07 February 2011


Report cards came home the other day. Baby girl is a solid C student, granted its only 1st grade but seeing it on paper got to me. Just another thing I have to add to my list of things to work on. Its becoming a long list, between her faults and my own I'm beginning to wonder if I can actually do this. What if I can't? what if deep down I'm not cut out to raise a child alone?

I'm scared....

See I'm scared that I'm going to mess this up. What happens if I can't reach her? what if I can't get her to focus and teach her the value of hard work? What if I'm just can't do this? The moment I start to slip my baby momma will run up to the court house waving a report card and saying how I'm failing as a parent. I don't have much room for error. So on top of everything else I have to instill some kind of work ethic into this lil girl. Our daily schedule has to be adjusted because obviously we are not spending enough time on schoolwork. LMS is a smart girl, shes just not motivated. All she cares about is playing and candy, I know thats top priority for kids in general but she applies it to everything. So unless she's getting a instant reward she doesn't apply herself, You have to stay on her to keep her focused. The thing is I'm the same way, I lose focus all the time. So how can I teach her stuff I haven't learned? I need her to care.

She started a karate class a couple weeks ago, and its rare that I get to see her in a class environment since usually when she is in class i'm at work. Watching her in class I realize she barely focuses on anything thats not fun. She is much more concerned with having fun then paying attention. She is a ball of energy and I have to figure out how to help her focus it in 1 direction. So going back to her grades, its not that she doesn't know the work. She just doesn't want to do it because its not fun, its work. Learning is fun, quizzes and tests are not. So when she encounters something thats hard and she doesn't want to do she makes up reasons to get out of it. She suddenly gets a tummy ache or has to use the bathroom, it's actually impressive how she has learned to manipulate people to avoid doing hard work.

It's impressive but it has to stop. I have to be harder on her, explain that I expect more. Me going easy is easier for both of us but it isn't helping anyone in the long run. I have to find a iron fist to run my house with.

in the mean time does anyone know if they have a age requirement for scared straight?


Adrienne said...

((HUGS)) Hang in there. You CAN do it. Don't think just because you are a single parent you can't do it. My son is 9 and he is the same way. We are STILL struggling with him, trying to find ways to motivate him to do better. We've taken everything he loves until his grades are back up. He has been more focused in the past two weeks than he has the entire semester!

This is a really good interactive website www.ixl.com The only way he can use the computer right now is if he is on this site.

iamsmarter said...

I think your fears are completely natural, but I also think what you're facing is completely natural, too. At her age it's somewhat natural for kids to lose focus easily as they navigate what they find interesting, adapt to school, and establish their own work habits.

I agree with the previous comment. Sometimes incentives are strong motivators for kids. I was a mediocre student until about 5/6th grade, which is when incentives really started meaning a lot to me - grounding, taking away electronics, etc. I was a stellar student after that. You might just have to figure out what kind of incentives/punishments are most effective for her and plan accordingly.

Either way, don't be so hard on yourself! Going from joint custody to full custody is a HUGE transition for both of you, so I'd chalk this up as growing pains ... but no reason to doubt yourself. :-)

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

You can try a reward system. My mom's paid me $5 for every A, $4 for every B and nuthin after that. Or if you don't want to use money, use something she wants - a new Barbie doll, a visit to someplace...but a reward system generally works. And when I used it for my own kids I justified it by saying that as an adult I'm rewarded for hard work - a raise, a bonus, a promotion, etc.

12kyle said...

I agree with the others. You're doing a damn good job. This is a HUGE transition for both of you. It takes time. Just keep doing what you're doing. We all go through the same thing as parents. Keep pluggin away and you'll be good.

The Jaded NYer said...

You can just enroll her in El Generalissimo's tutoring program. We have satellite classes run by my sister who, believe it or not, is more militant than I am.

We'll straighten her out just fine...

Shawn Smith said...

Dave. I know nothing about raising children but I will offer you this bit of advice from another parent about raising daughters:


RealHustla said...

Are you sure you don't have my baby over there? I have a parent teacher conference today at 5:00 pm and I am SCARED.

Thoughtsofsoutherngal said...

My son is 5 and sometimes I think maybe I'm just not cut out to be a parent. I'm told all parents go through this stage. LMS sounds just like O. Just like him! It's like I have to bribe him to do his work. He can do it but sometimes he just doesn't want to do it. My son is like two balls energy. Just today one of my coworkers ask how my son was doing in school now. I told her about the same. She told me this is normal and don't feel bad. She has 5 kids and said she went through the same thing with all 5 of her kids.

Kids are smarter than we think. Just stay on her.

I actually recorded an episode of scared straight. I wish I had recorded the one with Diabla. lol

Alovelydai said...

You wanna switch kids?

P.S. I love this... said...

Hang in there.. you're doing well with LMS and as you discover her needs and challenges, you will acclimate and figure it out. It's all about finding what works to motivate her, as you said. Every child varies.. my daugther, just turned 18, only child, was never really pressed for toys and stuff like that when she was younger. So putting her on punishment and taking away T.V., outside, etc, did nothing. She would just read and be quite content with having everything taken away.. But then I discovered that I never took away her music.. that's when I hit the jackpot. To her that was the WORST thing in the world. It worked all through middle and high school.. But she's almost off to college.. I'm hoping the threat of disowning will work, if she doesn't bring home a degree.

