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OT - Gifted 7th graders are suddenly not doing and/or turning in homework - HELP!

agitated's picture

All of a sudden this year my gifted 7th graders (13 year olds) have lost their damn minds! They are either lying to me and telling me they don't have homework or doing it and then NOT turning it in. I have done tons of research and this seems very common for children this age, but it is really disappointing and angering me. Has anyone else dealt with this? What did you say and/or do to help? Did the child(ren) eventually outgrow this phase. I'm extremely worried they are going to be taken out of the "gifted" program, which (if they graduate HS with it) will offer them FREE COLLEGE TUITION for life.


Acratopotes's picture

Yes it's true... they figured out now that boys and girls are different and hormones kicked in lol.....

if these are your bio's, it's easy.. discipline and discipline, no internet before home work is done, and you want to be with while they go through the days' work and you want to see what they did in each class... assignments not handed in, you will loose your phone for a month, and no TV and internet....

now if these are skids... there's nothing you can do they have parents to deal with this and it's not your problem

agitated's picture

That's just it. I'm already doing all that!!! They haven't had their phones or video games for 5 weeks. I just check grades again and there are already missing assignments. The 2nd quarter JUST started yesterday! I discipline, I go through backpacks with them, I talk to them, I yell at them, I let them do it on their own, etc. I feel like I've tried everything.

Acratopotes's picture

tough love then....

tell them, I'm done, you think you are old enough to decide on your life.... have a ball but do not ask me for anything, I'm done with the lot of you, if you failed it's your disgrace, not mine, I competed school years ago...

I even took mine and drove to the poorest township I could get and told hi, now go and ask these people if they went to school or not, why they live like this, left him there for half an hour and he was really upset, one old lady scolded him for wasting education opportunity.
Then I took him to the dust bin removal company and he talked to a couple off people there, they all had the same story.. you idiot you get a change to better yourself and now you don't want to, when he heard their salaries he urged me to go home and he caught up on all home work lol...

I was still done with him, never nagged again, just laughed every time he got into trouble for not doing something... and with us, if your assignment is late it's zero - schools do not give extended dead line or anything, dead line is dead line, fail is fail..

agitated's picture

Thank you. That's been my "threat" all this year, but I can't seem to completely let go. Their bio dad is currently in jail and they know why and for how long. At the start of the school year they were changed, and all on board for not turning out like him, but that didn't last long. I should see if there is a program or a place I can take them in my town to get "real life" answers from real people.

Acratopotes's picture

agitated - you will have to let go..... they are old enough to learn...stop making threats start acting.

I'm sure if you go and visit your Ex and ask his help - then send the kids over he will help and tell them how important it is to have a good education and not end up in jail like him

let them work week-ends at a homeless shelter they will quickly see and hear the nightmare stories and you can say - this is your future

secret's picture

for what it's worth I was in the gifted program, and it's true that homework was different than other students.

We hardly had any - whatever we had was more long term work... like projects that were due in 2 weeks.. or things we had time to work on in class...

My 13 year old daughter claims she has several hours of homework every night. No. It TAKES her several hours, because she's on the phone with her friends, listening to music, and watching tv while doing it. My 15 year old son has about 20 minutes of it every night. My 11 year old hardly has any either.

Our school sends out "things to know about" emails - each week, the teachers send an email to the parents about what is expected in the coming week, including tests, homework, projects...

agitated's picture

I noticed a huge change in the homework from 6th grade to 7th grade. I also understand the boys' frustration because they are learning at a 9th - 10th grade level right now, which is tough. Algebra is no joke if you don't understand it. I truly believe their lack of motivation stems from hitting that "stage" of their lives right now and feeling overwhelmed which is causing them to stop trying. I'm going to reach out to their guidance counselor and see what they suggest.

ESMOD's picture

Ughhh.. We went through the same thing with OSD when she was that age. Prior to that.. advanced sections and honor roll all the way. Then she hit 7th and, yeah, was like she lost her dang mind! She stopped trying in school. Said she wasn't "smart enough" to do math etc... Also started mooning over some boy who wasn't particularly a good influence. Got caught buying "blunts" for him to try to curry favor. Her attitude went from "withdrawn" to "baleful" towards everyone.

