Wet Spreaders

Protection or pressure - kid decisions

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My younger kid (11) finished this year with a 3.7 GPA (A- in the advanced math class), then fucked up his placement exam for advanced math next year and ended up allocated to the middle of three parallel math classes for next year. My wife thinks that the school is right and that he is not going to do well in next year's advanced math class, so is inclined to accept the decision without pressing the school to pop him into the top class. I agree with her that the kid seems pretty easy-going and not driven, and would most likely do very well in the less intensive class next year. He might fail the advanced class and he will certainly have to work harder so his laid back attitude won't work as the material progresses.

So, I have a choice to make - push for putting him in the advanced class and drive the kid - give him the opportunity to succeed - or accept the lower class and give him a more certain path to a good grade. My gut (and ego, to be honest) is to push, but this is something of an experiment and there are no do-overs for this one. How did it work out for those parents who pushed? Did anyone hold a smart kid back in anticipation of failure and it come out a better option? 

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My ex insisted on a laissez faire attitude on this very issue with our very bright boy. We ended up with 31 yr old very lazy bright boy. Good luck. You can always back off.

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19 minutes ago, Wet Spreaders said:

My younger kid (11) finished this year with a 3.7 GPA (A- in the advanced math class), then fucked up his placement exam for advanced math next year and ended up allocated to the middle of three parallel math classes for next year. My wife thinks that the school is right and that he is not going to do well in next year's advanced math class, so is inclined to accept the decision without pressing the school to pop him into the top class. I agree with her that the kid seems pretty easy-going and not driven, and would most likely do very well in the less intensive class next year. He might fail the advanced class and he will certainly have to work harder so his laid back attitude won't work as the material progresses.

So, I have a choice to make - push for putting him in the advanced class and drive the kid - give him the opportunity to succeed - or accept the lower class and give him a more certain path to a good grade. My gut (and ego, to be honest) is to push, but this is something of an experiment and there are no do-overs for this one. How did it work out for those parents who pushed? Did anyone hold a smart kid back in anticipation of failure and it come out a better option? 

Whats the ultimate goal? Is it to get him into a good college? Or is it to get him into a good engineering school? What does he intend to do next? 

If he wants to do law business, marketing,  Teaching,... He probably will never need the advanced math. If he wants to be an engineer, physicist, ... He should probably be pushed since he will be behind the curve in college if he isn't. 

Finally Did he fuck up his exam, or did water find its level? 

edit: Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, is he 11 years old, or is he in 11th grade? The above was for a kid in 11th grade, if he is 11 push for the advanced class, his gpa doesn't mean squat right now.

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A test is a single data point and lots can go wrong on the day for any number of reasons. A quarterly/semesterly grade is built on many data points and is a much better indicator of aptitude, interest, and ability. In a vacuum, I'd use the grade as guidance but I'd ask the kid what he'd prefer. If he likes math and wasn't burned out by the past advanced math class, I'd fight for it. If he worked hard for external reasons (e.g. to please his parents) but doesn't have internal motivation for the advanced class, I'd leave it alone.

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Don't be a Little League parent.

Kids have to trip & fall to learn about life.

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When you say he screwed up a placement test, what does this mean? Sometimes you have to accept that these tests are doing what they were meant to do which is assess a kid's actual skills.  Sometimes a teacher's grades are not accurate because they may like or not like a specific kid. Or they may just give out good grades to everyone.  Maybe you should talk to the teacher and see what class they think your kid should be in.  

Also, talk with your kid (this will not be easy) and try to get his attitude about the class. Make sure you let him express his real feelings and not what he thinks you want to hear. 

In general however, I would push to see if he can move up to the harder class if he does well in the mid-level one during the first quarter or semester. That will take a lot of work on his part but you will know how committed he is after that.

