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Brat as a motivator (long post)


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18 replies to this topic

#1 Mugs

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 11:47 PM

Ok so my 13 year old son has been wanting a brat for about 4-5 years or more now. And with him helping me with my wagon project and just plain hanging around us "subaru guys" his motivation is way up there to get something. He saves every litle amount of money he can, and is putting it towards "his project." I have found a nice 86 brat that the guy is pretty much letting go just because it has taken space up in his drivaway for quite some time now. I am going to buy it one way or the other but here is the crux of the thing.

I really would like to use it as a motivational tool for him (provided I can keep my hands off it :lol:) He struggles a bit with school (he would rather be outside or working on something) but last year he did really well. So I was thinking I might do one of two things.

A: buy it and have it sitting here in the drive way. And tell him if he gets all A's & B's this year the brat is his to start working on next summer. My thinking is with the brat in canstant view it will keep him motivated.

B: Buy the brat and hide it. Tell him if he keeps his grades all A's an B's I will double the money he has saved up and then help him buy a brat. Then what I would do for his birthday (in july) is give him the brat and let him use the money he has saved to get started on it.

What would you guys do, or would you do something a little different? I know you don't know our family dynamics and or what makes my son tick so it will hard to give definit answers. But some input is greatly requested.

Keep in mind he is only 13 and will have the next 2 years (by the time he gets the brat) to do what he wants. And also he is still in the stage (for a few more months any way) where some fuzzy little blonde winks at him he doesn't really pay too much attention. A lot can change in a year or so as we all know. Also who's to say he will want soemthing like this come summer of next year. And when he does start driving it or what ever, it will be his responsibility to pay for the gas and insurance, so that may be a different issue all together. Ok I have said enough, oh yea one last thing he lives with his mom through out the year (I raised him for the last 12 years though).

About the Brat.
It is an 86 4spd D/R with the fun tops. No rust, body is strait. The color is faded suabru extra black with some patina on the hood (the whole car just needs a good buffing) The EA81 has 200,000 and some change and has been sitting for the past three years. But when I went ot fire it up, it fired right off the batt and purred like a kitten, a little miss once in a while but not bad. he said he added about 5 gal of new gas to it. He is and elderly man that is semi retired and has had it for the past 15 years as his winter rig, but now he has too many other vehicles and does not need this one.
He quit driving it because it failed emissions and then took it to a shop that gave him a grocery list of stuff that neede to be done to the engine, so he said forget it. Well it only has to go two more years before I don't need to worry about that here in Wa state.

I figure we will keep it realiable and simple as my son needs it to get back and forth to high school and then possibly college. So not anything more than a 2-4in lift and thats about it. Leave the engine stock except a few things here and there (carb, exhaust,disty other minor stuff) Just basically make it a nice daily with some weeknd fun capabilites.

NOW THE REAL QUESTION IS...CAN I KEEP MY OWN HANDS OFF IT AND NOT BUY IT FOR MYSELF :lol::banana:

Thanks in advance for your advise.

Edited by Mugs, 05 September 2009 - 11:54 PM.


#2 The Dude Abides

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 09:43 AM

I like the hide it idea. Though are you planning on takeing the car away if his grades falter.

#3 monstaru

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 11:11 AM

if you don't hurry.i'm gonna biuy it for MY self:)...................cheers, brian

#4 markjw

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 12:09 PM

Though are you planning on taking the car away if his grades falter.


IMO,this is the million dollar question. And,the 800 lb gorilla. There's no better way to make a 13 yr old hate a BRAT than to end up having to take it away 'cause he ain't taking care of the school business. All A's and B's? That's pretty optimistic,maybe not for your son but for mine, I'd be setting us both up for disappointment.

I say buy the Brat,give it to him up front,and explain to him you'll only help support the project if he's trying hard in school. The more involved he is in school,the more involved you are with the Brat project. If he'd rather screw off in school,the Brat can sit outside in the rain. He can explain to his girlfriend why they still riding bicycles around town. If he's focused on improvement in school,the Brat sits in the center of the shop under the bright lights.

Personally,I'm more focused on the quality of my children's character than I am on their grades in school. Of course, I want them to be relatively honest and somewhat motivated. But,most of all,I want them to show up when they say they will,do what they promise and never be late for anything. Those are the things that are most important to me.

#5 edrach

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 12:40 PM

I'd consider using the Brat as a carrot. I.e. All A's and B's might be a bit of a push (unless he's pretty bright) and the occasional C might be a de-motivator. Let him know it's there and if he brings his grades up and continues to do so, you'll allow him to work on it with you as he continues to save money for purchasing it from you. If all goes well, you can give it to him on his 16th birthday (and use his saved up money to purchase insurance and gas) when he gets his learner's permit/license. By then, emissions will not be an issue (do you have enough property so you can keep it without registering it until then?). Whatever you do, keep your hands off it unless he's working with you and with your supervision.