Sorry for the book..

Peace2332000 said...

I am 100% sure that your Baby is too young for scared straight. Lol.

Anyhow, just the fact that you are concerned about being able to communicate with her and worrying about her being focused and learning the value of hard work is half the battle.

I learned the value of hard work from watching my mom, well, work hard. And since you are dedicated to her growth (intellectually, emotionally, and mentally) it will become ingrained in her that hard work is key.

I do agree with sitting down and talking to her about her grades. But just remember that 1. she is only in first grade 2. make sure that you let her talk. Try to figure out if something is wrong and maybe she is afraid to say it, or, simply doesn't know the problem exists (I remember when I was her age, I wasn't doing well in school because I needed glasses! Lol!). 3. talk to her teachers. The best thing you can do is create a friendship with them. When teachers see an involved, yet not pushy, parent who is willing and excited to take part in their own child's future, they pay a little extra attention to that child (I know this because my Mom is a teacher).

But don't worry too much. So far you are on the right path with her. As far as motivation, give her something to look forward to so she will focus on her grades. For example, what my mom when I was growing up, was at the beginning of each grading period, I would list somethings that I wanted (be it a pair of shoes, a toy, or whatever), then we would make a deal. If I got certain grades and made sure I completed my chores, then at the end of that marking period I would get a few things from that list.

Inspired said...

I think the reward system may not be the best route. In life, you are not always rewarding for doing well. My mother EXPECTED me to do well, and that's what is expected of all the children in my family. My parents, myself and my siblings do not distribute rewards for things you SHOULD be doing. it sounds harsh, but the reality of the situation is that in the adult world you will not always be rewarding for doing as you should at work. It is what is expected of you, so you have to get it done.

What worked for myself and a couple others is being involved in activities outside of school. You mentioned she is involved in karate, I participated in taekwondo amongst other things. One of the largest basis of it is instilling discipline and self control. She is still young, but if she stays enrolled long enough, it will catch up to her. Also, the penalty for not doing well in school was absence of activities (which I enjoyed).

My nephew who is extremely energetic was doing poorly in school because he was bored and couldn't be moving about. My sister enrolled him in soccer, and needless to say - his grades improved. It burned off a lot of his energy and game him something to look forward to in the evenings. He knew if his grades were not straight, there was no attendance to practice.

Your daughter is smart and capable, but young. My advice to you is instilling discipline and responsibility. It takes time, but you'll get it.

Best wishes.

Reggie said...

As good parents we should all strive to do the very best that we can. If you continue to put the time and effort in with your child, then I'm sure that you'll eventually reach her.

When my son we 2 (our first) he didn't talk. He did all the other things that little dudes do, but he just didn't talk.

My wife made an appointment with a parish (we lived in 'Nawlins) child psychologist/sociologist....or something like that. When I went he looked at lil Reggie for 5 minutes and came and told me that my son was autistic. I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. I didn't think there was anything wrong with my son, I just thought that he had issues talking. The doctor dismissed that immediately and said that all children speak at their own pace. He said the larger concern was the way in which my child plays and interacts socially. Dude looked like an undertaker and if I was 2 I'd have been scared by him too. But I left that office determined to do right by my child. I went home and threw away 95% of the stupid toys he had and purchased 100s of dollars of learning/teaching materials. I read to my child daily and taught him to read (he started speaking shortly thereafter). By the time he was 4 he was reading to me and I sent him and his younger sister to Kindergarten reading. We have to be responsible for our children's education. That was years ago, now they're both students at The University of South Carolina. In short, the doctor was a quack. I refused to give up on my child, don't give up on yours.

Lady J said...

Your concerns are pretty much no different than any other parent. I have a 9 year old son and he has the same issues you are having with your daughter as far as the fun and over abounding energy level. He keeps me on my toes. I have to say that having a 15 year old son helps in some ways and hurts when he starts to also act 9.

Like you I struggle with some of the same problems my son has with focusing and good study habits and how do I teach him when I'm lacking. The fact that you know and acknowledge the problem can help you overcome it. You sound to be heading in the right direction so please NEVER give up.

My oldest son's biological dad isn't in the picture and I always thought that if I slacked at doing anything with my son it would give him ammunition to try to take my child from me and I lived with that fear for a long time. I'm so proud of how my child is growing into a man. I have done better than I was thinking at the time. You just keep on keeping on and everything will be fine.

My prayers are with you and yours. Stay strong.

SincerelyGo said...

I'm very very proud of you for doing what you are doing sir. Of course I have no advice for you, I'm a single party of one. But I remember when I was a kid, I loved my daddy/parents so much I never wanted to disappoint them and a C would definitely disappoint them. I hope some kind of way LMS gets motivated about her school work. So was she punished for being a C student. That's unacceptable for such a smart girl. Good luck with that honey.