Author Topic: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.  (Read 1778 times)

sjc0816

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Three weeks into summer and we are struggling. My two kids (11 and 9) are just not holding up their end of the bargain so far. All I ask is for daily reading, math practice a few times a week, instrument practice daily for my older son and triathlon training for older son.

My recommendation for my older son was to think REALLY hard about sticking with his instrument and the time commitment involved (on top of his other sports commitments). He begged to keep playing. Okay, fine. Then, he begs me to sign him up for a triathlon in July. We talked about the time commitment that goes along with training for that for probably three weeks before he finally wore me down and I signed him up. He swore up and down that he would put the time in.

So, you can see where this is going. None of this is happening....and it's creating a lot of turmoil in our house. I can say without a doubt that I am probably not managing the situation the best way. I feel like if ODS committed to these things, it is HIS responsibility to make the time to train/practice without me nagging him constantly. Not happening. He has the time - but he's choosing to lay around, watch TV, etc instead.

We just had a major blow up....and I told him that after his athletic camp this afternoon, we are going to sit down and figure out how we can accomplish these things....and try and eliminate some of the fighting.

That's why I'm here - looking for some advice. Tips? Strategies?

He's a smart kid...loves a challenge....but can be a typical tween. So it makes it challenging. He tested into 8th grade math instead of 7th for next year....which is why he needs to stay on top of math this summer. These were things we certainly discussed before deciding to skip a math grade. But he isn't working on it. I don't know if he needs a daily list? Or if that's micromanaging him?

« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 03:24:35 PM by sjc0816 »

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2018, 05:29:17 PM »
I think you doing his daily list is micromanaging.  If he comes up with his list and what HE thinks is reasonable to get down thatís a start.  Then I would ask him for the consequence if he doesnít compete his last.   What is the reason that he is not not completing his list?   Is it just the TV?   If he is just relaxing, is it because he is over scheduled other to,es and needs a little down time or this is always the cSe? 

Also, what would happen if he does poorly in the triathlon?

I would have home come in with a detailed plan, go over it with him to make sure he has enough detail to follow through, have home come up with some strategies, and consequence that he doesnít follow through.  You can guide him if it doesnít seem feasible. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2018, 07:40:06 AM »
I banned electronics until the daily stuff is done - read some, put on actual clothes, eat breakfast, and do daily chores.  THEN they can turn the tv on.

If they don't do those things one day, they lose all electronics access the following day. 

There is a lot of grumbling, especially with the 9-year-old, but so far things are getting done.

FIRE@50

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2018, 07:51:18 AM »
I banned electronics until the daily stuff is done - read some, put on actual clothes, eat breakfast, and do daily chores.  THEN they can turn the tv on.

If they don't do those things one day, they lose all electronics access the following day. 

There is a lot of grumbling, especially with the 9-year-old, but so far things are getting done.

This is pretty similar to what we do. My daughter is 8 and loves to stare at the iPad. She has a list of things that she is required to do before using it. They are things like, eat meals, do homework, read a book, etc. This has been going on for a couple years now. She knows what she has to do to earn screen time.

GuitarStv

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2018, 08:00:57 AM »
What are you going to do when your son gets to university and hates playing his instrument, refuses to ever participate in a sporting event again, and has no idea how to motivate himself to study hard for math?  You won't have control over his screen time to punish him . . . he'll have to fall back on the skills of perseverance that he learned (or didn't learn) earlier on.

I think that you're doing a really good job of ensuring that your son learns to hate playing his instrument.  An awful lot of practice is certainly required to become a good musician . . . but the drive to do it needs to come from within.  If you want someone to play more, you need to help them find instruction at their level that they really enjoy doing.  You can't force love of an instrument, but you can certainly force hatred (it's pretty damned common actually).  It doesn't matter if your son becomes technically proficient in an instrument that he reviles.

I'd also argue something similar for the triathlon.  At the end of the day, your son has to compete in the triathlon.  I'd make the rule that he has to compete on the date, and leave the training up to him.  If he doesn't train, he will be lucky to complete.  If he half-asses the training, he might complete. . . but will probably come near dead last.  These are both excellent outcomes.  People learn best from mistakes that they make.  I know that you're well intentioned, but by attempting to prevent your sons from experiencing failure due to their own choices you're doing them a great disservice.  Guide him to the best training methods, but then let him decide what he'll do.

