Motivation or Intimidation? Parenting with Confidence

Parenting is both rewarding and challenging.

My son is in 5th grade.  He is a bright, caring, and sensitive 11 year old.  And, up until now, has breezed through as an honor roll student.

Recently, his grades have taken a concerning dive.  Some possible contributing factors (discussed by my husband and I) include; hormones, general lack of interest & overall distractions brought on by normal social factors plus over exposure to gaming/technology.

Over the years, our son has also taken a great interest in sports. We have threatened his ability to participate in seasonal organized sports in absence of acceptable grades.  This method has recently been ineffective considering he did not participate in a winter sport and his grades still have not improved.  Frankly, I am beginning to question the sports restriction that we currently have set in place.

I am a full believer in the mind, body and spirit connection. I recognize that the absence of physical activity does not complete the recipe for success of healthy balance and focus that we desperately want to help him restore. Have we as parents, further damaged the problem of focus due to restrictions/consequences resulting in lack of physical activity?

I should also add that my husband and I are not fans of the new common core curriculum adopted by our school system.  Has our negativity and lack of interest in this new learning format rubbed off on our son?

Furthermore, our parenting styles differ. Dad is calm, cool and collective when discussing the issue…and with with great economy I might add.  And, as for me…Mom is admittedly entirely too emotional, going off on rants, and obviously not completely confident in current course of direction.

We do spend time helping with homework, studying & have reached out to the teacher. We have suspended privelages of iPod, Xbox and sports without seeing any change in the situation.

As parents addressing this issue, we recently seem to be dishing out more intimidation and less motivation

So the question remains – how do we continue to motivate our son to keep focused? How can we further encourage him to, with confidence, find and maintain a healthy balance in life?

my son took the feature photo while visitng Galveseton Island, TX on our family vacation last Spring


  1. Update: Way to go Lee for pulling your grades back up!!! and the added bonus of making honor roll. Great job- we are so proud of your hard work/accomplishments and hope you are too.

    Parenting strategy: What seemed to work was some good ol fashioned advice from my Mom who suggested that I keep the technology that I confiscated and reward him with privileges/time for each good grade he brought home. Time on the Xbox and his iPod became the motivator and focus instead of punishment/confiscation. Thanks to my mom for always being there with good advice ❤️


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