#6 Mugs

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 01:26 PM

Thanks for the respones thus far. As far as the all A's and B's thing, I feel that he is perfrectly capable of doing so. It is just that he has a hard time staying motivated and on task because he would rather srew off and do his own thing. But like I said last year was a great year. He even got student of the month a couple of times. It is just really hard for me to monitor any more when he does not live with me. So I the only way I can tel if he is really trying is to see his grades. Perhaps I could get the teachers phone numbers and call them periodically and find out what they observe with him in the class room.
And yes I would rather have my boys show up when they say they and hold tru to the values I have attempted to teach them, and not be swayed my the newest fad or craze.

I really like the dangling carrot idea. See with me it is either all on or all off. I hadn't thought of something like that. That might keep the "peace" a bit better. And give him time to mature more and also really decide if that is what he truly wants. If he doesn't then I can just "take it off his hands." By then it might a be and STI or some american muscle like his older brother wants. Which is ok either way in my book. But I tell you what I would rather see him in a brat then a STI, I know how our family is and that is just asking for it.

Either way it will be hard to get, and not turn it into a straight axle mega lifted trail only ride. But I am willing to make the sacrifice for him.

#7 Olnick

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 06:26 PM

My suggestion is to be upfront with your son. Sit down with him and tell him what you have in mind, but let him be part of setting the ground rules.

That way he'll be much more apt to buy into the contract you make. If he wants the car as much as you or I would he'll become his own toughest taskmaster. Of course you'll still be in charge--you have the money and the keys!

But it would be a stronger motivator and character builder if he knows what his responsibilites are, and that he helped create the agreement that will earn him the car.

Good luck--and let us know how it goes.

#8 lostinthe202

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 06:59 PM

I agree with those saying that you should be upfront about it. I was certainly capable of A's and B's, and I got them through most of school. Until my senior year of high school when I just stopped going to classes. I found welders, and bicycles and suddenly had no interest in continuing school. It wasn't because it was hard, it just wasn't as interesting as the rest of the world around me.

I'm willing to bet that a very large percentage of the regulars on this board were more into the physical world then the theoretical one. If your son shows an inclination to working with his hands, I would encourage that as much as possible. Somebody that can figure out the physical world will always have work in a country filled with people who can't unclog their own toilet or change their own oil. I'm not saying you shouldn't make a good education a priority, I'm just saying that a scholastic education isn't everything.

Whatever way you decide, I think it's fantastic. It was my pop paying me $5 for oil jobs and $10 for brakes that got me started. That and the statement, "if you can read English, you can work on cars". My first carrot was a '76 Datsun 510 sedan. When we went to get it, he handed me the "keys" a 16oz hammer that I used to "release" the parking brake.

Will-

#9 Mugs

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Posted 06 September 2009 - 10:38 PM

I found welders, and bicycles and suddenly had no interest in continuing school. It wasn't because it was hard, it just wasn't as interesting as the rest of the world around me.

If your son shows an inclination to working with his hands, I would encourage that as much as possible. Somebody that can figure out the physical world will always have work in a country filled with people who can't unclog their own toilet or change their own oil. I'm not saying you shouldn't make a good education a priority, I'm just saying that a scholastic education isn't everything.

Will-


Well he is certainly that. He used to tear everything he got apart. Not because he was being destructive, but because he was interested/curious on how it worked/was made. Once I figured this out I began going to the thrift stores and buying old drills, computers, radios, what ever, for him to take apart. He is very mechanically inclined and can stare at something for hours just like I can trying to figure its inner workings out.
I am encouraging him to head towards mechanical engineering degree for college, instead of being a mechanic like me. I think he would like it much better and besides he sees what I deal with day in and day out, and that is enough for him to not really want to pursure it as a career but more of a hobby. Then again it was a hobby for me at one time too. Now its just a dead end, sink or swim rat race :mad:
Any way I think I will toss things around in my head a bit more and then come up with some type of game plan by thye end of this week. That way it is only 4 days into the school year and he has plenty of time to get motivated. Will keep you posted.

#10 Markus56

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 06:43 PM

I just graduated in june and barley passed high school. My parents tried like **** to motivate me to do well in school. They tried money, a new car, threaten to kick me out of the house(which my dad did), everything. I simply didn't care. Some people cannot be motivated by other people. They have to do it for themselves. The only reason I had for graduating is the school counselor enrolled me in a local technical college the automotive technology/repair class, which starts in 2 weeks and i am excited for. SO now i am going to college for something i love.

Your son is 13 so there is no telling what he will do later, but just keep his eyes on the goal.

And personally, I think 13 is a little young to worry about perfect grades.

But i think it is awesome that he wants a brat. (so do I):grin:

#11 wallaby

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 04:57 PM

you can store it at my place and he won't suspect a thing
of course i'll keep it running occasionally:grin:

#12 Mugs

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Posted 16 September 2009 - 08:34 PM

you can store it at my place and he won't suspect a thing
of course i'll keep it running occasionally:grin:

Ya I bet you would, :lol:
Actually it is going to get parked in the grarage as soon as the wagon is done.

#13 Qman

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 11:32 AM

I did a similar thing with an 86 turbo sedan. Unfortunately, he found video games and girls and decided he had other things to do. We did get him through high school. He is 18 now. But that too was a struggle. Don't get me wrong. He is a good kid. Other parents nor the police have ever called complaining about my kids. When he applies himself he is capable of achieving anything he wants.

