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[personal profile] ciroccoj
Daniel's in IB*, a pretty demanding academic program. He's had a tough year, having gone from home schooling, to junior high where he did very well with little effort, to high school in amongst all the other kids who also did very well with little effort. Mostly it's the academics that have been a challenge, but part of it has also been the occasional Stranger in a Strange Land feeling he gets among the other IB kids. Like a conversation a few days ago:

Kid A: ::talks about marks, and parental reactions::
Kid B: ::ditto::
Kid A: OMG my dad would kill me if I got lower than B!
Kid B: I'd be grounded for weeks if I got less than a B+.
Daniel: ::puzzled::
Kid A: ::to Daniel:: What about your parents?
Daniel: What?
Kid B: How bad could your marks be without your parents punishing you?
Daniel: For marks?
Kid A: Yeah.
Daniel: Um... I don't think they would. As long as they knew I was doing my best.
Kids A & B: ::are baffled::
::a while later::
Kid A: I was so happy with my last report card! My mom said if I got 5% in French more I'd get a gift card to [some store]
Kid B: Oh cool! I got the new Halo game when I aced that Math test!
Kid A: What about you?
Daniel: What?
Kid B: What do your parents give you when you get good marks?
Daniel: Um... nothing.
Kid A: What?!
Kid B: Like, no prize?
Daniel: No... they're pretty happy for me, but I don't get anything.
Kids A & B: ::are flummoxed::

I can't help wondering, are we that weird?

It's not that we don't care about Daniel's marks - we care very much - but... he's fifteen. People his age all over the world are treated as adults, and expected to take responsibility for their own lives. We help him in any way we can, but in the end it's his education. We kind of expect him to value it enough that marks - and, far more importantly, learning - are their own reward.

I get the idea of doing something nice for a kid who's worked really hard. I get the idea of providing some kind of discipline when a kid's really not working up to potential. But these are IB kids. They're all working their butts off, and showing that they're responsible and hard-working just by being in the program. Do they still need external carrots and sticks?

* Technically it's pre-IB, in that IB does not start until Grade 11. They call it the IB program at his school.

Date: 2012-06-21 03:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think you're doing the better thing; if it's not inside it's not actual discipline.

Expecting any particular reward for doing one's job is a bad habit to get into for the adult world, come to that.

Date: 2012-06-22 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, that's how I see it - but sometimes you just start asking yourself, How likely is it that I'm right and everyone else is wrong?

I really like that Daniel studies hard because he wants to do well, and that he's not nervous about showing us a poor report card - not that he's had one, but he definitely wasn't happy with the last set of marks he got, and it had to do with him being frustrated, not with him fearing our wrath. And I like that he's decided to stick out the IB program for another year not because of us, but in spite of us. It's been a tough year. His dad and I would heave a sigh of relief if he chose to go to the local high school and not spend two hours a day commuting across town and the rest of his time studying. We miss him :(

He feels differently, and it's his education, so back he goes, God help us all. ::sigh::

OK maybe I shouldn't say that I like him deciding to go back for another year. I respect and admire him for deciding to stick it out. Yeah. That's better :)

ETA: Oh and according to him, for many of his classmates? IB is not a choice. It's what they have to do. Their parents would be ashamed of them otherwise. Gah.
Edited Date: 2012-06-22 06:20 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-23 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We don't really reward or "punish", but we did take away oldest's electronics when he decided to take a quarter off last school year...
Generally our feeling is that school is their "job" and they are to do their best, period.
That being said, we did reward hard work this year - because it was one of those years that everyone needed a little carrot at the end of the stick. But it's not a regular thing, and never for a single test or something like that.
That being said, I think we are in the minority. But that's okay with me!

Date: 2012-06-24 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That being said, I think we are in the minority. But that's okay with me!
Word :) :) :)

I'm a big fan of bribery and threats as parenting tools, actually ;) It's how we got them to behave while grocery shopping when they were little, how we got them to tidy their rooms when they were a bit older, and countless other important things.

I'm just not sure it's appropriate at this stage in their development. Major events like taking off from school and/or straight-A+ report cards aside, IMHO if you're still doing it as a regular thing for school, something may have gone... wrong somewhere :/

November 2012

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