I’ve got to be the most frustrated mother in the world. My son can dance, and he does, but I can’t get him to get good grades, even though he can.
I think we finally have managed to get Julian to work hard at dance. He’s always spent many hours at the studio – last year he danced five to six days a week for about three hours a pop. However, I wouldn’t have said he worked overly hard. While some of the girls came out of class dripping in sweat, Julian came out looking cool as a cucumber. This year he dances six days a week for three hours or more each day and more often than not he breaks a descent sweat in class. Plus, I do think he’s improving by leaps and bounds…well, that might be an overstatement, but he is working harder than he used to while still devoting most of his free time to dance. When it comes to schoolwork, though, it’s another story entirely.
Julian is a smart boy, which is probably why he expects schoolwork to come easily. Up until now he could get by with the minimum of effort. And homework has been a somewhat haphazard activity done in the car for the most part as we rush to and from dance classes. This year, as a freshman in high school, he has a much more difficult and demanding workload, and he just doesn’t want to knuckle down and do what it takes to get good grades. He wants the good grades, but he doesn’t want to make the effort. And his grades totally show that he doesn’t always hand in his work or study for his tests and quizzes.
We even got him a tutor recently. This has just frustrated him all the more. She has given him more work…sheets to fill out to help him study for mid terms.
So, what does it take to get him to want those good grades as badly as he wants to be a good dancer? It’s taken quite a few years for Julian to figure out that he has to work hard at dance to get any better, but that’s still fun even when he works hard, and the results are reward enough. Studying and doing homework are not fun. A’s are a descent reward, but they don’t seem to be enough of an enticement to get him to study.
And I feel not only frustrated, but…well, hurt…that he won’t put in the effort. I put in so much effort for him, and all our extra money goes to his dancing and his sisters art and swimming. And all his dad and I ask is for some hard work and good grades in return. Ah, but parents aren’t supposed to ask for anything in return, are they?
And taking dance away as a consequence? Well, we had one dance teacher tell us that wasn’t an option. We’ve taken away the Ipod. We’ve taken away texting on his phone. We’ve taken away extracurricular activities, such as going out with friends. We’ve taken away television (he only has time to watch on Sunday mornings and Saturday and Sunday nights). What else can we take away? If we take away dance, this action affects other people – all the dancers in the dances he is scheduled to perform for Teen Dance Company. That doesn’t seem fair. So, we are between a rock and a hard place.
We’ve tried consequences and punishments. We’ve tried rewards. We’ve yelled. I’ve cried.
Anyone have solutions? I’m all out.
On that note, to add a bit of levity to this post, all the mom’s out there really need to watch this video. I suggest we all play it all day long, or at least while our kids are at home, and then we won’t have to say anything at all. This mom says it all for us! (I’m sorry, I couldn’t get the actual video to post…and when you get to the site, click on the video that says, “The Mom Song.” If it doesn’t show up, do a search.)