What finally got your kid going?

<p>Cross-posted under College Admissiosn to get HSers' opinions. I apologize in advance for a long post but the recent news just became a breaking point in my attitude towards my brother.</p>

<p>Here's a big sister who can't figure out the secret to get her little brother motivated to follow through with his statements (easier said than done). Right now we're both rising juniors (me in college, him in high school). We are so different in every way- I'm very highly motivated and tend to stick with things tough as things get. I really have to work hard to get the grades I want because I'm not THAT bright. My brother, on the other hand, is really bright but absolutely lazy. He does try but just isn't performing what he's capable of. He scores ridiculously high on standardized tests (so we're looking at lopsided numbers here with his GPA). He used to be a child prodigy in my parents and grandmother's eyes but he did a 180 somewhere in middle school.</p>

<p>My parents have tried incentives to motivate him to get the grades he should be getting (ipod, etc) but they failed. My dad gave up trying talking to him shortly at the beginning of high school. My mom gave up last fall and now it's up to me to keep him on the course. The three of us know that he needs to be the one in charge of his future and we're just guiding him along with frank talks. Now they're just hands-off.</p>

<p>Right now, his course schedule for his junior year is fine with me- 2 APs, a writing class, and other typical junior year classes. But I just recently heard that he flunked his final exam in honors math and he said that he just didn't do well. (And doesn't want to go into details) It sounded like he didn't care. I know, what's past is past but I'm starting to doubt him. It does help that I give him a zing every once in a while but they don't last for long and I can't keep doing it forever. He just doesn't have the natural drive as I do so I can't understand what it must be like to be coasting along like that without care.</p>

<p>He does want to go to college like BU or Northeastern but they're getting very competitive. He doesn't want to go to our local CC or a well-matched school (considered to be my safeties) and transfer up to a better school. He wants to stay put.</p>

<p>My brother just says he'll do this or that but doesn't always get it done (example: he'll work for A- average when I told him of NYU's average incoming freshman GPA but where is it??)</p>

<p>He loves to spend his free time playing golf and hockey, video games, and watching TV. He's also working this summer for 20 hours a week. He plays hockey 4-5 times a week from September to March and then plays a spring sport. As much my parent support him with his pre-season hockey league but they just think it's just too much. He doesn't want to give it up because it helps him to relax. He doesn't do any other ECs.</p>

<p>So for those of you with kids who were/are like him- how do you deal with their academics and the college process when you don't want to push your child anymore? Especially when their actions drove you crazy with concerns and worries that they're not going anywhere with their less than stellar GPA (around 2.7). How can I convince him that he's very likely to be accepted at different schools than on his list? I was thinking of presenting him "A+ Schools for B Students" list- but not sure if he's going to like it too much. I'm also thinking of just telling my parents to call the school to drop that honors math down to regular math just because if he can't maintain a steady average on the top of other things that he wants to do, then he shouldn't take honors.</p>

<p>Yeah, looks like he needs to do some tough love- but what's the ideal level without destroying his future? I know he'll get himself somewhere but it's very hard to see that right now...</p>

<p>I really appreciate any answers/response to my dilemma... just help me relate here.</p>

<p>He'll get into the kind of school he's ready for.</p>

<p>There's no "talk" that will make a kid mature faster. Nature and experience are the only things that will do it. If he promises an A-minus in order to get into NYU, but doesn't deliver, then he doesn't belong at NYU, even if they were willing to take him.</p>

<p>He may well remain a "type B" personality as an adult. But if there's a type A lurking inside, then the one thing that's most likely to bring it out is getting stuck at a CC or a really disappointing safety school (or a menial job) and finding that he hates it there. It's not destroying his future in any way to let him flail and live with the consequences. If he wants to get back on track in a year or two, he will be able to.</p>

