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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Getting ready to pick up my 21yr college junior daughter

Resolved Question:

getting ready to pick up my 21yr college junior daughter from college for xmas break. Some of her grades appeared this morning.One passig for a jogging class,then a C, C-, and a D. Last grade has not appeared yet for 13 hrs. She is not a C student. Had some grade issues in the past took 19 hrs first semester, but nothing like this. An A student in Highschool.Too much Txting going on. How do you approach without her shutting down.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

When kids go from high school to college, the adjustment can take a while. Suddenly, they are no longer at home under Mom and Dad's watchful eye. They are independent with few restrictions and suddenly an adult. Some kids take time to realize that the discipline has to come from within and no longer through their parents or teachers.

Your daughter sounds like a mature person who may just need some guidance. To talk with her, try these steps:

Allow her to know that you have expectations that her grades are good throughout college, particularly if you are funding college in any way. Keep your expectations realistic. A's and B's are good grades but expecting all A's may cause too much pressure and she may rebel or just not be able to maintain the grades and fail.

Approach talking about her grades without judgment. Emphasize that you want to keep the communication open between you and that you are there to help, not dominate.

Keep in mind that in the first semester of college students grades are usually lower than in high school until they adjust. So getting worried now may be premature.

Don't ask outright how her grades are or if there are any problems with her affecting her grades. Try connecting to her and get her talking about things in general. You could start with talking about home and what has been going on, mention what is for dinner, ask her if she'd like to go out with you one day and do something fun, etc. Reconnecting to her on her level will help get her talking, so when you bring up college, she may be more willing to keep talking.

Try not to quiz her. Weave comments about school into your regular conversation. Treat it as part of her life but not the total focus. The less intensity on her about school, the less likely she will try to avoid the topic.

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Kate you quoted


Keep in mind that in the first semester of college students grades are usually lower than in high school until they adjust. So getting worried now may be premature."

I agree. BUT she is now a Junior in college. She took 19 hrs Freshman yr. I wanted her to take less due to the Freshman adjustment.

This Junior year she is taking 13 hrs because I see she withdrew from a class earlier.

Unfortunatly, I feel this is a very big elephant in the livingroom and talking about the weather is not going to cut it.

Wondering, do we let her go back in Jan ? yes we are footing the bill for school.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

My apologies! I mistook what you wrote. I understand now.

I would still approach her the same way, just with an added incentive to find out what has changed for her. To go from doing fine throughout the first few years then suddenly developing poor grades does indicate a change in her life.

When you talk with her, mention that you noticed the change and that you are concerned. Again, use the non judgment approach when you talk with her and try to get her to talk in general first before you bring it up. You don't want it to be the first thing out of your mouth when you see her. You want to get her to reconnect with you first so she doesn't close off to you first thing and you can't get her back.

Also, try to connect to her through personal experience. If you went to college, tell her about some of the problems and concerns you had, just enough to help her connect to you and identify with you.

If she is home for a while over the holidays, try going slow with your conversations with her. She may need time to build up to telling you what is going on at school and in her life.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.


Yes, I fear her shutting down/off. While my own mother would have taken a different approuch, I am trying to be a much different type of parent.(the grandma in me does creep in from time to time) :(

I am staying at a hotel to help her move from one apartment to another tomorrow.

It will give me some time.

We are taking her and her 26yr old brother on a cruise right after xmas. We do have fun times together, it would be good not have this hanging over our heads at that time. Wish me luck,

Thanks again,


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like you are handling this very well. The time away from school will probably help her express herself with less pressure. Whatever is going on with her, it will work out. You are there for her and it's just a matter of her opening up and letting herself rely on you.

My best to you and your daughter. And I thank you ahead of time for your accept.

Have fun on your cruise!