I am not saying that it will not work to help him stay focused and motivated. Just don't put all your efforts into one approach. You may need a secondary plan. The best thiing you can do for a child living in a split environment is to stay involved in his life. Try to work together with his Mother in keeping the same values and rules. And just simply be there for him.

Good luck, and I wish you great success.

#14 Numbchux

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 01:07 PM

Sounds like a good plan. But do be careful, as mentioned, obviously I don't know your son at all...But I can offer some insight from my own childhood. I was a kid like that, capable of As and Bs, and my parents knew it. But I didn't care, and I did less and less homework from about 7th grade on. I graduated in the bottom 10% of my class (still with a high-"C" average).

part of my motivation troubles was from my parents. they were so busy encouraging me to get As and Bs, that a C was a negative thing. And if I actually did buckle down, work my butt off, and still end up with a C, I'd get scolded and therefore discouraged.

perfect example was my first semester in college. I took 19.5 credits, half of them in music (many .5 credit classes that take up more time than a 3 credit geology class :-\), I didn't have a car, so I rode the bus or my bike. I spent 10-12 hours a day on campus, I worked like crazy, But I didn't do perfectly. I took a report card that I was genuinely proud on, Lied to make it look better, and the only thing my parents had to say about it was "only a B- in Geology? What's up with that?". I was absolutely crushed.

Now, I'm not blaming them, I know it was also my fault. But at a time in my life where I was really having trouble motivating myself to be there (I really only went to college because I was told to) that didn't help. I floundered for a couple more years, and eventually dropped out, with almost nothing to show for it.


What I'm trying to say, is be careful to keep the goal attainable, or it could turn into a negative. If he feels like he works hard, and just misses it, it could be very discouraging.

So, maybe set a few goals. Tell him that if he maintains a C average for the next couple years, that brat will be his. But that if he gets a B this year, he'll be able to start working on it next summer. And maybe something so that every A will earn him something extra.

Maybe set smaller goals, that if he has a major assignment, and gets it done early (which would mean he's got a better chance of doing it well), you can help plan out what you need/want to do with the car.

Definitely keep it in sight, or it might be forgotten.

#15 Scoobywagon

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 11:04 AM

I'm gonna preface this by saying that I don't have kids. Also, I'm unlikely to EVER have kids.

It seems to me that the way to do this might be to buy the Brat. Put it in the garage. Go out there with your son and work on it. Just the basics. Get it running/driving reliably. And when you go out to work on it, don't refer to it as your brat or his brat. Just refer to it as "the brat". Given your description I believe that he will get excited about it. That excitement gives you the opportunity to have the discussion with him. "So you like that Brat, huh? Well I tell you what. If you can <list of goals> by <time frame>, I'll sell you that car along with whatever parts or upgrades we manage to put in it between now and then." Then, if he meets his goal(s), you give him the car and let him put his savings into gas/insurance/upgrades. This also means that you get to control the pace of the work based on his grades through the year. If his grades slow down, so does the work. And if he puts on a real show and gives you straight A's, then maybe a little extra might be in order...like a new set of wheels or something.

This sets you up for some good bonding time with your son out in the garage. It gives him some motivation for better grades. Win/Win, right?

#16 Delta Brat

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 09:16 PM

Here is how my dad did it.

My dad told each of us kids we had to buy our own car. We had to pay to have or repair our own cars. In order for him to allow us to drive we had to qualify for a good student discount on our car insurance. See my dad had to prove to the state he was giving his permission that his minor children were allowed to drive (i'm not sure if it's still that way now). My dad paid for the insurance and all we had to do was have 3.0 or better grades for the insurance discount.

No 3.0 gpa then no permission to drive. It was that simple. It was hard to be cool in high school without a car. No dates. No independance, nada. It was huge to have a car and a license. I had to have a job so I could pay for gas and I had to get the grades too.

I gotta hand it to dad he was a smart one on that deal.

Here's how he dealt with the car before a license. We had a learners permit and he was required to be with us as we were learning. We had to complete drivers ed in school and he would practice parallel parking and backing around a corner. He gave advice like when backing out of a parking stall only to back up enough to pull forward in one motion to clear the car next to you. He explained how backing up your vision is not as good a range as when your facing forward and driving forward. by limiting your amount of backward motion you limit the unseen and distance traveled unecessarily.

#17 Special T

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Posted 07 July 2010 - 01:59 PM

I would go with a combo of Scoobywagon and Delta brat... My father did something very similar... and i think using the 2 takes care of the before and after. $.02

#18 Mugs

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 12:50 AM

Actually he bought his own BRAT for a hundred bucks. So Problem solved. It needs alot of work but it is all there and he has two years before he even gets his license so I think it will work out fine. So now I can keep "mine" and he can have his.

Edited by Mugs, 09 July 2010 - 06:50 AM.


#19 2manetoys

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 04:34 AM

Actually he bought his own BRAT for a hundred bucks. So Problem solved. It needs alot of work but it is all there and he has two years before he even gets his license so I think it will work out fine. So now I can keep "mine: and he can have his.


Double Bonus! Enjoy!




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