide open to prosecution for child abuse.
I also believe in a short sharp shock to keep children in line.
To me, that isn't abuse; that's love. If you didn't love them, you wouldn't care enough about keeping them in line or teaching them right from wrong.
The politically correct brigade would have you sit your child down and speak to them about their antisocial behaviour, in a quiet tone, of course.
Hence your fabulous literacy and, as I recall from a hub or two, your admission to a fine college.
Too bad the PC crowd still thinks "self esteem" comes from words, from unremitting kindness (as if life is kind), and from telling kids they are great and valuable rather than teaching them what it takes to actually BE great and valuable, and more importantly, demanding it of them.
Unfortunately, the West jammed the idea of discipline and competitiveness down the colonized world from which it took resources to make it fat and lazy, and now those who learned the lessons of the victorious from a century or three ago are going to use what they were force fed and turn the tables on those very same nations who will then cry in outrage at the indignity and ingratitude of it all.
Doesn't even have to happen. I give the West credit for, albeit reluctantly and painfully, recognizing its own arrogance and relenting. But our hope for competitiveness in an equalizing world is sitting fat-bellied before a video game console burping up soda and pizza while calling up from the basement to his mother wondering if there are any corn chips left. He'll probably even ask her to bring them down.
As for school grades, I haven't a clue. As for the room and other items mentioned try this. Clothes on floor, room not clean? Take all the clothes from dressers and closet and put in pile. She will either clean it up or live in the mess. Also have her do her own laundry! If she chooses not to, she suffers the consequence, going out in dirty clothes. As for the dishes? Set the table and set her place with the dirty dishes. She can use the plate from the night before, dirty or cleaned, her choice. And don't be swayed by tamptrums, stand your ground and let her learn the consequences of her actions.
Once when my room was particularly disastrous as a child, my mother got so fed up with me she made me put every single thing in my room (absolutely nothing was in its proper place) in a huge pile in the center of my room and I couldn't go to bed until I had it cleaned up. I sobbed and trashed my room even more and muttered about her under my breath, but I got it done. It was my mess, and she made me clean it. I didn't have any other option. If she hadn't, I think I'd still be sitting in that filthy room.
I was a headstrong, rebellious, self-entitled kid and she took care of that real fast. If she hadn't, I don't even want to imagine where I would be.
WOW! I have read everyone's points and really appreciate the input. All I know is it is hair raising when dealing with a middle schooler. Unfortunately grades matter when you want to apply to college. I wish it were not so.
as for a spank. I think kids today need it now and then. Some girls like mine can be so bullheaded, it will make your head spin.Thanks everyone.
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