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^ Good advice. Its best to always challenge kids, even if they stumble. You learn a lot in the preparation for life both by pushing yourself and being successful AND by stumbling even though you gave it your best and picking yourself up after learning the world didn't end and your parents still love you. On balance you don't want to push him to a place he has absolutely no chance of succeeding. So, in figuring that out, the advice of talking to the past math teacher and having an honest chat with the kid and then deciding with his input is excellent advice.

One thing for sure.........its impossible to generalize and lean too heavily from other peoples experiences. Even with our 5 the variations were amazing. All bright kids, two VERY bright and one very bright kid very lazy. Each had to sorta find their own way which involved a combination of support, cajoling, and demanding in different doses for each kid. It never was completely clear to us what dose of each approach each one needed at any moment. We certainly made some misjudgments along the way but were never afraid to say (and act) oooopppsss.....that didn't work. Bottom line, each took a different path but all 5 are happy successful members of society. Not a taker in the bunch.

Act with love and concern (which you clearly have) and you'll rarely end up on the wrong side of parenting.  IMHO anyway.

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IMO parents should provide support & guidance, not "push".

It worked very well for us.

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1 hour ago, Point Break said:

^ Good advice. Its best to always challenge kids, even if they stumble. You learn a lot in the preparation for life both by pushing yourself and being successful AND by stumbling even though you gave it your best and picking yourself up after learning the world didn't end and your parents still love you. On balance you don't want to push him to a place he has absolutely no chance of succeeding. So, in figuring that out, the advice of talking to the past math teacher and having an honest chat with the kid and then deciding with his input is excellent advice.

One thing for sure.........its impossible to generalize and lean too heavily from other peoples experiences. Even with our 5 the variations were amazing. All bright kids, two VERY bright and one very bright kid very lazy. Each had to sorta find their own way which involved a combination of support, cajoling, and demanding in different doses for each kid. It never was completely clear to us what dose of each approach each one needed at any moment. We certainly made some misjudgments along the way but were never afraid to say (and act) oooopppsss.....that didn't work. Bottom line, each took a different path but all 5 are happy successful members of society. Not a taker in the bunch.

Act with love and concern (which you clearly have) and you'll rarely end up on the wrong side of parenting.  IMHO anyway.

This,

Also, have a talk with the guidance counsellor.  Some schools push enrollment  in AP classes.  Other concentrate on successful completion of them.  I found that our School Sup had a performance metric for the number of kids attending AP classes.  No surprise that kids were pushed to sign up and often left to flounder when it proved to be a bad match as successful completion was not a metric.  Key decision point is will he benefit from the class?  Part of that is his future plans and willingness to  put in the hard work.  I also found that the cutoff for dropping back to the mid level course was hard to do after the first coupe of weeks so you need to consider that once enrolled, he may have to complete the class, even if it's a bad match.  

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I would setup a meeting with the head of the math department and get their assesment, they've probably seen a similar situation a hundred times ..

 

ramt on:

btw at 11 years old,  he sould be a kid and enjoy kid things..   advanced placement classes for 11 year olds? that is truly fucked up..

at this point in his life, his advancement should be in social skills

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wet Spreaders said:

My younger kid (11) finished this year with a 3.7 GPA (A- in the advanced math class), then fucked up his placement exam for advanced math next year and ended up allocated to the middle of three parallel math classes for next year. My wife thinks that the school is right and that he is not going to do well in next year's advanced math class, so is inclined to accept the decision without pressing the school to pop him into the top class. I agree with her that the kid seems pretty easy-going and not driven, and would most likely do very well in the less intensive class next year. He might fail the advanced class and he will certainly have to work harder so his laid back attitude won't work as the material progresses.

So, I have a choice to make - push for putting him in the advanced class and drive the kid - give him the opportunity to succeed - or accept the lower class and give him a more certain path to a good grade. My gut (and ego, to be honest) is to push, but this is something of an experiment and there are no do-overs for this one. How did it work out for those parents who pushed? Did anyone hold a smart kid back in anticipation of failure and it come out a better option? 