Unfortunately... no amount of encouragement on my DH and My end really helped all that much. She didn't bomb out of school completely, but certainly wasn't AP material after that. She also lost a great deal of potential because since she just gave up when the math got harder.. she never got the basics of algebra etc... and she never overcame that. In fact, when she went to com. college, they put her in the remedial math catch up and she still couldn't pass it.

Now. don't get me wrong.. she was smart enough... but she just developed this horrible attitude and laziness towards doing her work. I think prior to that it was just overly easy with very little effort or homework required. Once the "serious" learning started, she just gave up trying.

So.. did she finish college? NO.. but she does have a decent job working for the state and has a husband and a baby at 22. So, I don't think she reached her potential but her life is not horrible. By the way.. she did have a good work ethic towards work.. mostly for the which allowed her to buy all the "nice" clothing we couldn't or wouldn't buy for her.

agitated's picture

Gahhh! I can't let them fail; even though I may not be able to stop it. I'm not sure if I'll be able to sit back quietly and watch that happen. I'm already forced to watch my SD15 fail (she failed 3 classes the 1st quarter), but I thought that was just because DH doesn't step up and help or care for that matter (SD lives with us FT and BM isn't involved much). I sit down with mine EVERY NIGHT (if needed) and help with Algebra (I LOVE MATH!) and other subjects as much as I can, even if that means I need to Google answers. I was hoping someone would have an eye opening, real life, experience I could show them or tell them that would make them understand just how important school is right now.

Acratopotes's picture

:jawdrop: you spoil them, they never learned how to do their home work on their own... I'm sorry but you have to stop this and let them learn.

They really do not care cause you are basically doing it for them, they can google themselves, they should pay attention in class, not ignore it cause Mum will sort it tonight.

Lady get a hobby lol and leave the homework be

agitated's picture

You are right. I've always been the "checker and fixer" of all problems. I need to let them hit rock bottom on their own.

Acratopotes's picture

I might have been harsh on you lol, cause I'm a bitch..

I will compromise.... you admit you are the Checker and Fixer...

what about for now... you are only the Checker...... and let them fix it their own way
then you are still in the loop just not doing every thing for them.. Wink

ESMOD's picture

Honestly, you also have to figure out their "currency". What privilege would hurt them the most if it was take away?

In our case, the girl was living with her mother and mom was only too happy to enable her daughter to avoid spending time with DH and "that woman" So, she allowed her daughter to focus on all her social stuff and her dad wasn't able to fight both of them (without great expense.. he didn't have the resources to take her to court).

I was honestly terrified when the younger girl reached that age.. but she seemed to get through relatively unscathed.. though she always has been a bit ditsy on procrastination.. though she is smart and endearing enough to get away with it.

That's another difference. OSD.. very self centered.. worried about herself not others. YSD? concerned about others.. in fact today is my bday. she called my DH this AM to remind him to wish me happy

In any case. since you have your boys FT.. it should be easier for them to not avoid consequences. Explaining to them that their futures rest in their own hands.. and discussing the real life issues of trying to make money to survive might give them a wakeup call too.

StepUltimate's picture

Please post that 411 if you find out!

We are trying to convey the importance of grades but SS17 (now a senior in high school) stays in his self-created spin-cycle of letting the grades fall then scrambling to get a passing grade at the end of the semester. So this year is me disengaged, it's up to DH to monitor and I just listen. No more reminders, questions, emails or calls from teachers, etc., because I unlisted from the online grades/attendance/email dealie. DH has stepped up & it's been eye-opening for him. My heart skips when I think of SS possibly not graduating, but I repeat the mantra I read on StepTalk: Not my monkey, not my circus. It's helping!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Going through this with both SSs, though we've always run into this with YSS. OSS corrected the behavior early this year when there was a real threat for him getting removed from his early college program. I think for him, the workload and expectations.exploded and he just didn't handle it well at the start. He's back on track now.

YSS will always be this way, and no amount of punishment will change him. He's smart and doesn't understand why he should have to do all this extra work to prove it. Plus, certain subjects, particularly reading and language arts, are tough for him. He reads at such a high reading level that his school doesn't carry any books that high because the content tends to be too mature. He gets frustrated because he has to do reports on books within his level, but can't find them at school and barely finds any at the library that are appropriate. So, he gives up and say eff it. My brother was the same: smart, but lazy.

