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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
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Our daughter is 15 and a Freshman in high school. She has

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Our daughter is 15 and a Freshman in high school. She has always been a very good student and was praised by her past teachers. She hasn't always been a straight A student, but consistently A's & B's. We have always told our children that we expect them to do THEIR best, XXXXX XXXXX or may not be straight A's. As long as they are doing the best that they can and making an effort we are satisfied. The problem is that now that she is in high school the communication with the school is far less, as much more responsibility and self motivating is expected from the students, which I understand. Namely we don't see her work papers any longer, however, we can follow her grades online. Herein lies our issue. Her grades have begun to slip significantly in four classes. In her defense she has recently brought her Honors English grade up to an A and for that we have praised her. The other three classes are C's and one D. We know that she is capable of much better. She rarely, if ever, brings any homework home as she says that she is able to complete it either in class or in study hall. In three of her classes she has had missing or incomplete papers that she tells me she has turned in and the teacher has lost. By the time we realize it online and she (supposedly) asks the teacher about it they have told her it is "too late" and she receives a 0. I have no reason not to believe her as this is totally opposite the student we have known in the past. And I hesitate to accuse her of lying to me for obvious reasons. Every time I bring up the issue she is defensive and our conversation is very limited because it is so difficult to get her to talk about the issue civilly. I might also note that, at least for the time being, we have a typical "mother/teen daughter" relationship that isn't always reflective of Leave it to Beaver! Needless to say, our conversations aren't always ideal. We have recently given her 2 weeks to bring the grades up, however, other than the English grade she has not done that. I'm at a loss as to how to handle this without driving an even larger wedge between us. Do I take away all privileges, cell phone, drivers license, computer, opportunity to "hang out" with friends? Do I force her to seek out tutoring (which is available at the school)? Do I insist she bring homework home every night so that we can see that she is, in fact, doing it and re-checking it? I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she is doing her best, XXXXX XXXXX truly don't believe that. I've asked her if there is something else going on that we aren't aware of and she denies that there is anything. She has a large group of friends and that seems to be going well. They are all good kids, involved in exra-curricular activities, good students, etc. She seems, by all accounts, to be a very happy, well adjusted kid (who also seems to think her mother is the enemy! ha) I would really appreciate suggestions as to how to help her get back to the student she is capable of being so that she can take pride in her report card once again.

Wow..this is the EXACTLY the same issue that I had with my son last year when he started high school.. He gave us the same excuses as well. I am a teacher so I felt even more awful. Looking back on my son's experiences and comparing it with your daughter, freshman get so caught up in the social scene at school. They have more independence and we even also give them more by not checking their work and staying on top of their assignments. I took away the Play Station , limited computer time, limited cell phone time at home, limited outings with friends, etc. I even got him a tutor for Math. Taking away those things did not help much. His grades did not improve. He had to go to summer school. That was an eye opening experience for him He realized that he was not like most of the "dummies" in summer school that really did not care about school. This year, he is doing 10x better. I think the freshman year is the experimental year and the students are trying to find where and how they fit in. Unfortunately, grades are not as important. Also, the students find out that many colleges and universities only really look at 10th and 11th grade grades. The students also have this idea that a "D" is not that bad because it is still passing. Your daughter is very influenced by her friends right now. It is the whole peer pressure factor that is in control. Just try to stay supportive and not get too upset. That will make matters worse. Get a tutor in her worst classes, take some things away, and even schedule a conference with your daughter's teachers if neessary. Just get through this year. I am sure 10th grade will be much better. I am sorry if I seem like I am rambling, but as I read your story, I was just amazed how it mirrored my life at this time last year. Hang in there. Things will get better.


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