What's his interest level in math?  If he is gunh-ho about it, push.  If not so gung-ho about the *classes*, but really likes the concepts, perhaps  interest him in programming.  It's something he can do outside of school (unless he's also doing 12 sports) and might keep his interest in mathematics elevated.  Don't want to start a flame war about which language, but there are plenty out there with some great introductory "learn it yourself" books/online tutorials/whatever.

I would say arguably the best might be The Little Schemer, but that's up for debate.

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18 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

We did 2 without excessive drama.  Best you can do is keep them talking to either Mom or Dad and hope.  As long as the communications work, you have hope.  We never experienced the "I hate you" stage but saw enough in other families to know it's mostly out of your control.  Our 2 girls were mostly self motivated and focused on academics and sports.  Our son?  Smart as hell but hard headed and laid back.  If he liked something, he nailed it.  If not, he worked hard enough for a stay out of trouble B and no harder.  Worked his butt off when he wanted to by choice.  No one was going to "make him."  

All 3 successful adults that we are proud of.  Not our fault.  

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13 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

Ours will be 26 this year, and we're still working on it.  Hanger was/is a huge part of it.  Irrationally argumentative and flying off the handle?  Here, have an apple. . .

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22 minutes ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

Whew...........our two were hard.........one had a very tortured adolescence, this despite our best efforts. She turned out wonderful but there were some very hard years that we just.........persevered through never giving up. It was hard. She is 32 now (she is our youngest) and has a degree, and two wonderful children and a superb husband. 

Boys are hard as well (heck they're all hard and its getting harder....glad I'm not raising any today), but pretty straight forward not a lot of mystery.

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Agree with talking to teacher and the child. I would not force AP on an 11 y/o. We are on #4 and he is finishing his Junior year in HS. Always a bright, somewhat unmotivated child with a good heart and natural intelligence. His biggest problem came this year with Precalc and Chem. He had gotten by for so long on his base levels that he never had to develop good study habits. It made for a very rough year and lots of late nights getting him up to speed. But he made it through and found out what its like to have to work hard  at things that used to be easy.

Also agree with PB, knowing that the love and understanding never stop is key to making it through the teen years.

 

WL

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8 minutes ago, White Lightnin' said:

Agree with talking to teacher and the child. I would not force AP on an 11 y/o. We are on #4 and he is finishing his Junior year in HS. Always a bright, somewhat unmotivated child with a good heart and natural intelligence. His biggest problem came this year with Precalc and Chem. He had gotten by for so long on his base levels that he never had to develop good study habits. It made for a very rough year and lots of late nights getting him up to speed. But he made it through and found out what its like to have to work hard  at things that used to be easy.

Also agree with PB, knowing that the love and understanding never stop is key to making it through the teen years.

 

WL

Our son made it to sophomore year of college before slamming into this one.  Lots of natural intelligence and never had to "learn how to learn."  Finally got a "C" in a gateway class that required a "B" to gain admission to School of Engineering because he was too far underwater when he realized he was in trouble.  Had to spend his summer retaking the class in order to move on in engineering.  He had the "significant emotional event" that broke through and he did just fine after that.  

I blame it on the schools having to focus on carrying the failing kids who "have to graduate".  The top 5% will excel in any environment.  Smart kids who need to be challenged and mentored often get ignored because they do pretty well left alone.  Its easy for kids like that to coast.  

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4 hours ago, chinabald said:

Whats the ultimate goal? Is it to get him into a good college? Or is it to get him into a good engineering school? What does he intend to do next? 

If he wants to do law business, marketing,  Teaching,... He probably will never need the advanced math. If he wants to be an engineer, physicist, ... He should probably be pushed since he will be behind the curve in college if he isn't. 

Finally Did he fuck up his exam, or did water find its level? 

edit: Maybe I'm jumping the gun here, is he 11 years old, or is he in 11th grade? The above was for a kid in 11th grade, if he is 11 push for the advanced class, his gpa doesn't mean squat right now.

Dude...  He's 11..  Geez

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1 hour ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

You don't - you merely survive them until they become people.

