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12 year old WON'T do homework

21 years ago

Our 12-year-old son has resisted doing homework for some years now. He's our second child (our daughter is 17 and a straight-A studentholic--I've never checked her homework in her life, so this is a whole new ballgame for me). He's very intellectually gifted--scores off the charts in the aptitude tests--but just not interested in slugging through reports, assignments, etc. that don't completely captivate him. He does extremely well on in-class work, is cooperative, participates well and is well liked by his friends. But over and over again his report cards come home--missing 3 out of 4 assigments, missing midterm project, not prepared for class. We have tried EVERYTHING--checking his backpack, sitting down with him, withholding privileges, offering rewards, letting him fall on his face. He ends up with Cs and Ds and honestly seems not to care--doesn't even get upset about it for more than a few minutes. He willingly takes his punishments (no tv, no computer, etc.) but does not seem motivated to change by being deprived of activities he likes. We've had teacher conferences where we decided to try to let him assume responsibility for his actions and not rely on us to rescue him, but I am worried if we let him fail Grade 7 it could stigmatize him and do more harm than good in terms of his self esteem. We fought to get him into a small school with strong academics that is highly respected in our community, but now worry we may have made a mistake and that a larger, less academically rigorous school might have been more appropriate for him. The local public high school is a hit-or-miss affair--my daughter has negotiated it very successfully, but we're thinking my son might easily "slip through the cracks" there and we are thinking of sending him to a parochial high school run by the Benedictines--IF he manages to graduate from Middle School! He does well with structure, but my husband and I both work and we just cannot, and don't feel it's right to, sit down and hover over him until he completes every single thing every evening. I should mention he's a young 12, birthday in July, so one of the youngest in his class. We're at our wits' ends worrying he will never live up to his potential. We try not to put any pressure on him, but would like to help him if we could (my husband is an only child, and I am the eldest of four, so along with my daughter he is the only "laid-back" family member surrounded by overachievers). We really are at a loss as to how to handle this problem at this point. Any help/suggestions appreciated.

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