Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What do you do with the kid who doesn't care?

Most of you already know this: 
I was a nerd.

OK, fine, I AM a nerd.

There are many ways of being a nerd, but my particular brand of nerdiness is the kind that has not left me even to adulthood.

I am a people-pleaser.

This came in handy when I was a child. Teachers loved me. I did work simply because I was told to do it. I got As on my paper because I liked As, and so did the Authorities. I memorized times tables because my teachers wanted me to do it, and it made my parents happy. 

This is not always a good thing, of course, and I am learning that. 
But that is another can of worms. Today, I have a question for you- fellow parents, especially those of you who do not share my nerdy handicap.

What do you do with the kid who doesn't CARE?

I feel like I am learning a foreign language here!
When a kid gets a C- on a test... and doesn't cry, or hide it. Instead, the child SHRUGS!
There is not even a TUMMY ACHE when homework is forgotten and teachers are disappointed!

I pull out the big guns:
I use those crushing words, "I'm very disappointed," or "This makes my heart hurt," and instead of a child's world crumbing in repentance, I get... A SMIRK!

They are little, but I can see it coming...
"Mom, I'm not ever going to need to diagram sentences when I'm a race car driver."
"I just don't see why I'd use algebra when I'm on the road with the band!"

Mothers, what do you do with this kind of attitude?

Someone like... this guy:

 "I didn't take school seriously at all. I found I could get B's and C's with almost  no effort, so I mostly kind of skated by. I did learn some stuff, but I know I missed out on a lot and had to try to make up for it later. 

I was the poster boy for "does not work up to his potential."

"I was one of the kids your dad would never want you to hang out with..."

This guy did turn out ok, for the most part, and he even has some advice for us, which I will be sharing soon.

But first, I would like to hear your thoughts.

Slackers- what motivates you?  Teach me your language!


  1. When I was in 2nd grade, I didn't do ANY homework for an entire year. I stuffed it into my backpack, and told my mother that I didn't have any (or that I finished it at school) and I told my teacher I was sick or that I forgot it. She eventually forgot to ask me for it and life went on. When my mother found my report card, she grabbed my backpack and as she screamed at me she pulled hundreds of homework pages out of it. They were all crumpled up. And you know what she made me do? She made me complete every page.

    I never lied about homework again!

  2. Hmmm...coming from a former kid who didn't care, I can tell you what did not motivate me. Reason did not motivate me, guilt did not motivate me. Consequences sometimes motivated me. Any pressure from anyone didn't motivate me, but only served to encourage me to further dig in my heels in a state of refusal. This might be called Oppositional Defiance?

    Mom and I were discussing this the other day. I must be a lot like dad because I can really see why he likes to work for himself, and why he is successful at it. I am very capable of success, of exceeding expectations, and of being the best at whatever it is I am doing. But I only seem to do this when I am in charge, from beginning to end. Tell me how to do it and you might as well just forget it, I'll go for a walk, a long drive, leave me alone I'm not doing it. It's a who's the boss issue. :-)My motivation is almost always an internal sense of purpose and drive.

    The long-term solution for me and people like me is to find out what makes them tick, and unleash them on it. Somewhere within them there is something about which they will be passionate about. Until then, I know it was simply just in my nature to think just about everything everywhere was stupid. :-)

  3. Amy, as your father I can say, you truly are the acorn that didn't fall too far from the Oak tree.


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