And make sure that all potential boyfriends know that you have absolutely no problem with going back to prison.

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20 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

You don't - you merely survive them until they become people.

And make sure that all potential boyfriends know that you have absolutely no problem with going back to prison.

Haha

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Thanks all - as usual for this forum, a spirited debate and plenty of opposing POVs, which really helps.

I guess the problem boils down to whether to take an opportunity and risk failure, or take an easy path and be more comfortable. Leaving aside that he is pretty young to be forced to make this decision anyway, I like that the school district has developed the option for kids to push themselves . Probably I'm going to press for him to go into the advanced class, but I like the advice to talk to the teacher. 

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Teacher and parent here.  Definitely talk to the teacher and your son, but there is another argument to consider.  In the advanced class the peer group will be motivated, intelligent kids who get things done.  In the less advanced class there will be smart kids who are a bit less motivated, and kids who are a bit less smart.  Peer groups are really important and can make or break a student's success in any particular class.  

I would fight to have your son in the advanced class based on the GPA and not the test, unless your son tells you that he definitely does not want to be in that class or the teacher advises strongly against it for some reason.

In addition, advanced classes are often taught by more experienced teachers.  You didn't hear that from me.

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4 hours ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

Watched "Lady Bird" and wondered how the writer got into my life.  There is no figuring from a male perspective, just hanging on.

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My son and daughter were prodded but not pushed real hard and did not do spectacular in high school or the first four years of college that we paid for at which point we were done 

They both now have advanced degrees and when there education cost became there problem they became spectacular highly motivated students 

There also both really successful my son did his time as a Senior Assistant District Attorney and now has a gig with the State Department in the diplomatic security service as he likes The intensity of the mission 

My Daughter worked her way up the Social Work Ladder and now works at the executive level and it’s also quite intense as it’s a a large NYC cancer center

So while we always pointed them in the correct direction and had some really firm behavior boundaries until the drive comes from within nothing you can do other than be a real parent will make them motivated 

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4 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

You don't - you merely survive them until they become people.

And make sure that all potential boyfriends know that you have absolutely no problem with going back to prison.

Ha ha. My elder daughter told one ex-BF that if he didn't stop hassling her she'd tell her dad. The predictable response was what's he going to do. Her answer - he has a ship, he goes into the Southern Ocean and drops moorings in 5000m of water. I don't want him to have to get rid of another body.

End of discussion.

FKT

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6 hours ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

I raised 2 boys.

 

With boys you only have to worry about one little prick. With girls you worry about all of them.

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7 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

IMO parents should provide support & guidance, not "push".

It worked very well for us.

My daughter was a bit lazy in high school although she ultimately ended up doing pretty well.  I told her as a teen, that I wasn't going to push her or fight over school work, it was her life and she was welcome to do poorly in school and face the consequences later in life.  She ended up paying her way through college pretty much and getting a 3.9 GPA in pre-med studies, so I am not disappointed.  Each kid is different, my philosophy is you will just end up hating each other if you try to force them to be something they aren't.  

6 hours ago, Raz'r said:

If you figure out how to raise a teen girl, let me know....

I was pretty lucky, my daughter was never much trouble. She was a very easy baby and not too much trouble as a teen.  I divorced her mother when my daughter was 5 years old, and my daughter came to live with me and my 2nd wife, when her mother died when my daughter was 10 years old.  When she entered a the teen years, I told my daughter I would let her have as much responsibility as she could handle and she never let me down.  We lived in Germany and I let her stay out with her friends and she would catch the last train home, she would get in a little before 3 a.m. on the weekends.  She never missed the train and never came home visibly drunk, so she got to stay out late regularly.  She didn't get pregnant until after she got married and had her twins 4 1/2 months ago at the age of 27.  We fight occasionally because we are very much alike but we are also very close.  I attribute part of it to the fact that I never cared about the stupid little things, she has 6 tattoos, she had colored streaks in her hair, etc., but she is also a hard working, responsible adult as well.  I think most of it was she was just born that way.  You never know what you will get when you roll the genetic dice.