With the math, again . . . I suspect you're doing him a disservice.  If he wants to skip ahead, let him.  If he can't handle it, then have him repeat the grade.  These failures are essential to development of drive and work ethic.  Things shouldn't be easy.  If they come without the hard work, mistakes, and failure, they aren't as valuable.

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 08:11:58 AM »
If he already tested into the higher grade of math, why does he need to practice over the summer? If these aren't real world problems or fun puzzles, even I wouldn't have done them and I was a real nerd who taught myself a couple months of pre-calc while studying abroad.

With the instrument, cut the required time in half. He just might keep going once he picks it up, but will feel more in control of his time. If he is practicing more than twice a week, believe him that he enjoys it and don't make it a chore. He doesn't need to be a professional to enjoy playing an instrument.

As for the triathalon, if he doesn't complete it, have him pay you back the entry fee and leave the training up to him. In the future, have him pay all such fees upfront, possibly offering to reimburse if he completes or personal record.

sjc0816

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2018, 08:13:14 AM »
What are you going to do when your son gets to university and hates playing his instrument, refuses to ever participate in a sporting event again, and has no idea how to motivate himself to study hard for math?  You won't have control over his screen time to punish him . . . he'll have to fall back on the skills of perseverance that he learned (or didn't learn) earlier on.

I think that you're doing a really good job of ensuring that your son learns to hate playing his instrument.  An awful lot of practice is certainly required to become a good musician . . . but the drive to do it needs to come from within.  If you want someone to play more, you need to help them find instruction at their level that they really enjoy doing.  You can't force love of an instrument, but you can certainly force hatred (it's pretty damned common actually).  It doesn't matter if your son becomes technically proficient in an instrument that he reviles.

I'd also argue something similar for the triathlon.  At the end of the day, your son has to compete in the triathlon.  I'd make the rule that he has to compete on the date, and leave the training up to him.  If he doesn't train, he will be lucky to complete.  If he half-asses the training, he might complete. . . but will probably come near dead last.  These are both excellent outcomes.  People learn best from mistakes that they make.  I know that you're well intentioned, but by attempting to prevent your sons from experiencing failure due to their own choices you're doing them a great disservice.  Guide him to the best training methods, but then let him decide what he'll do.

With the math, again . . . I suspect you're doing him a disservice.  If he wants to skip ahead, let him.  If he can't handle it, then have him repeat the grade.  These failures are essential to development of drive and work ethic.  Things shouldn't be easy.  If they come without the hard work, mistakes, and failure, they aren't as valuable.

I have no problem letting my son fail. It has happened many times. However, holding him accountable to his promises when we have spent a LOT of money on these things...is different. The math isn't as much of an issue for me. The instrument that we just purchased.....the triathlon we paid for - is where my frustration is coming from. Maybe it's a lesson learned for us as parents to just say NO. But, these are positive things for him....and if he wants to do them, it's hard for us to tell him no. But we also want to hold him accountable...when we've invested money.

GuitarStv

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2018, 08:21:40 AM »
What are you going to do when your son gets to university and hates playing his instrument, refuses to ever participate in a sporting event again, and has no idea how to motivate himself to study hard for math?  You won't have control over his screen time to punish him . . . he'll have to fall back on the skills of perseverance that he learned (or didn't learn) earlier on.

I think that you're doing a really good job of ensuring that your son learns to hate playing his instrument.  An awful lot of practice is certainly required to become a good musician . . . but the drive to do it needs to come from within.  If you want someone to play more, you need to help them find instruction at their level that they really enjoy doing.  You can't force love of an instrument, but you can certainly force hatred (it's pretty damned common actually).  It doesn't matter if your son becomes technically proficient in an instrument that he reviles.

I'd also argue something similar for the triathlon.  At the end of the day, your son has to compete in the triathlon.  I'd make the rule that he has to compete on the date, and leave the training up to him.  If he doesn't train, he will be lucky to complete.  If he half-asses the training, he might complete. . . but will probably come near dead last.  These are both excellent outcomes.  People learn best from mistakes that they make.  I know that you're well intentioned, but by attempting to prevent your sons from experiencing failure due to their own choices you're doing them a great disservice.  Guide him to the best training methods, but then let him decide what he'll do.

