How do you get a child to care about grades?

Kamara - posted on 08/16/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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How do you motivate a child that has so much potential to do more, to be concerned, get motivated, and to strive to do more inside/outside of school? My son has ADHD and there are some factors that contribute (plus there is extreme laziness) but overall, he could be an A and B student if he applied himself. Everything he does is mediocre but with a little more effort and motivation, he could be at the top of his class. When I talk to him, he says he doesn't care about the grades, he doesn't want to do anything MORE than what is asked in an assignment, doesn't extend himself in any area at all in terms of interests outside of school either. I want to know, is this what is typical of boys? Children with ADHD? And suggestions on what can be done to help motivate if anything?

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Jane - posted on 08/27/2010

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Most kids with ADHD are underachievers. It's partially due to the overwhelmed factor. They get an assignment like "Write a report on X. It's due in two weeks" - and don't know where to start.

It can be helpful to give them pindrop silence, break tasks down into small portions (decide topic - day 1. Research - day 2, outline- day 3, etc). Also, frequent breaks help a LOT. If they work for 30 minutes, they get 30 minutes of videogames or tv. Then back to work. Visual timers can be very helpful.

Michelle - posted on 08/26/2010

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My son has both ADHD and ODD, and likes to only do what is expected of him, so I discuss this with his new teacher every year so that they set the bar high they ensure the goals are attainable but still keep it high also money talks in my house my son gets paid for every A he gets. He likes money and will do anything for it.

Denise - posted on 08/16/2010

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I have a child with ADHD. She struggles with her grades and being motivated. She doesn't like to do much of anything except eating and vegging out. However, we put her in karate with her siblings. They loved it she hated it. We made her stick with it even though she complained she did it. She wanted to do Girls on the Run because her favorite teacher was the coach. She hates running but liked the sisterhood there. She completed a 5k in the rain but that same morning had done everything she could to avoid going. We use discipline to make her complete things. If she takes the initiative and does a little extra (whether its being helpful or a few extra sentences on her homework) we praise and reward with things like picking what tv show she can watch or computer time. She is currently writing a report I asked her to do on Puerto Rico because she wants to go on vacation there. She read books and even researched online about it. She gets motivated about things she likes and even if she doesn't I push her to do better because I and her teachers all know she can. If she is lazy, I am too. Meaning, if she doesn't try, I don't help her. I won't go the extra mile and make food she likes to eat or take her places she wants to go. Another alternative is to take him to a shelter and have people there talk about their experience in school. Many are there due to dropping out of school because of disinterest. They will see that doing well in school is important for basic things such as housing. Also, find something he is interested in and use it to motivate. Example: you like video games. When you grow up you can be a game designer or tester. You need a college degree. College is competitive. You need A's and B's and good SAT scores. Bottom line you love your kid and want them to succeed but it should not be the focus of your relationship. I tell my kid (who may not do well going to college) that they can go to trade school, community college, or go straight to employment after high school. I tell her that if she is working or going to school I will not kick her out. IF she wants to bum around and not do anything with her life, she will be doing it somewhere else. Tough love!

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Kamara - posted on 08/17/2010

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Thanks for responding Denise. I'm assuming that the ADHD is such that they aren't stimulated enough in the activities to make an impact like the video games. And nothing about homework is stimulating, so I know what the struggle is with that already. But clearly, being of the age that he is now, and my expressing the importance to him, it doesn't warrant the same sense of urgency in him as it does a child without ADHD for him to put in that extra effort since he knows that it's already a struggle. I have him in Karate as well and HE HATES IT (since day 1)...he's looking to get his brown belt rather soon. I've been making him go as you have your daughter b/c he needs the discipline and the structure. I would gladly put him into another discipline or another activity if he showed an interest. And like you, I've told him that once he reaches 18 I'm not allowing him to live with me either if he doesn't go to college or work as well, there will be no free loading with me either. It's just sooo frustrating however b/c nothing phazes him. I feel that it's just his laziness and disinterest in anything that will hold him back from reaching his full potential b/c he is capable of being a really top notch student and getting into a really good college if he put forth the effort. He doesn't care either way about rewards/punishment since I've tried both routes. I'm almost at my wits end. My only saving grace is the fact that he's getting to that age that I can expose him to more advanced activities to peek an interest in something and use that as leverage. Sorry your going through the same thing that I am, but it's good to know that I'm not ALONE in the struggle. Good luck with your daughter, if you find something that peaks the interest, would love to hear about it.

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