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Ask him. If he wants to bust his ass in the brain class, push for him. If he feels more comfortable in the easier class, ease up.

I've realized in my own life and with me own kids that school seems to only have a supporting role to success and happiness.

The tricky part is the ask, it's hard to get a straight answer. He might choose ambition just to make you happy. He might choose easy to make his fiends happy. For all you know, he may have deliberately sabotaged the placement test. And that ask requires the subtle art of parenting ... as you know, the most difficult skill that a person has to develop. But I tell ya, ultimately either path probably matters a lot less than you might think because it's more about how he pedals than where he rides.

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19 hours ago, Grande Mastere Dreade said:

 

as a dad, hug them alot..   and teach them about birth control...

Oh yeah, they're really big on hugging.   Re the OP, yes I think a quick email with the teacher would help the decision to push or not, and the caliber of students in honors or advanced is really a plus, if only because the regular classes will always have the handful of complete ass-hats that won't be found in advanced. 

As to pressure in general;  we've been lucky in that the girls somehow got their mom's work habits and my superior intellect, so schoolwork hasn't been a problem.  Never pushed sports beyond a brief soccer experiment with the younger one, who is promoting from 8th grade today and despite having a room that looks like it was hit by a sharknado has killer grades and is very happy.  This week.  

 

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Well.......I agree with Mikey. Quite insightful really........very much so, especially the part about it’s how he pedals.

We taught our children that it was more critical to seek a life that provided fulfillment and worth than any other consideration. Make your life’s “work” something you wake up and look forward to. That is the true road to happiness and joy. The difficult part for them is the journey to discover what that is and all the false starts that seem like it may be that “thing” but is not. The hard part for the parent is to try to guide and support that journey of discovery which almost never leads where we - in our own biases - think it should be. Not one of our children became what we imagined and hoped for each of them. Thank goodness for that because 4 of the 5 are exquisitely happy with who they are and where they have landed.

Odd thing....this “raising” of children. 

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On 6/12/2018 at 12:59 PM, SloopJonB said:

IMO parents should provide support & guidance, not "push".

It worked very well for us.

This all fucking day long.

Jesus christ, he's 11 and you're freaking out over "advanced placement math"? Really?

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23 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Ha ha. My elder daughter told one ex-BF that if he didn't stop hassling her she'd tell her dad. The predictable response was what's he going to do. Her answer - he has a ship, he goes into the Southern Ocean and drops moorings in 5000m of water. I don't want him to have to get rid of another body.

End of discussion.

FKT

Yep. I always show them the extra anchors I have acquired over the years. It makes an impression. Weirdest thing was sharing this thought with a co-worker. To which he replied "yes, but you have to be sure to wind the chain through the ribcage and pelvis for it to work"

:blink:

 

WL

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5 minutes ago, White Lightnin' said:

Yep. I always show them the extra anchors I have acquired over the years. It makes an impression. Weirdest thing was sharing this thought with a co-worker. To which he replied "yes, but you have to be sure to wind the chain through the ribcage and pelvis for it to work"

:blink:

 

WL

Otherwise they pop up and become a floater and some poor young lifeguard with the least seniority has to swim over through the scum ring and put a line on it. Never mind how I know..................:wacko:

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3 hours ago, TPG said:

This all fucking day long.

Jesus christ, he's 11 and you're freaking out over "advanced placement math"? Really?

^^^ What he said...

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16 minutes ago, Point Break said:

Otherwise they pop up and become a floater and some poor young lifeguard with the least seniority has to swim over through the scum ring and put a line on it. Never mind how I know..................:wacko:

We all got stories. You (or any other big city FF) probably have more than most. I like that most of mine are from a very long, long time ago! 

B)

 

WL

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4 hours ago, TPG said:

This all fucking day long.

Jesus christ, he's 11 and you're freaking out over "advanced placement math"? Really?