With the math, again . . . I suspect you're doing him a disservice.  If he wants to skip ahead, let him.  If he can't handle it, then have him repeat the grade.  These failures are essential to development of drive and work ethic.  Things shouldn't be easy.  If they come without the hard work, mistakes, and failure, they aren't as valuable.

I have no problem letting my son fail. It has happened many times. However, holding him accountable to his promises when we have spent a LOT of money on these things...is different. The math isn't as much of an issue for me. The instrument that we just purchased.....the triathlon we paid for - is where my frustration is coming from. Maybe it's a lesson learned for us as parents to just say NO. But, these are positive things for him....and if he wants to do them, it's hard for us to tell him no. But we also want to hold him accountable...when we've invested money.

Then this kinda gets back to the last two sentences of my post.

If your son wants to run in a triathlon or to get an instrument, let him do odd jobs until he can afford to do so . . . don't give it to him without any work and expect him to value it.

elliha

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2018, 08:45:18 AM »
I think you should sit down and discuss things.

Does he want to play his instrument? If so, let him keep track of how much he has practiced and practice that is not the piece the teacher picked out still counts. In real life we play what we want most of the time anyway and all playing goes towards learning technical skills. He is most likely going to be an every day player of an instrument and then learning to play "something" is often enough. If he doesn't play you just go ahead and list the instrument for sale and see if that works, if not he is not really into it whatever he says.

Does he still like triathlon? If so, why does he not practice outside his official practices? Does he feel that the formal bit that you paid for is enough? If so I would just accept that. If he wants to practice but feels hindered by something you get together to solve it. If he has changed his mind? Ask him to do a couple more practices and then if he is still not into it let him quit and yes, let that be part of the lesson for you and him and don't let him talk you into things that you don't think will work out.

With math it is as simple as does he want to skip a grade or not? If he wants to but still don't practice well he is going to struggle then but that will be his head ache. You have reminded him of this but he didn't and he is capable of making that decision then he is also capable of handling the consequences. If he might not want to do it even though he is good enough, well let him make that decision, he is hardly going to suffer from being good at math and in his regular year.

I also agree that restriction of devices and TV for that matter may be a good way of motivating him. Don't make it a punishment as much as a decision by you. "I have decided that this week will be I-pad/TV/computer etc. free from x-y o'clock and then you get to do z amount of time and then we put it away again. Humanity has survived without I-pads for millennia, you can do one week." If they do reasonable things when off the devices you may reward them if you like but this should not be known before they have actually done the whole week.

Dee18

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2018, 09:05:39 AM »
With the triathlon, is there a local running group he could attend?  All the shoe shops in my city have one night a week when they do group runs, same for the bike shops with rides.  Can he make an excel sheet to keep track of his training?

Re both kids, our tv went in the closet every summer, for the whole summer.  We didnít have WiFi when my kid was the age of yours, but I would probably also only have that on at certain times, for just a couple hours a day.  The World Wide Web is infinitely distracting.  I am now a professor and am continually frustrated that my graduate students arenít as enthralled by their subjects as I was....but I strongly suspect I would not have spent nearly as much time studying if I had had the entertainment  of WiFi.

As for math and reading, you could try setting goals to meet instead of time to be spent.  Such as read one book a week and give an oral report to the family versus read a certain amount a day. Even better if you can brainstorm with the kids and have them come up with goals. 

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2018, 12:47:27 PM »
I'm going to land on the side of let him suffer the consequences. This sounds like a mid to later teen. In other words, fully capable of earning money to pay for whatever activities. And he will do better in the long term if he completely flops now and figures out how to do it on his own.

Parent - time to loosen the strings. If you don't want to spend the money, then next time said teen wants to do something that requires money, tell him no. He can earn the money himself, that you're not going to pay for something that he doesn't follow through on. He'll figure it out.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2018, 12:50:58 PM »
I have no problem letting my son fail. It has happened many times. However, holding him accountable to his promises when we have spent a LOT of money on these things...is different. The math isn't as much of an issue for me. The instrument that we just purchased.....the triathlon we paid for - is where my frustration is coming from. Maybe it's a lesson learned for us as parents to just say NO. But, these are positive things for him....and if he wants to do them, it's hard for us to tell him no. But we also want to hold him accountable...when we've invested money.

