February 05, 2010,
J.O. asks from Stony Brook, NY on February 04, 2010
7Th Grade Son Missed Honor Roll Be Less Then a Point
Hi I have a question and I need some help because my husband and I totally disagree. My 7th grade son's report card just showed up today. My husband called me at work FURIOUS. My son has maintained an above 90 average since the 6th grade. Had he gotten a 90 or above this quarter he was eligible to join the Jr Honor Society. Needless to say his report card has an 89.37 average and my husband is furious! "He is ruining his future, he needs to understand he cant F this up..etc" . He went up in Science by a couple points and everything else went down about a point or two except for gym which went from a 98 to a 92 (unbelievably dumb.. but...it is what it is) ... Anyway his progress report for this last quarter was not good (disruptive, etc) so we grounded him and took away games, phone etc ...
Anyway this is the problem - I don't really have an issue with the average.. I think it stinks and I think he is going to be disappointed (as I am as well) ... but my husband is ready to ground him for the rest of the quarter until his next report card - I feel as though that is a little extreme. I want to sit down with my son and explain to him AGAIN how important this is and how he needs to be consistent.. etc.. ask him if there are any tools he is missing where is feels that improvement can be made, what we can do etc.. my husband says no-- "we've done that.. he needs to be severely punished this time" ... any advice...? This is the first year that he has had to switch classes and have different teachers and even tho he did well the first 2 quarters, he still may be adjusting.. he's a good kid.. but tends to be a little on the lazy side.. I just don't think grounding is going to help - I think , knowing him, that he will be resentful and may end up not caring about school more... I explained this to my husband.. he doesnt by it.. Am I just being naive?
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Ok great.. I have to defend my husband a little tho :) .. He did call me so that he could vent to me because he knows how he can get and when I bring something to his attention he does make EVERY effort to change his behavior if it is detrimental to anyone in anyway.. I have been with him since I was 16 and I am in my mid 30's now and he has never had a problem doing that... So he did call TO vent so he WOULDNT attack our son.. he calls me to be able to become rational again :) I just wanted to make sure that people would back me up and that I wasn't just being too protective of my son.. as I do expect good grades.. And too me the 89 is great.. Hubby mad about honor roll.. He has to get past that.. and take it from now on.. Thank you for all of the comments - I really think that I am am right in the situation but I don't want to make it a right or wrong thing.. I want us to be on the same page about this... So thank you again!! This is my first time even on the site and I think it's amazing! My kids are 13 and 10 lol wish I found this site earlier... !!
R.S. answers from New York on February 04, 2010
I am a doctor, and, believe me, having gone through years and years of schooling, and taken many standardized tests - an 89 in the 7th grade is a drop in the bucket. It is not a big deal, it just isn't. Even the Honor Roll - while nice to be on it, nice to brag about it when you are the parent - in middle school is also not a big deal. It's not like you can put it on your resume when you turn 21. I say, take it easy on your kid. Praise him for his efforts, first and foremost. Ask him how he feels about his grades - he may have already realized he should have worked harder, and, if this is the case, there is no reason to ground him since he knows where he's gone astray already. Then, you can, if you would like, push him to try harder. Personally, if it was my kid, I would not - there are more things in this world to talk about than missing the Honor Roll in middle school by less than a point.
If it helps, I missed being valedictorian by less than a point. Thankfully, my parents did not care, and neither did I, and now, no one cares. Life goes on.
3 moms found this helpful
R.J. answers from San Diego on February 04, 2010
I'm SO gald you updated!!! :) And it really is very cool that your DH called and vented with you first so that your son wasn't the target and that you guys handle things proactively.
As someone who has both had a meltdown and was completely devastated that her 3.989 slipped to a 3.984 AND who in a particular irritation with a certain teacher decided to handwrite all of her papers non-mirror inverted backwards -so she couldn't just hold them up to a mirror and read them) and was secretly irritated that the teacher still passed instead of failing me...(aka both incredibly anal about grades and very loose with them at different times in my life). I would suggest coming up with "Plan A" ((Aka what you want to do)) and then before implementing that having a sit down with you son and putting the ball in his court.
Tell him you and DH have already come up with what you think would be an appropriate response to the grades... but are willing to table that without even saying what plan A is, if your son can come up with a "better" response.