All because a child is gifted doesn't mean that they are going to use those talents. Part of being in those gifted programs is having the drive to do the work. If they don't have that drive, it might be best to put them in regular classes. It would be better for them to succeed in regular classes than to fail entirely for the sake of being in advanced ones.

agitated's picture

I agree with the drive part. The program they are in is by testing and acceptance only and they will get booted for not keeping the grades up. One of them is on academic probation and will likely be "kicked" out of the program if he doesn't step up to the plate. This isn't a matter of just switching classes, he will have to switch schools, which means leaving ALL of his friends. This child I'm talking about particularly is my lazy child. He doesn't want to do anything, ever. I get that kids can be lazy, but this one definitely tests my patience. I don't want to give up on him yet, I want to find the right motivator. Having kids is a tough job.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I hate to break it to you, but there may not BE a motivator. At least not one that you can provide.

My sister made okay grades in school but didn't apply herself. She went to a vocational college and dropped out one semester before getting her Associates' Degree. It took living in poverty for nearly two years and working inconsistent schedules and hours before she decided she HAD to take school seriously and go back. She's in college now and is doing well.

My DH? Smart and gifted just like his kids, and just like YSS, lacked drive to do the work. Did just enough to graduate high school with plans to go onto college. He knocked up BM and got married instead. Joined the military. Lived in various degrees of low income, then finally decided he had to do more. He now makes way more than I do without a degree, and he has a skill that is valuable and transferable.

My parents PUSHED my brother and sister. My brother still hasn't found his motivation, but it didn't work for either of them. My FIL PUSHED DH, and it did nothing. Your kids are their own people, and if they don't see the value or have the drive, you can't force that.

Am I saying you accept mediocrity? No. What I am saying, though, is at some point they have to live with the natural consequences of their actions, like being kicked out of their school and losing their friends. If they don't care about the fact that THEIR screw-up lost them their chance at free college, access to their friends, and probably more interesting education, there is nothing you are going to be able to do that will make them care.

stepmomof1biomomof1's picture

When my grades started slipping my mom made up a piece of paper that every teacher had to sign every day. I had to walk up to the teachers desk and get them to fill out if I had done my classwork, homework and what my current grade was. If I did not get it signed I had to sit in my room on the floor for the rest of the afternoon. It was torture but it worked!

Acratopotes's picture

I knew it.... this is proof...

I always told my parents I can feel a twin... they always denied it, just as I know for a fact BIll Gates and his wife are my real parents and mine being from Mars abducted me and raised me in their poor ass home.... I just need to get DNa to confirm I'm actually a Gates

StepUltimate's picture

Props to your parents! Simple, creative solution to hold you accountable, and it worked. Thanks for sharing!

Flying.Purple.Step.Monster's picture

It's hard at that age to see the future and how what they do now can influence it. I tried to point this out to skids.. Pointed to someone working in Walmart and told them how little they make compared to making $50/hr as a software developer.

strugglingSM's picture

Neither SS turns in their homework with any regularity. When DH says something to them, they cry to BM that DH is picking on them and she texts him and tells him he's a terrible father. Last time he said something, she told him that *my* expectations are too high for her children and *I* need to realize that she is an excellent mother.

Last weekend, we were looking at grades online and talking about where both SS's could ask their teachers for retakes in order to improve their grades. One SS said something about how DH expected to much from them. (DH was not there, so I was reviewing grades with SSs - at their request). I told this SS "your grandfather pulled your dad from all sports in the 8th grade because he did not have all As and Bs." SS replied, "yeah, but that was 20 years ago." I replied and said, "but parenting is still the same."

I've given up on both of them. I've worked on homework and I've sent reminders to them, but BM doesn't care, so they don't care. I've suggested DH take away privileges, but he doesn't want to, even though he's upset that homework doesn't go in. So, I've washed my hands of the whole thing. They will not find a sympathetic ear from me if they get booted from a sports team in high school because they don't have the GPA or if they can't get into college because their grades are terrible, that's not my problem and I won't shed one tear for them.