I completely understand this.  For us, future spending is based on past results.  Last year the 12-year-old asked to play club volleyball.  I signed her up for mini-club (1/3 of the price, 1/4 of the time) and told her that if she practiced on her own, had a great attitude, and her skills actually improved, I'd let her try out for club this summer.  She met all of my expectations, so now I'll be handing over $$$ for a full club season.  (Sigh.  I was reallllly hoping she wouldn't like it.)

She wanted to play the guitar when she was younger.  I refused to buy one until she stuck with piano lessons and practice for 6 months (we had a piano; she only lasted 10 weeks, so no guitar).  She plays in the school band now with a school-owned instrument.  I refused to buy the fancy accessories she wanted until this week - she's proved to me that she will practice on her own and is passionate about it.

If she stops practicing her horn, I stop paying for private lessons.  I won't pay for running club at school next year, because she stopped going regularly halfway through the school.  If she wants to try again, she has to pay for it.

So, if your son doesn't hold up his end of the deal on the instrument or the triathlon, what does that mean for future spending or for future investments of time?

sjc0816

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2018, 02:25:41 PM »
I'm going to land on the side of let him suffer the consequences. This sounds like a mid to later teen. In other words, fully capable of earning money to pay for whatever activities. And he will do better in the long term if he completely flops now and figures out how to do it on his own.

Parent - time to loosen the strings. If you don't want to spend the money, then next time said teen wants to do something that requires money, tell him no. He can earn the money himself, that you're not going to pay for something that he doesn't follow through on. He'll figure it out.

He's 11. I agree he should (and will) have some skin in the game moving forward.....but it's pretty hard for an 11 year old to earn $300 to buy an instrument. I consider this part of my job as his parent, to pay for things like this....same with most of his other extra curricular activities. The races/triathlon is probably different. He's run several races in the past and I've paid for those too. Maybe he needs to spend his own money on these.

sjc0816

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2018, 02:30:59 PM »
I have no problem letting my son fail. It has happened many times. However, holding him accountable to his promises when we have spent a LOT of money on these things...is different. The math isn't as much of an issue for me. The instrument that we just purchased.....the triathlon we paid for - is where my frustration is coming from. Maybe it's a lesson learned for us as parents to just say NO. But, these are positive things for him....and if he wants to do them, it's hard for us to tell him no. But we also want to hold him accountable...when we've invested money.

I completely understand this.  For us, future spending is based on past results.  Last year the 12-year-old asked to play club volleyball.  I signed her up for mini-club (1/3 of the price, 1/4 of the time) and told her that if she practiced on her own, had a great attitude, and her skills actually improved, I'd let her try out for club this summer.  She met all of my expectations, so now I'll be handing over $$$ for a full club season.  (Sigh.  I was reallllly hoping she wouldn't like it.)

She wanted to play the guitar when she was younger.  I refused to buy one until she stuck with piano lessons and practice for 6 months (we had a piano; she only lasted 10 weeks, so no guitar).  She plays in the school band now with a school-owned instrument.  I refused to buy the fancy accessories she wanted until this week - she's proved to me that she will practice on her own and is passionate about it.

If she stops practicing her horn, I stop paying for private lessons.  I won't pay for running club at school next year, because she stopped going regularly halfway through the school.  If she wants to try again, she has to pay for it.

So, if your son doesn't hold up his end of the deal on the instrument or the triathlon, what does that mean for future spending or for future investments of time?

This is very helpful and I'll probably use this philosophy moving forward to some degree. He has proven himself in the past. He signed up for both a 5k and a 7-mile obstacle course race last year....trained for them and did extremely well. I had to ride him a little to train for them...but he did it without complaining (I think part of his problem is that he FORGETS, honestly). The end result of him training and completing these races is pretty amazing....so it's hard for me to say no! Even though lately I'm regretting it.

Thanks for the advice!

sjc0816

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2018, 02:32:18 PM »
If he already tested into the higher grade of math, why does he need to practice over the summer? If these aren't real world problems or fun puzzles, even I wouldn't have done them and I was a real nerd who taught myself a couple months of pre-calc while studying abroad.

