Typical response from my difficult child

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by shellyd67, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    difficult child brings home his reading assignment he completed in class today and a note was written on the bottom of the page in red pen and it reads as follows:

    difficult child, I have asked not to rush through your work, Completing your task first does not impress me. You must put in more effort with your responses.

    So I say to difficult child, "Hey dude ,Mr. So and So would really like you to slow down and use more detail.

    difficult child's response , "Mom, I am giving more detail, just because it is a one word answer I give doesn't mean I am wrong. That is Mr. So and So's opinion Mom and that doesn't make him right!"

    Geeze, I think I have a Lawyer on my hands.....
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We've been down this road. Be aware, part of the problem could be a physical issue. My kids would spend more effort trying to find an answer for the problem with the least number of pen strokes, rather than a full answer.

    You need to put some rules in place, especially as kids get older and are expected to answer more fully. I remember we got drilled on this when I was at school - you always answer in full sentences. So if the question is, "In this passage, why does the sun shine?" then the answer must begin with, "The sun shines because..." I used to begin writing my answer, then go search for the meat of the answer to fill in the blank. I used to find it annoying, but whenever I was reading over my answers months later (for study) they made sense. Otherwise you have to read the questions again too, to make sense of it all. So the first and most important rule of answering - answer in full, with the part of the question you are answering, becoming the first part of your answer.

    Your son may need it made that clear and that specific.

    Get your son to read back over an older piece of work and see how easy (or not) it is to make sense of it. Then you do one the right way, and show him how it makes it a lot easier. Point out that it is also a courtesy - the teacher has to mark this work, and the students who make the task easier for him (by using full sentences) will be getting better marks. And it's not just for the teacher - if he has to write a report when he is an adult in the workforce, then this is where he begins to get into practice.

    Some examples of good answers:
    "The sun shone because it was daytime.

    The wind wanted a bet with the sun to see who was strongest.

    The wind blew.

    The man held his coat tighter.

    The sun shone.

    The man took off his coat."

    You can see the questions implied in the answer. But what is more, the answers also tell fragments of the story (if you haven't guessed, I used Aesop's fable "Persuasion is stronger than force").

    Contrast with your son's likely responses:

    for a bet.


    held tighter.


    took it off."

    You can see the difference and why this sort of answer, while technically answering the question, is only relevant if it is in immediate vicinity to the question. If you are in a conversation and someone says, "Where are you going?" and you answer, "the mall," your answer is a shortened version of "I am going to the mall." The short answer is only valid, if it immediately follows the question. And for the marker, some time has elapsed since he wrote those questions, to when he gets the answers. Hw should not have to keep checking back to see what the answer relates to.

    You can still answer a question in full this way and keep it concise. Brevity is to be valued, I am with your son in this. But a single word answer is not brevity, it is rudeness (even unintended) and it is ambiguous.

    A sentence has to contain a verb and a noun. A subject and predicate. Even a sentence as short as "Wait!" contains a verb and noun, subject and predicate. Because it is itself an abbreviation for "(you) wait!" Subject is "you" (implied).

    So nag him about sentence structure. Also nag the teacher to insist on sentence structure specifically. He's not making himself sufficiently clear.

    Other than that, his teacher needs to model the answers for him and also explain why.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  3. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    Thank you Marguerite!! I am going to go over this with my son!
  4. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Marg, I can always count on you to put it into perspective. I have said it before and I will say it again.... You give some great advice Lady ! Thanks !
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Thanks, guys. I remember my own battles on the issue, plus I've already had to deal with it with my kids. But they now are reaping the benefits of my insistence that they learn to write their answers in full sentences. At college or uni, some classmates never had the same teacher insistence and really struggled with having to learn this too, at that level of education.

    You now you've won when your kids use your techniques to coach other kids!

  6. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I feel your pain. My son is the same way - in English and Math.

    The math infuriates me because he will spend so much time trying to do the problem "in his head" so he doesn't have to write it down....and then he often gets it wrong. I just wanted to shake him!

    We had a breakthrough when I found an online math practice that keeps a timer going to let you know how long you have been practicing. There is no time limit - a child can practice as long as they need - but the clock will say "You've worked for 20:06 minutes!" or whatever it is. I told DS he must complete 25 problems correctly. Well, sat there and stubbornly tried to figure them all in his head....and before long he had been practicing for over an hour and STILL had not managed to some up with 25 correct answers. He was getting very frustrated and angry.

    So I made him write out the WHOLE problem and write down all the calculations - and he got it right! and the next one...and the next one....and the next one.

    Finally, in a mere 20 minutes - he had completed 25 problems correctly.

    So I was able to clearly show him that by trying to take a "shortcut" - he was making more work for himself in the long run.

    If the teacher would require him to rewrite all of his "short" answers into complete sentences - this lesson would work for your son too. I'm sure he would rather write the complete thought the first time, rather than having to do the assignment twice.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Shelly, you sure my difficult child didn't move into your house?