Spent much of yesterday researching and agonizing about #1 son's grades and his "underachievement" in general, and how much my parenting is contributing to that, particularly after reading this article by Emerick on underachievers who had managed to turn their lives around. (You'll need to scroll down about halfway to the "Parents" section.) 1) Are my expectations too high? 2) Am I too punitive? 3) Too controlling?
1) No, 2) maybe, and 3) well, yes, I have my moments. ;)
I generally run my household on the laissez faire model, i.e. "You handle your business and let me know if you need anything." The problem comes in when they need something. I mentioned previously that my boys know if they ask for help and then wait around long enough, I'll do whatever it is for them. Trying very hard not to do that anymore!
I realized that micromanaging #1's schoolwork makes him feel less responsible for his grades--the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve. Talked it over with DH and we decided that his grades weren't as important to us as what he was learning. (Total surprise to me to hear DH say this. I always thought grades were his bottom line.) What concerned us was that he didn't have any outside interests other than Xbox Live. So we decided to put that ball completely in his court.
More about underachievers and motivation tomorrow.