With the instrument, cut the required time in half. He just might keep going once he picks it up, but will feel more in control of his time. If he is practicing more than twice a week, believe him that he enjoys it and don't make it a chore. He doesn't need to be a professional to enjoy playing an instrument.

As for the triathalon, if he doesn't complete it, have him pay you back the entry fee and leave the training up to him. In the future, have him pay all such fees upfront, possibly offering to reimburse if he completes or personal record.

I do like the idea of having him pay me back or vice versa after the race. Thanks!

Roadrunner53

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2018, 02:47:50 PM »
I don't have kids but I do agree on cutting back on the electronics because not only the kids but the parents need to cut back as well. Seems our society is turning into zombies with cell phones. People walking down the street with their eyes glued to the phone. People driving cars texting and playing with the phones while all over the road and over the center line.

I suggest a happy medium. Let the kids ENJOY summer off. I am sure the parents did and have forgotten that summer is like heaven on earth for kids out of school. My suggestion is to tell them you expect XYZ but don't make it like military school. Tell them you want stuff done by 11 am then they have the rest of the day to enjoy.

They will only be kids a short while. Let them enjoy summer! I know I did and yes, my parents let me be a lazy ass. I could have used some discipline but I think a little work and a lot of play is what these kids need. Not to be marched like soldiers. They will never be kids again! Let them have some fun memories.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 01:38:35 PM by Roadrunner53 »

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2018, 04:58:07 PM »
As an ex-triathlete, I've seen waaay too many parents push their kids into the sport. If it's a one-off thing for them, that's one thing. But if it's regular triaathlon training, I don't know any 11-year-olds who want to do that on a regular basis -- or who will stick with it. And I say that as the parent of a competitive swimmer who lived myself in the triathlon world for a decade.

We all fight the battle with screens. As the parent of boys 15 and 13, I figured I'd be worried by now about drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, etc. Nope. One hundred percent of our parenting drama is over screens. It's the elephant in the living nobody wants to discuss since we're all so baffled by it. If kids have free time, they will turn to a screen. Period. It's baffling.


TheWifeHalf

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2018, 06:02:06 PM »
I guess the math is something I can relate to our daughter.
When she was in 7th grade, she said she wanted to skip the 8th. (I had no doubt she could)  I told her she needed to do ALL the preparations for this, and to keep us up to date on what's going on.
I can't remember exactly what all was involved, but I know she arranged meetings with a few teachers, and the principal, the school counselor, handled it all herself.
Then one day, she came home from school and said she's going to be a freshman next year!

We totally let her do what was necessary to get what she wanted, to happen.

Her older brother was in a junior golf league in the summer, starting at age 10, and basically took care of that too. There were about 15 tournaments in the summer. It was his job to get a list of were he wanted to be, and arrange it with me, to make sure I wasn't running around with another kid.

Your son is eleven. That is exactly the age that I've found that boys have to do 'man' things. I learned this when our oldest took an ax and chopped the garden  hose in 2.
The HusbandHalf and I talked about it, and decided our prior 'hardly got into any trouble 11 yr old,' needed something that would feel like he was growing, he should be able to do more grown up things. So, we had a tree out back, maybe 6" in diameter that we thought could be chopped down for such an important lesson, and let him have at it. Took him all summer, but he chopped down that tree - like a man! He got a little older and THH showed him how to run the chainsaw.
He had run the John Deere lawn tractor sporadically, but it was now his job, and later his little brother's, to mow the lawn.
We had a wood chipper at the time, so after a lesson from THH, he was in charge of taking care of limbs on the lawn. It was his job to keep the lawn free of limbs, and put the mulch he made on the beds of flowers. There were times that were fun too, throwing old zuchinni in the wood chipper, mowing the grass FAST (but safe)

THH and I should have thought of this need on our own. When I was growing up, my Dad restored old cars. When my brothers were about 12, they got what looked to be a piece of junk. When they were 16, they had '57 Chevy, a 50's Ford, and I can't remember the other.
THH told me just yesterday, when we drove by a house, that he dug around the foundation when he was 16. He did many different physical jobs, that he got paid for, when he had the 'need to do man things' feeling.