<p>some random thoughts on your post....</p>

<p>motivation rarely comes externally. </p>

<p>he is bright. so, he gets that if he f**ks up in high school, there will be consequences. CC may not be the worse thing for him. I tell my S that if he does well, he'll have more options. That is a better message than 'if you don't do well, things will be bad'</p>

<p>maybe listen to what his concerns and issues are. being a teenage boy can be challenging (remember all those hormones)</p>

<p>let your parents be the parent. your role is being a sister</p>

<p>so in summary: back off, let him learn for himself, be a supportive (but not pushy) sister.</p>

<p>Being the mom of 2 girls with different academic abilities- I have learned to sit back-stop comparing-no pushing (well not too much) and let my kids develop into who they are going to be and not what I want them to be.<br>
It is probably hard to be a younger sibling of a high achieving student. The comparisons are going to be made and extra pressure comes into play.
I suggest you sit back and play a supportive but quiet role.
Speaking of my little d- she is into sports too- though a solid student- Academics was not her interest. So, with a little pushing (I'll admit), we made her aware thar she could go to college and still be involved with sports. She's not playing college level but may do club or intramurals. She'll be a sports management major at SUNY Cortland. Big d is at Cornell. Coincidentally Cornell is big on hockey. Now I do not think your bro is getting into Cornell- but Ithaca college has a good sports management program (as does SUNY-Cortland). So maybe he will get a bit more excited in his studies if he can combine his love of hockey and academics. Alot of sports management programs do follow a business track, so if he wants to branch away from sports into business it is very doable. Sports Management kids also do internships- so maybe he can work with the Cornell hockey team.
You have to remember, your brother is not you. You may not be able to relate to his academic characteristics- but then again, he may not be able to relate to yours either. Accept him for who he is. If the sports management thing- sounds doable check out the website (NASSM.com) for other schools with this program- U Mich- U Mass -Temple and a whole host of other schools have this major. Actually, I think Ithaca College sounds like a solid school to look at. Good luck</p>

<p>PS- your parents may want to consider putting him in regular math. Maybe his failing Honor Math was his way of saying he didn't want to be there??</p>

<p>I suspect you need to read the Shamu article if you haven't already! <a href="http://so-damn-simple.blogspot.com/2006/06/what-i-learned-from-shamu.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://so-damn-simple.blogspot.com/2006/06/what-i-learned-from-shamu.html&lt;/a> You really can't push a teenager. What you can do is subtly tell him how wonderful college is and how he's going to like it much better than college. Positive reinforcement works better than nagging. Your brother sounds like many underachievers - they'd really be best served by taking a gap year (or 2 or 3) and applying to college based on those experiences more than their high school grades.</p>

<p>Out of personal interest, is your family well-off?
I find it that most kids like your brother are from very well-off families so they aren't particularly motivated or working towards a goal.</p>

<p>Maybe in college he will realize his true potential. Given his high test scores, it is very likely that he will be able to transfer to a college of his calibre if he becomes motivated during his freshmen year (nspeds on CC comes to mind).</p>

<p>Arrange for him to spend a day at BU and/or Northeastern talking to current freshmen and sophomores--you can just chat them up in the snack bars, cafeterias etc. ask them what it took to get admitted, if they think it was worth it, what advice they would give a high school kid. Hearing it from other kids is better than from parents or teachers.</p>

<p>Having hockey as an EC is fine. I would suggest showing him the websites for BU and Northeastern and the statistics for admitted students at these two schools. You are right that they are becoming more competitive.</p>

<p>Another thing to keep in mind: lots of male students suddenly wake up in junior year and begin to take their studies seriously. One of my S's friends, a world-class slacker, did exactly that and got into a really good college. But he really worked hard in his junior and senior years.</p>

<p>The worst thing you can do is prod him, compare him, yell at him, and move him into a lower math class. </p>

<p>The only way he'll become motivated is to find out for himself in some way that he WANTS to do something with his life. It doesn't really sound like he cares too much, or maybe he is in denial that he is not performing up to his potential. And with you as a sister, he may feel so intimidated that he doesn't see a point to putting in any effort. </p>

