So this is my step-son Mason. He just turned 10 at the start of September and he's our oldest of the four kids. I love him to bits but he's tiring on my patience and really forces me to think outside the box. He's a damn smart kid, way beyond his years in intelligence, which is fantastic. Unfortunately, Mason lacks everyday skills he needs to succeed. His main two issues are lack of responsibility and respect.
I moved in with Mason's dad when he was 7 years old. Studies suggest that once a child hits 7 years, they have already become who they will be based on his experiences and his genes. Mason was raised to this point by parents that believed that children should have whatever they want, whenever they want it, no matter what. That as parents, we are their closest friend and should entertain them constantly. No parent is perfect, it's a trial and error process and the best parents are ones that can see where they went wrong and change it.
So it's not Mason's fault that he's irresponsible and disrespectful. He gets away with it now and has always gotten away with it before. But now it's affecting his school work and is obvious in his report cards.
He's frustrated, he doesn't understand why he gets these marks. His dad doesn't know what to do and his mom gives him excuses. Dad asked me for help and this is what I did.
1. I went through his report card line by line and pulled out the major issues.
2. I made Mason a worksheet with questions such as the following:
- What do you like about school?
- What's your best subject?
- Why do you think it's important to do well in ...... subject?
- How do you think you can improve your mark in that subject?
3. We gave Mason time to fill it out on his own
4. We discussed each line with him being as positive as possible
5. We determined that we needed encouragement/disciplinary measures. Hockey, he loves hockey. So we signed him up for hockey.
6. We also decided that it was too long for us to wait until the next report card to monitor his progress. Check out this website - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/06/study_daily_report_cards_impro.html
So daily reports were necessary in Mason's case.
We found an online pdf file that offered a quick daily report for his teacher to fill out - http://www.lauracandler.com/filecabinet/misc/DailyReport.pdf
If Mason gets a bad report, or he forgets his report at school, he misses out on hockey that weekend. If he gets a good report, he goes to hockey and he receives points to use towards a dinner out - his choice.
Here's to hoping that this plan works! I'm pretty convince that it's all about consistency with kids, and dammit, I'm stubborn enough to be consistent!
Good Luck Mason! I love you!