I do not know what a parent would do today, in their situation (city?) but I suggest thinking of things your son can do, to take care of his need to do grownup stuff.

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2018, 01:35:30 PM »
When I was a kid, my mom provided me with an allowance (I forget details, but it wasn't generous), opportunities to earn extra money through chores, and responsibility to pay for X% of _____ activities (in my case it was 50% of sports activities, but obviously the actual number and actual events aren't the point...).  Would something similar work for your son?  I'm old enough that a "paper route" was a real job (and I had one from age 10 though to be clear, it wasn't strenuous and in retrospect I had plenty of parental support and supervision), so obviously, update for contemporary conditions, but all the same.

For reference, my kid's also 11 and didn't in fact test into the "higher" middle school math but will probably land there because his teacher recommended him and we (his parents) requested the placement.  He's spending the summer traveling (with us) and going to some summer camps and hanging out with friends and really has no "responsibilities" whatsoever (outside of stuff like emptying the dishwasher when told to and being kind to/vaguely responsible-ish for younger cousins when in their presence).  Oh, and yes, we too are working to limit screen time, so we have that in common with your family.  So ... whatever works for you, but definitely not every 11-year old is charged with completing tasks or doing academic work over the summer.

Laura33

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2018, 08:45:56 AM »
Pick your battles.  Not keeping up in math has possible long-term consequences to him.  Failing at the triathlon or music has consequences only to you (i.e., it frustrates the hell out of you).  So your top priority has to be the math.  Expect him to come up with (a) a plan for how/when/how much math work he is going to do, and (b) incentives/disincentives that will require him to stick to it.  E.g., no video games until after the math is done.  And then back off completely:  your only job from this point on is to be the dispassionate Assessor of Consequences.*

For the other things, offer to help him brainstorm ways to do them if he really just needs organizational help, but do not impose consequences.  These are optional, fun things for him, so if he doesn't want to do them, well, it's a learning experience for you about fronting big money for optional things.  I really like formerlydivorcedmom's advice about basing future expenditures on whether past behavior has met established expectations.  For ex., one of the things that we did with both kids is offered them private music lessons, which they both said they wanted.  But I said we weren't going to do that until they had practiced at least 3x/week for 15 minutes/day for a month.  Neither one of them (to date) has met that very very basic criterion, so no private lessons.  Basically, they wanted to be good musicians in the same way that I want to lose weight, i.e., want the results without being willing to put in the effort to get there.  That's their right -- and it's also my right not to fund it. 

Oh, and FYI:  even if your kids aren't old enough to get regular jobs, you can always give them the opportunity to earn the money they need by doing things around the house.  I always have a list of things my kids can do if they want to earn money for something.  If your kid wants to enter a race or upgrade his instrument, you can absolutely come up with ways for him to "earn" the right to do so, even if in the end the actual money comes from you.  The point is to give the kid a way to demonstrate his commitment to whatever it is before you fork over the cash.


*In fact, it can be helpful if you can be empathetic about it, e.g., "yeah, boy, it really sucks that you can't go out with your friends this weekend."  Assuming you can pull it off without an I-told-you-so attitude.  :-)

mxt0133

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2018, 10:00:52 AM »
We all fight the battle with screens. As the parent of boys 15 and 13, I figured I'd be worried by now about drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, etc. Nope. One hundred percent of our parenting drama is over screens. It's the elephant in the living nobody wants to discuss since we're all so baffled by it. If kids have free time, they will turn to a screen. Period. It's baffling.

The reason kids will turn to a screen is if that is what they are used to or if there is nothing more compelling to do.  If that is all they know how to do, you really can't fault them for not wanting to go outside or do something outside of screen time. 

How did they get screens in the first place?  Do they use it during car rides?  It is required for their school work?  Look back and see how it has evolved and maybe it won't be such a battle as you put it.

We were very conscious of screen time since our first born.  We got rid of cable and our TV when he was born, but over the years we were gifted tablets and a TV so they are more accustomed to it.  However, our kids for the most part have grown up without heavy screen time so we don't really get into battles over it.  We have one or two movie nights a week and they get two one hour screen days for fun once a week.  The do online work like Khan academy and Rosetta Stone on top of that.