In the UK when I was growing up we had an exam called the 11+. Your score on that test dictated whether you would go to high school and have a shot at university, or go to a "secondary modern" school and go into a trade. Very stressful time for kids and parents, and scrapped later in favor of a unified schooling system.

In the contemporary USA we have "optional advanced courses" based on exams taken at 11 which allow you to take courses for high school credit while in middle school, so that you have time to take more advanced courses in high school for college credit. If you want to get into a good college (and are male and white and not poor) you need a 4.2 out of 4 GPA or run a 4.4 40 yard, or sink > 50% from the 3 pt line or hit 3.5. 

So, whether we like it or not, we're faced with making a 1970's choice for a 2020's kid. So "really" - I'm not freaking out, but really mulling hard on whether to push for the "privilege".

 

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36 minutes ago, White Lightnin' said:

We all got stories. You (or any other big city FF) probably have more than most. I like that most of mine are from a very long, long time ago! 

B)

 

WL

I don’t think volume changes the experiance. It only takes one.....

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1 hour ago, Point Break said:

I don’t think volume changes the experiance. It only takes one.....

Are you referring to raising children or admitting to disposing of a potential suitor??? 

:P

 

WL

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I'm not sure you can really push a kid to be someone they're not. A lot of kids seem to be programmed from the womb. Our daughter tested very bright, but as she once said, "I know I have talent in math and science, I just choose not to use it."  She's an artist, which is all she ever wanted to be, from pretty much day one. Pushing would have been futile, and would only have created discord.

Our son came out programmed to blow the curve in every class he ever took. He took the SAT in 8th grade and scored in the 99th percentile. If we had locked up the books, he would have gone to the the library, gotten a book on lock picking, and gotten to the books. At 17 he got an internship in Paris, France doing "algorithmic analysis of cryptographic systems to ensure transactional security for transnational banks".  He's now 21, and dating, seriously, a beautiful girl who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party. 

As parents we gave unconditional love and support, and let them choose their own paths. Ya can't shove a square peg in a round hole.

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33 minutes ago, White Lightnin' said:

Are you referring to raising children or admitting to disposing of a potential suitor??? 

:P

 

WL

Elaborating would be.......unwise. 

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2 hours ago, Wet Spreaders said:

In the UK when I was growing up we had an exam called the 11+. Your score on that test dictated whether you would go to high school and have a shot at university, or go to a "secondary modern" school and go into a trade. Very stressful time for kids and parents, and scrapped later in favor of a unified schooling system.

In the contemporary USA we have "optional advanced courses" based on exams taken at 11 which allow you to take courses for high school credit while in middle school, so that you have time to take more advanced courses in high school for college credit. If you want to get into a good college (and are male and white and not poor) you need a 4.2 out of 4 GPA or run a 4.4 40 yard, or sink > 50% from the 3 pt line or hit 3.5. 

So, whether we like it or not, we're faced with making a 1970's choice for a 2020's kid. So "really" - I'm not freaking out, but really mulling hard on whether to push for the "privilege".

 

This.  In my school district the powers that be are bringing back an initiative that failed miserably in the late 90's, hoping that it will work this time around.  Somehow the system managers just can't seem to manage the change that is needed, instead they impose change that isn't needed, and hang on to bizarre practices like the one above because "that's the way we have always done it."

Talk to your kid, tell him you are ready to fight for him, but only if he really wants to go down that path, then sit back and listen.

 

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9 hours ago, White Lightnin' said:

Are you referring to raising children or admitting to disposing of a potential suitor??? 

:P

 

WL

You usually only have to "disappear" one, the word gets around and the boys become much more respectful. 

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32 minutes ago, MikeR80 said:

dont ask me about parenting... when i picked my 3year old up from school the other day he asked me if I had any Dark N Stormys at work

At a similar age my kid announced to everyone in the YC bar that "my daddy has very bubbly pee pee". So much for toilet training demonstrations.