Especially with responsible kids, their answers can surprise you. Both in their harshness, methodology, and the reasons for what they're doing. It also gives you more ground to work with (aka, if feels something was unjust, it opens the conversation for him having a talk with the teacher about the grade -and how to go about it in a responsible way- to see if the teacher will either change it, explain why it was just, or give advice/tips/pointers on how to do better in that teacher's eyes next quarter). It also starts to teach a proactive student approach that will serve him well in his educational career... the self monitoring, periodic review of what's going on, and the innate power that most students have to alter their own course.
Best of Luck!!
1 mom found this helpful
S.H. answers from Honolulu on February 04, 2010
Your Husband has a problem. Big time.
One day... if he keeps it up, your son is going to retaliate or rebel against him.
This is not "military" boot camp, this is 7th grade... and your son has "put up with" your Husband long enough. If that were me... I wold run away from home.
Your Husband is TOO TOO TOO hard on your son...
Is YOUR husband educated? Sounds like your Husband is living through your son.. perhaps.
Your Husband... if going to RUIN any kind of son/Father bonding that may exist, and he is going to make your son really despise him.
Your Husband is not being a "Dad"... he is being a mean ol' man.
Your son, is only going to put up with it for only so long. You know that don't you?
All the best,
Y.C. answers from New York on February 04, 2010
I feel sorry for you, I think you want to be a team with your husband but this time I think you have to stand up for your son.
I understand a little bit your husband, I never did very well at school because my mom was working to hard she couldn't help me out.
Now that I grow I see how important it was and I tell my 11 year old all the time. I actually always ask for "A" but secretly get glad with a B if I saw her trying. This year she start liking boys and some girls became a more in to boys and look pretty, I also noticing boys being interested in girls and trying to look cool. Is not only a school change but they are becoming teenagers! I wish my bigger problem is my daughter having a bad grade and not something else.
I think your son's grades are good, of course your and your husband know him better and you know what he is capable to do.
Encourage your son to get better because you know he can, but tell him that you understand all the changes that he is and will go thru.
Talk to your husband a maybe even show him the post of the other moms.
Wait, now that I remember, I use to know this boy in highschool, he stop going to school and start working with his father in their business (a tortilla store!!), my mom didn't want me to date him because he leave school and he work in a tortilla store, short story, years later he open many business (they still own most of the tortillas stores in the town, plus many other bussines) and is one of the most rich guys in our hometown, lol.
I am not saying that is ok to give up school, I wish I did best my self, what I am saying is that grades are not the ONLY way to have an amazing future.
Damn I should have date this guy years ago, lol.
S.S. answers from Binghamton on February 05, 2010
He is 12 and his hormones are going crazy. Maybe you and your husband could look at one of the websites that details the changes going on in an adolescent brain. It might help him understand what is going on with his son and that there are a lot of emotions that he cannot understand or control right now.
I agree with you: If you take drastic steps, he will be resentful and might cut off his nose to spite his face, ie start working less just to show you you can't control him. Kids often experience a drop in performance around 7th and 8th grade. Talk to his teachers to see if they think there is any support you can give him, but I do think severe punishment will only achieve the opposite of what you want, which is to motivate and inspire him. There must be positive ways he can be motivated, things he likes in particular to help him put that extra bit of work in that will make the difference.
L.A. answers from Chicago on February 04, 2010
I personally think your son is doing a great job. This is coming from a mom with a 6th grade daughter that struggles a bit. He is less then a point away from an A average, how can that be bad.
You said it yourself, he is a good kid, and he is adjusting to middle school. We start middle school in 6th grade, so I am going through this change with my duaghter right now. If you put to mush pressure on him, he may pull back and rebel.
I say let him know he did an awesome job, and discuss with him how he felt about the quarter. Maybe it was the teacher, or a different teaching method.
C.W. answers from Dallas on February 04, 2010
Does the 89 average make your son unworthy somehow? Relax! I'm sure he is doing the best he can. If there is no evidence of him "slipping" on purpose (i.e. not doing homework, not studying for tests, etc.) then give him a break. It really is not the end of the world. If your son is anything like my kids he will be himself up enough.