As they get older we will stop restricting their screen time and let them self regulate.  I am not going to be fighting with them over it.  However, if it starts impacting their other responsibilities then I'll just turn off internet access of confiscate it until their responsibilities are done.  By the time they are 10+ if they want to be on the screen all day I can't really force them to want to do something else.

Funny you mentioned 'elephant in the room'.  This book is what basically convinced me to get rid of our TV.

https://www.amazon.com/Elephant-Living-Room-Make-Television/dp/1594862761/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1529942382&sr=8-2&keywords=TV+elephant+in+the+room+book

Rivertop

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2018, 04:43:40 PM »
I have a high school sophomore and we've been having the gaming conversations since 5th grade. And I will say I think our kid now makes better choices. In 5th grade we had to cut off gaming during the week because he would rush through homework to get onto xbox. That rule still is there today and we don't even have to reinforce it. He just knows. The weekends are a lot more lax, and his gaming time has ebbed and flowed as he's gotten older and his interests have changed. During the summers, we have let him earn gaming time during the week - 1 hour of reading = 30 minutes of game time; he has to create a plan for how he will get through his required summer reading. He hates doing that plan, but then he follows it and gets it done. My hope is that he's learning habits. He did the plan on his own this summer - yipee!

One time the kid stayed out past his curfew 15 minutes. He knew he had done it. When he got home, I gave him a kiss on the head and told him I loved him, I would see him in the morning and went to bed. I'm thinking he thought he had dodged his punishment. Ha! A few nights later he asked if he could go out with his friends. I told him 'Bummer' (that's my word) and I didn't think that was a good idea because the last time he had been out he couldn't get home on time so I thought he should stay in with his parents. He was a little speechless, but understood. He's never been late again. I think I learned that from Love and Logic, and I use that tactic all.the.time. Maybe if your kid doesn't train for the triathalon, say nothing, give him a giant hug afterwards and tell him you love him. Then the next time he wants money for something, try 'what a bummer', remind him about the money you spent for the triathalon and tell him you don't want to do that again. Then come up with some way for him to pay half, all, whatever.

Raising kids is tough and I applaud your love of your kid!!

cats

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2018, 05:24:51 PM »
With regards to costs, perhaps you can give him a budget for his activities for the year/month/quarter (whatever frequency makes most sense) and tell him he needs to make his activities fit into his budget OR figure out how to earn some money to augment his activity budget.

Aside from that, it sounds like you are frustrated that he is spending time on screens instead of doing math/music/triathalon.  As others have suggested, I think I would impose some limits on screen time...either he has to "earn" it by doing his math/music/triathalon, or it isn't allowed to go on until X time (and then has to go off by Y time). 

With the triathlon training, does he have any friends doing the event with him that he can train with?  Seems like he might be more motivated if there was a social aspect.  Training for a triathalon by myself at that age sounds pretty dull.

Cgbg

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Re: Holding kids accountable over the summer - needing ideas.
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2018, 07:47:47 PM »
I was back working full time by the time my kids were your age. They didnít want to do camps. Result? They stayed at home and did whatever. I didnít limit screen time either. Iím more of a natural consequences sort of parent.

My kids were both advanced in math. Oldest traveled to the high school for Algebra 2 during 7th grade (finished Calc his freshman year of high school.) Summers were for kicking back, not advancing even more. The only two things they had to do during the summer was continue weekly piano practices with their piano teacher (half hour a week and piano teacher came over here when I was at work) and go on a 2-week bike trip with DH. Other than that they had increasing freedom of movement (yes, you can bike down to local small town or slightly further metropolitan downtown. Alone. Just be safe.) I recommend a certain amount of boredom- itís actually a motivator. Ymmv.

I read all the stuff you want your kid to do- and Iíd do just the opposite. Kids can be kids. After a few days or even a couple of weeks of doing nothing, itís likely that boredom will set in. My kids would go running on their own- or together or with friends. Itíd get them out if the house for a change of scenery. I donít know about you, but I canít stand staying in my house for three days straight.

(Again, ymmv. Oldest was valedictorian and is currently on a full ride studying engineering. He runs every morning. He works part time (remotely) for an engineering consulting firm year round. Heís doing a research internship this summer too. And heís an editor for the university newspaper. I donít think heís been hindered by kicking back during his middle school years.)