<p>The best thing you can do is support him in the things he does well, like hockey. Attend his games and praise him for a job well done. Then remind him that not too many CC's offer competitive hockey teams. I have never heard of bribes suchs as iPods working. The student has to want it for themselves. </p>

<p>Hopefully he'll figure out before it's too late that he should get it together grades wise. And if he doesn't in high school, maybe he will in college. And there is nothing like being kicked out of the house with no help from parents (after high school, of course) that motivates a student to beg for a college education. Maybe if nothing else works your parents should start charging rent and making him pay for his own things unless he attends college.</p>

<p>Agreed, some boys are later bloomers and for some the blooming happens even later than Jr. year of HS. Maybe your brother would do just as well and you would have lot less worry if you just come to the basic assumption that he doesn't need or want things done to or for him- he just wants to be. Being, as opposed to doing, is just fine. Really. It is not the end of the world if the epiphany happens after he is in a college that doesn't optimally match him-- My brother (2 years younger) and sister (4 years younger) were completely different than me. I worried when I was young I might have to support the younger brother when he was older (hardly the case now) and that my sister would make some bad choices (she did, but she lived through them). </p>

<p>If you are at a really cool college that has things that might be of interest to him have him come visit. Let him see what it takes to achieve what you have achieved, and then let him make the choices for himself. You do not want to ride herd when he is 30....Try to enjoy him, rather than worry about him. Remember, he is not 'failing', only not achieving to the standards expected of him by others.</p>

<p>You could be my D writing about my S - verbatim. Only difference is that my son is a rising senior and rapidly running out of time. I definitely feel for you - and your parents. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with someone who seems to just not care nor try when they have so much potential. You can't motivate someone else - the motivation has to come from within. And he won't get it until he's good and ready - if ever. I like what anitaw said about just wanting to be -that truly is my son. But very, very slowly he is starting to think about college. Every couple of weeks I glean one more little piece of information about what he might want to study, size of school, athletic opportunities and Greek life. Slowly a list is being formed. But it has literally taken months of my (and his sister and father and everybody and his brother who asks "where are you going to school and what are you going to study?") questions to get him to start thinking about it. He still doesn't care to put any effort into his academics even though he likes to take a relatively difficult courseload. </p>

<p>I think peers have the greatest influence. So when your brother is around other kids and they start talking about college and where they'll be applying is probably when he'll start to engage in the process a little more. </p>

<p>I wish you luck.</p>

<p>Thank you all for your comforting words. I think I just needed some reassurance though CC has seen this kind of topic in the past year or so.</p>

<p>fredo- when my brother does say something about school or college, we just let him talk and be in charge of the discussion. As for peers- he can't stand the kids at his HS... too "snobby" and "not geniune" and the fact that they have money and don't work hard for it. Also he's trying to push away those who don't care about the academics but at the same time trying to reach out for the more motivated ones without coming off as a smart kid (you know... that nerd type). We just wish that he'd find a good friend who would support him with his goals. It's one of the reasons I encouraged him to pick up 2 APs in the fall- he'll find more motivated kids in there.</p>

<p>As much I'd like to see him take break from Honors math so he has a chance to redeem his grades but it's going to be pre-calc, a totally different way of thinking and nothing like he's seen before. So I'll just sit back on this year and see if he'll click better with calculus than Algebra 2.</p>

<p>My mom is trying to schedule some time in Boston for a visit to BU and Northeastern (I have two friends at NU) but... the problem is hockey! That sport literally rules his life from September to March- there are simply no breaks. He can't remember what's the last time he actually had a real vacation. </p>

<p>Yeah.... he has no idea what he wants to do with his life though he's interested in making money off the stocks on Wall Street :) Now I know that feeling- hard to be motivated with your coursework if you don't know what you're going to get out of it!</p>