S.B. answers from Minneapolis on February 04, 2010
Sounds like MY house - I have a 12 yr old son (6th grade), who could apply himself better but is a bit on the lazy side and it will sometimes show in his grades. His dad goes WAY OVERBOARD and grounds him for weeks for a missing/late assignment, etc. I don't agree. However, it isn't a whole lot better for us to argue about punishing him, either. I did make the decision to let him handle the "punishment" for school stuff and now I have to live with it. What I DO do is ask his dad to first let me know what he is going to do for a punishment for something before he does it. And then I talk to him about making sure that it is a punishment HE can handle. I have explained to him that when he punishes our son for 2 weeks, it is somewhat of a punishment for me since I have to deal with a grounded kid for two weeks, not him. So, the rule is he can take care of the punishment but HE has to be responsible for monitoring/handling it, not me. I will support his decision, but I am not going to "carry it out." That's not a partnership, it's a dictatorship.
M.T. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
Severely punished for an 89 average. Are you kidding me? Why is your child required to get a 90 or above? Is he even capable of this? I think it's ridiculous, and I have a 9th grader (high schooler) and a 5th grader (he is in middle school, starts in fifth grade here). If this is the 2nd marking period, it is normal for the grades to go down, they aren't reviewing last years' work anymore, the work is getting harder. Does you son even know that there is a rule that he must maintain at least a 90 average?
What does your husband think he is screwing up? Does he seriously think colleges are going to look at their junior high report cards? They aren't. Your husband needs a dose of reality.
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on February 04, 2010
I agree with Lindee T.'s post. Your husband is being ridiculous. An 89.37 GPA and he's going to get grounded? Please! Your husband should be on his knees thanking God that THIS is is "trouble" with a 7th grader.
If your son's school has the grades & assignments on-line this shouldn't be a very big surprise on report card day. Kind of like crying over spilled milk while you watched it fall over. Give the kid a break.
H.W. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
Wow, when I read this I was so upset. An 89 average is very good, your son sounds like a hard worker and a good kid. Grounding him would alienate him forever and turn him off to learning! Do you want to push him away and make him feel completely inadequate? He is NOT jeporadizing his future by getting an 89, that is just crazy talk.
Your husband sounds like he has major anger issues. I would give your son a hug and treat him to something nice for getting an 89. When he sees how happy it makes you, he will probably feel even more encouraged and do even better next time. But he is doing well now and that should be recognized.
I should say after my parents' divorce when I was very young my grades plummeted and their reaction was to ground me, pretty much indefinitely. But my grades never improved. I barely made it through high school. Luckily, as soon as I moved out after I turned 18 I was smart enough to go to junior college, and transferred to a good four year school. Now I have a master's degree! The point his, I probably needed help with my homework, not grounding! I'm telling you it made me hate school worse, when in reality I was a smart kid who just needed help.
C.C. answers from Dallas on February 04, 2010
I think you are exactly right-you're husband is going WAY overboard and I think punishing him will make him resentful. Here you have a son who has maintained an awesome grade average for 1 1/2yrs. I would focus on how great he's done in school -not the few extra points he's dropped. I think your husband is setting him up for failure. He's going to learn that you have to be perfect or there are severe consequences. And is it the end of the world if he doesn't make the honor society or that he's just below a 90? I say take him out and celebrate his accomplishments!!!
S.M. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
You have got to be kidding me? Your husband's reaction is way out of context! It sounds to me your husband is more concerned with how your son's grades will pump up his own self esteem rather than your son's well being. The poor kid is probably so stressed out. An 89 average in 7th grade is not something to be FURIOUS about. You and your husband should celebrate his effort. Obviously if he missed being on the honor roll by only one point he is trying. I can't imagine what your husband would do if your son was just not getting a particular subject and ended up with a C even though he tried to the best of his ability. The poor kid would be scared to death. Being on the honor roll is not an indicator of his future accomplishments or his intelligence. Don't allow your son to be so stressed out, let him enjoy his pre-teen years and make him feel loved regardless of whether or not he is on the honor roll! Don't raise a kid that never feels good enough!