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On ‎6‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 7:59 AM, Wet Spreaders said:

My younger kid (11) finished this year with a 3.7 GPA (A- in the advanced math class), then fucked up his placement exam for advanced math next year and ended up allocated to the middle of three parallel math classes for next year. My wife thinks that the school is right and that he is not going to do well in next year's advanced math class, so is inclined to accept the decision without pressing the school to pop him into the top class. I agree with her that the kid seems pretty easy-going and not driven, and would most likely do very well in the less intensive class next year. He might fail the advanced class and he will certainly have to work harder so his laid back attitude won't work as the material progresses.

So, I have a choice to make - push for putting him in the advanced class and drive the kid - give him the opportunity to succeed - or accept the lower class and give him a more certain path to a good grade. My gut (and ego, to be honest) is to push, but this is something of an experiment and there are no do-overs for this one. How did it work out for those parents who pushed? Did anyone hold a smart kid back in anticipation of failure and it come out a better option? 

We're in a similar situation with mini Nacra...  We're pushing him to excel... 

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1 hour ago, chinabald said:

You usually only have to "disappear" one, the word gets around and the boys become much more respectful. 

My middle daughter grew up playing coed soccer. Apparently word got around that anybody messing with her would get their ass kicked by the boys on the team. I didn’t have to do much to keep the rest of the boys in line. She ended up as “best man” for one of the team members a couple of years ago. He told his fiancé “ she’s been my best friend since we were 6. Who else would I choose?”  

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You need more information. A report card isn't enough.  Talk with his former teacher and both of the possible future teachers.  Despite how the media has painted teachers, most are caring professionals who have a daily insight into their students.   As a former teacher, I fell over backward to help a student who had a parent that made the effort to help their kid.  Tap into that resource.  

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On 6/12/2018 at 11:45 AM, Rum Runner said:

Also, talk with your kid (this will not be easy) and try to get his attitude about the class. Make sure you let him express his real feelings and not what he thinks you want to hear. 

Why did it take this many posts for someone to say "Ask the kid what he wants?"  Explain the options, potential consequences, and your thoughts, then ask him what he thinks.  I'm not sure why it's not easy - it was for us.  We did this with all three kids.  Two of them chose the advanced courses.  One because of a girl, and one because he is hyper competitive.  The other chose the easy route.  In all 3 cases it was the right choice.  Even if it wasn't the right choice, people need to get over the ridiculous stigma we put on failure.  Failure is the BEST teaching tool, and failure early in life will make for far better decision making later on.  That's exactly why it's stupid to not keep score in kids sports.  Let them know they lost - they won't be damaged by it (unless the parents have totally not readied them for the fail-work harder-fail-work harder loop that is ALL real life).

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On 6/12/2018 at 6:59 PM, Wet Spreaders said:

My younger kid (11) finished this year with a 3.7 GPA (A- in the advanced math class), then fucked up his placement exam for advanced math next year and ended up allocated to the middle of three parallel math classes for next year. My wife thinks that the school is right and that he is not going to do well in next year's advanced math class, so is inclined to accept the decision without pressing the school to pop him into the top class. I agree with her that the kid seems pretty easy-going and not driven, and would most likely do very well in the less intensive class next year. He might fail the advanced class and he will certainly have to work harder so his laid back attitude won't work as the material progresses.

So, I have a choice to make - push for putting him in the advanced class and drive the kid - give him the opportunity to succeed - or accept the lower class and give him a more certain path to a good grade. My gut (and ego, to be honest) is to push, but this is something of an experiment and there are no do-overs for this one. How did it work out for those parents who pushed? Did anyone hold a smart kid back in anticipation of failure and it come out a better option? 

Read this:  https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/06/11/616900580/back-off-how-to-get-out-of-the-high-pressure-parenting-trap

I listened to this on NPR and it was very interesting!

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2 hours ago, nacradriver said:

We're in a similar situation with mini Nacra...  We're pushing him to excel... 

try google sheets - excel is so last century. 

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