Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where's the Answers?

I'm feeling a little flat tonight. It was a long afternoon at work, a horrible mess trying to reconcile the banking (it actually wasn't my fault this time lol), which meant I had to stay longer until it all balanced. I then came home to find the results for the NCEA exams had arrived in the letterbox. Or more to the point that they'd arrived and Ryan didn't pass. I had a feeling it was going to happen, he was hardly on target to pass, he'd been messing around at school last year, didn't bother putting in the effort (no trips to the Principal's office last year, so that at least was a positive thing). I believe from his point of view, he had better things to focus on...his education not being one of them.

I haven't said anything to him but I know he feels my disappointment. Quite frankly, I feel like yelling "I told you, didn't I??!" But I won't, and only because I think he feels crappy enough already. I feel like being nasty and saying "It serves you right. What did you expect when you didn't bother putting in the work required?" This of course means, he's going to have to repeat the year. What a bloody waste of time.

Cameron on the other hand passed his Level 2s. HOORAY!! And he passed well. He's happy with his results and I'm understandably proud of him and for him.

The problem I have right now, is how to celebrate Cameron's achievement openly without making Ryan feel like crap or guilty. Yet in other ways I think that he should feel like crap (not that I'd want to deliberately make him feel that way of course). Cameron deserves the praise for reaching his goal. He put in the work, did the study and passed. Ryan didn't complete assignments, was forever behind on his homework...he only studied closer to the exams. On the inside, I'm upset at him for letting himself down....on the outside I'm trying to be supportive.

Some of you will know, my boys are completely different types of students. I've never had to put any pressure on Cameron, he puts enough on himself. Ryan I've tried to guide and encourage, without having him feel like I'm watching over his shoulder nervously. This method has obviously failed...but I refuse to take responsibility for it. I've backed off when he's asked me to...it takes nothing at all for him to feel like he's being nagged, so I've tried to do it in an offhand way. Reminding him of what's due when etc.

In retrospect I probably should've come down on him like a tonne of bricks and stayed that way. I have no doubt that that wouldn't have worked either. He would've resented me for keeping such a close eye on him, felt smothered and completely shut down. I feel it's a Catch 22 in a lot of ways.

Maybe that's the issue? If it seemed like I was being so relaxed about it all, perhaps he felt he could be relaxed about it too? I worry that because Cameron always achieves what he sets out to do, that Ryan feels he'll never reach the same level, so he's decided it's even pointless trying. Ryan's a smart cookie, he has the ability to achieve the same grades as his older brother. In some subjects he has the potential to do better and he's proven it on previous occasions, so I know he's capable. How do I get him to see that??

Down-play the negative, up-play the positive...that's what I try to do. I must be missing some link between the two somehow. I need to figure out what makes Ryan tick and how to help him achieve to the best of his ability. You'd think I'd know that by now. He puts up so many walls sometimes I struggle to get through to the core, yet the past 12 months have got to the the most positive ones for my relationship with him in a long time. We've come leaps and bounds in the past year together.

I'm wondering now if I should be thinking about putting him back into counselling...his self esteem may need working on and it worries me if he's down and I've failed to meet his needs to help him get up again. Thinking about all this over the last few hours is driving me potty. Does anyone have any ideas? Can you see if I've been doing anything wrong? How I can steer him in the right direction? A new strategy to get through to him?

I'm wide open to suggestions...God knows my own methods don't appear to have worked.
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