Teens Bad Grades What Are The Consequences?

February 17, 2009 · 5 comments

in Education

My recently turned 15 year old sons progress report is abysmal. It is his first year of high school, now what do I do? You would think with two before him, I would have it all worked out, but each kid is so different. I thought something was up and had been asking him over and over about school but not getting any replies. I wanted to trust that he had it handled and am trying to be hands off, hopefully letting him learn how to manage his own life. I don’t want to become the helicopter parent, but now I need to step in.

The first thing that comes to my mind is take away the cell phone, plus many other electronic devices. Through past experience I have learned that you have to be consistent and follow through with discipline, but I will have to confess I am not the best disciplinarian. This is the part of parenting teens that I find most difficult.

Here is how one family “humiliated” their teen that received bad grades,  Do You Punish Your Kids for Bad Grades? – Education – Families.com. This is not really a tactic that I believe in or plan to take. Every household deals with discipline differently and I am not one to judge what is right or wrong.  Since it is President’s Week I have 5 days to come up with a plan and I think he needs to be a part of the process.

I am desperately seeking input,

How do you handle it when your kids have unacceptable report cards?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mom with three March 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I was reading with interest all of the posts, and I noticed that “Too Many Hats” does a great job getting to the bottom of the problem. I think all people, teenagers not excluded, desire to do well. If they do not do well, there is something going on…sometimes I have seen that the parents could be having difficulties themselves, as a couple or in life. I have heard it said that children amplify and reflect what is going on in their parents’ own emotional inner world. If a parent is stressed, you will see a child acting out, angry, sullen, depressed….taking what the parent is feeling and amplifying it in themselves.

First step is for the parents to look at their own emotional state: depression, anxiety, stress.

Another factor, is how does a parent feel about their own academic abilities in their youth. Did they enjoy school, was school something that was supported at home in a positive way? These attitudes might be passed down.

I think parents under estimate the stress at school, not of classes, but socially. Social problems or pressures can cause anxiety, stress, depression…and school goes on a back burner.

If a child has a step-parent, there might be power issues, or a feeling of lack of security and value in the famiiy in comparison to natural children. It has an effect.

I have had three children, ages 12 – 26. My oldest daughter had always been a great student until she hit high school. I tried punishing her, taking away all the “things” that meant anything to her, tried the tough love route. IT was a mistake, she buckled to me, but at a very high price.

After 2 years of that, we got counseling…it came down to this. Her step-father (my husband) and I were having trouble, and therefore, I was stressed emotionally myself. She felt that, and it made life very hard for her inside. We as parents don’t realize how important it is for us as parents to be emotionally healthy ourselves in order to raise emotionally healthy, productive children.

Neither she nor I understood that her grades reflected how SHE was feeling about herself and life, and that came from how I felt about my life…like a chain reaction.

My aunt had 5 very successful children, and her share of family stress. She advised me, “Never let a child get used to failure. Do what ever it takes to help them do well. But punishment is not the answer.” Her children are now in their 30′s, each with differing temperaments and talents, and abilities. Yet two became lawyers, two are doctors, and one is a successful journalist/reporter who just published her second book (NOT self published either). All five are married, all five have children of their own.

My oldest is now in grad school getting her license to be a therapist. She has a 4.0. She turned around by her senior year in high school, going from erratic grades, and missing a day of school per week during one year to an A- average. Her grade improvement corresponded to my doing better with my own emotional happiness.

My other children were 10 years behind in age. And I have done so much better with them. It has been easy in comparison. It wasn’t the child who was having the trouble, it was me.

2 Whit February 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I understand. My hair is a lovely color of early gray. I reached out to my daughter ‘s school counselor and teachers, asking their opinion as well as trying to understand the “why” behind the grades. They were a tremendous help and we developed a plan with my daughter’s input. Sure, there was a lot of eye rolling on her part but involving her in the solution was a win-win. She’s 16…….not an easy age. We just talked….well, I let her talk and kept quiet. She knew what the problem was……the key is follow thru on the plan…..a goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish….I learned a lot in this process too.

BTW….tried taking away all of the gadgets, car, etc. Didn’t work. The plan designed with input and commitment was the turning point.

3 Leigh February 25, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I have taken away the cell phone for an entire semester along with Internet, etc. with less than stellar results. It helped but not all that much. My daughter is 16 and made straight A’s up until high school. I am not kidding when I say her problem is pure laziness. Part of the problem is the schools in Texas let students make up everything which is good and bad. It is bad because the student knows they can blow off the first time becauae they get a second chance. She is not failing or anything but has had a few C’s. I am with you about the helicopter parenting and I am at loss for other options. I ran across your article while searching for other options besides the cell phone because I am not all that sure it is effective. Although i guess it could be worse if I didn’t do anything!

4 admin February 17, 2009 at 8:55 am

The more I think about it and reading your comment I do want to work through this in a positive way and I know he can pull through. This is a progress report and on a certain level I blame myself. I think if you make his grades a punishment then they begin to really dislike school. Thanks for your help. I hope others report what how they would handle the situation.

5 TooManyHats February 17, 2009 at 8:44 am

Let me start with a disclaimer – this has not happened to me yet – dd in 10th is an overachiever to the Nth degree and the boys are homeschooled & we really take a mastery approach versus grading everything. I may deal with this next year when ds-13 might be going to high school though.

Before any punishment was given out, I would try to determine what the difference is between this year and last. I am assuming last year and prior years he has had acceptable/good grades versus this semester’s abysmal grades. So, did he move from a small junior high with more attention to a large high school? Does he have a girl friend this year? Is he taking more challanging courses (honors vs. regular classes)?

Then, I would talk to the teachers – I know no fun, but you have to know how the grades ended up in the basement. Was he not turning in homework which may account for half his grade in some classes? (if it is lack of homework then ask him why – too much cell phone time, too much game time, etc.) Was he turning in homework, but then bombing all the tests? Is he participating in class (some classes may have a participation requirement which will account for a smaller percentage of the grade – this is especially true in foreign language classes)? Ask the teachers how they perceive your son and what they recommend (tutor/homework contract/more organization).

Okay, once you have this information you will hopefully be able to determine if there is a course of action that will help your son this semester – organizational help, homework charts, tutor, swtiching classes, etc. Once the actual cause, if there is one, is addressed then I think you can talk punishment. Hopefully, from your investigation you will discover what is taking his time away from school and curb that habit (TV, games, cell phone).

Does his school have an online way to check grades and assignments? My dd’s high school does and it has been helpful. Even though school comes easy and she is an overachiever, I do check it from time to time – a few times she was not given credit for something she had turned in and received back with full credit – teachers are human and sometimes make mistakes. She just had to bring it to the teacher’s attention and credit was restored. This will help you keep up in the future. I know I homeschool and automatically that makes me a helicopter parent, but I assure you I am very hands off with dd – it drives me nuts she waits to the last minute to do any homework or projects, but she can and it is easy for her. The only thing I do is check the online status a few times a semester – actually this year I think I have checked it once. Her school also sends home 2 progress reports per semester, so I can see how she is doing before it becomes a problem. If his school does that, set goals for the first progress report of the new semester in each class. Give him something attainable to work towards. Success breeds success, so help him get back in the saddle.

Okay, this got way too long.

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