B.C. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
We went through the same thing with my son last year. He's in 8th grade now. Difference is I was the one that was "upset" like your husband and my husband said I was too hard on him. My son had always been top of his class averaging 4's in elementary and over 90 in 6th grade so I knew he could handle advance classes. Then came 7th grade and he didn't want to do anything more than average. I knew age 12/13 is tough for a boy. Many are defined by their interests at this age, sports or academics/nerds or music, etc, especially the boys. Unlike the girls and their cliques at this age, the boys are trying to figure out who they want to hang with. My son took the same "downward dip" because he wanted to be "sports" but knew he could be "brains" but didn't want to be labeled nerd (we only found that out this year). He felt our "pushing him" to do better and taking away privilegesas punishments rather than encouragement...and of course, rebelled. As such he became more angry, attitude driven and disruptive behavior in class. We finally loosened up and let him figure it out on his own because nothing we said or did helped. Yes, a quarter here and there without honor rolll is not going to prevent him from the Junior Honor Society. However, his attitude on the progress report will. Long and short....don't worry so much about the average (you're right on here and 87 or better is fine) but continue the constant reminders of doing well for college/future career and positive support (not negative like grounding, that won't work). It's an age and social thing. If he's a good student, he will figure it out before 8th grade. Good luck. I hope this brings you some comfort.
BTW, my son is in the Junior Honor Society this year with advance classes as well as being on varsity baseball and football. Yes, he figure it out and is achieving in both academics and sports and proud of his own achievements. We're pretty much just spectactors now.
L.T. answers from Dallas on February 04, 2010
I am going with...seriously? It's 7th grade. Your husband needs to lighten up. All of this pressure from him cannot be good on the kid. I am sure he is stressed trying to live up to the expectiation that has been put on him. Let him know he needs to maintain an A avg but I don't think grounding him is the way to encourage him to do so. My kids aren't even in school yet though, so what do I know? Good luck!
R.A. answers from Pensacola on February 04, 2010
Most of his grades may have slipped a little, but as you pointed out, his science grade did improve and your son does need to be congratulated for that.
I struggled in school, and I never lived up to my parents expectations. Whenever I brouhgt home a report card, they ALWAYS focused on the bad grades and never cmmented on the good grades. I was forever being grounded, and it made me even more resentful because I was never being rewarded for for my acomplishments. It got to the point where I stopped trying in school. I figured there was no point in getting good grades when nobody was going to recogize what effort I was putting into my schoolwork.
Your husband really needs to step back, take a deep breath, a relax a moment. An 89.37 average is an extremely high B average and with a little bit of work on your son's part he can make honor roll the next time around. Your son needs to be praised for his work in bringing his science grade up, that couldn't have been an easy feat! Also, do keep in mind that this is his first year of junior high and it does take awhile for some students to get used to changing classes and teachers, and having a lot more homework than in previous years.
The more pressure your son is under, the less likely he is to succeed.
Perhaps it would be helpful for your husband to talk to the school counselor. The counselor might be able to address his concerns and see if there are any school resources to support your son. I wish you luck.
S.F. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
I can only speak from the experience of being a teacher, so take or leave my advice as you see fit.
Punishment nearly never works to improve a student's work. Kids often become resentful and angry. What does work is motivation. If you think about it in the perspective of this being your son's job, just as we all have jobs to do, he needs motivation. My motivation is a paycheck, and the respect of my colleagues and family.
I'm not saying give him prizes or presents for achievement. But maybe there's something he's really interested in- an activity, a day with dad, something... that might motivate him to push himself (you said he seems lazy... ).
I remember also being in his position as a kid- I was a good student, but didn't really want to study. So I got 80's and 90's. Once I joined a sport and the theater group, I was required to keep my grades up (my parents' requirement) and it was a motivation for me.
E.C. answers from New York on February 05, 2010
Go out to dinner at a place your husband likes, eat dinner (don't talk about your son). At dessert or maybe in bed later, ask him what makes him upset about your son's grades. Just listen, don't argue. This is a long term issue. His grades do not matter for his life in 7th grade, but as a family you have a great opportunity to be united and to gradually develop patterns for setting standards while also letting him experience natural consequences for his actions. Sometimes those are consequences imposed by the parents which he can be made aware of ahead of time. Sometimes they are the consequences in other areas. Your marriage will be around when he goes off to live independently - college or otherwise. So, enjoying each other, learning to understand and work together, are really important things to work on now.