mothercollins's picture
mothercollins

School & Sports

I have an 11 year old stepson who lives with my husband and I. Lately his grades have been falling. My husband and I told him he needs to get serious about his school work or he is not going to play sports. Two weeks later we find he is still not turning in assignments and is continue to lie. So we told him that he will not be participating in basketball. Now that basketball season is getting ready to start my husbands ex wife thinks he should be able to play because he is showing some improvement. Keep in mind we are two days into school from Christmas break. I strongly feel once you have told a child what you are going to do you need to stick by it. Granted I think he should have some praise for showing a little improvement. Looking for other opinions.Help!



SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

This decision should have been shared with the mother. It is easier to allow him to begin the season with the understanding that unless his grades continue to improve, he will have to quit during the season. The purpose is to motivate him, not punish him with no chance of being able to gain back what has been taken away. Once he loses his chance to play, he may give up on trying to improve his grades. When I played sports, there were times when my grades would slip. The threat of not being able to play is what motivated me to improve. I had to sign a contract with my parents and coaches stating that I understood I had to bring up my grades to remain eligible. This may be something that Mom and Dad can try.

acitez's picture
acitez

The kid is eleven, and he has had some degree of disruption in his life. You need to build some structure to support his becoming better at turning in assignments. He's not going to be perfect at it like flipping a switch.

I also think that if you make a mistake, like giving an ultimatum that you find you can't follow up on, it is OK to say something like, "This is really important to me, and so I said something stupid. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have given you that ultimatum. I've thought about it, and this is what I really want to have happen. I want you to turn in all your assignments, but I know that you might mess up. If you miss an assignment, I will think of a penalty that you don't like, but if you can turn in (3 out of 4 or 4 out of 5 for example) assignments, fulfill the penalties for any you miss, and be pretty consistent in all of your classes, you can play sports."

I don't like the focus on "improving grades". For really bright kids, they can get A's with minimal effort. Kids who are academically challenged can work ridiculously hard and not improve their grade at all. I like the focus to be on these three things.
1. Did you turn in assignments complete and on time?
2. Did you put in effort?
3. What did you learn?

mothercollins's picture
mothercollins

I appreciate your response. It is my fault that I did not elaborate on the issue to be better undertstood. So let me start from the beginning, because I am really interested in other opinions to be certain that the right thing is being done.
He was a great student in elementary. Granted middle school brings challenges both socially and educationally. He played 6th grade football and did so with good grades. We noticed them starting to fall so we talked with him about school and friends. The conversation was very productive. We explained to him how important it is to do good in school to be eligible to play sports. (Please keep in mind the 6th grade sports in our area is thru the YMCA. It is in 7th grade that they start playing with the school.)So we are trying to get him to understand that next year it will not be our decision whether he plays or not. It will be the school and coaches decision.
My husband and his ex wife talked about him not playing because of his grades. They both agreed that he should not be able to play because of his grades. His grades are effected because of his lack of turning in assignments that are completed and not taking reading test after he has read a book etc. So This decision was not just my husbands, it was both parents. It was discussed with him several weeks before the season that he needed to start improving or he would not play. Then again we would find out he still was not turning in assignments. So once again it was stated, 'Hey basketball is coming up and if you want to play you need to get serious with your school'. Not just once or twice but a third conversation was held and that was the one that did not allow him to play.
I fully understand where you are coming from being an athlete myself. Sports motivated you to do good in school. But with so many youth activities YMCA and sports outside of the school. By letting them play when academics are falling does not prepare them for reality. I have always felt extracurricular actives are just that extra.

mothercollins's picture
mothercollins

I appreciate your response. It is my fault that I did not elaborate on the issue to be better undertstood. So let me start from the beginning, because I am really interested in other opinions to be certain that the right thing is being done.
He was a great student in elementary. Granted middle school brings challenges both socially and educationally. He played 6th grade football and did so with good grades. We noticed them starting to fall so we talked with him about school and friends. The conversation was very productive. We explained to him how important it is to do good in school to be eligible to play sports. (Please keep in mind the 6th grade sports in our area is thru the YMCA. It is in 7th grade that they start playing with the school.)So we are trying to get him to understand that next year it will not be our decision whether he plays or not. It will be the school and coaches decision.
My husband and his ex wife talked about him not playing because of his grades. They both agreed that he should not be able to play because of his grades. His grades are effected because of his lack of turning in assignments that are completed and not taking reading test after he has read a book etc. So This decision was not just my husbands, it was both parents. It was discussed with him several weeks before the season that he needed to start improving or he would not play. Then again we would find out he still was not turning in assignments. So once again it was stated, 'Hey basketball is coming up and if you want to play you need to get serious with your school'. Not just once or twice but a third conversation was held and that was the one that did not allow him to play.
I fully understand where you are coming from being an athlete myself. Sports motivated you to do good in school. But with so many youth activities YMCA and sports outside of the school. By letting them play when academics are falling does not prepare them for reality. I have always felt extracurricular actives are just that extra.