April 10, 2010,
J.K. asks from San Diego, CA on May 06, 2008
Have a 13 Year Old Daughter That I Want to Motivate to Do Well in School
My daughter is 13 years old and she is not very motivated to do well in school, instead she is more concerned about her image and how popular she is. She is always going to someone house after school, and on the weekends, instead of applying herself for her future. Any helpful ideas of inspiration is greatly needed.
1 mom found this helpful
S.G. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
She's 13. Get used to it. She's a typical teenager. Don't stress. Just give her reasonable guidelines - grades must be B or better (or whatever) or no social activities.
M.B. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
N.A. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
Oprah's DVD about the girls school in South Africa. It shows what the girls have to go through just to go to school. Most students appreciate their education after that
Also, maybe her activities or idle time let her dwell too much on popularity. She may need to experience other things. Maybe volunteer work with people that are less fortunate so that she can appreciate what she has and maybe see where she can end up if she chooses not to apply herself.
Limit TV, cell phone usage. Think of ways she can earn TV/Game/internet time. School is her job, if she does not earn anything, then take it all away.
Bottom line, she has to make a value judgement in order to make a change in herself.
T.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 08, 2008
This is not a no brainer, why do you think she goes over to other peoples homes, sounds like your unavailable most of the time, so she is finding other familys to fill her needs, she can't get your attention by doing good so she will do it other ways, free up your time mom get busy with her, 13 is a dangerous age she has to much freedom,
" warning "
C.K. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
13 is such a frustrating age! Our fun kids turn in to emotional, attitude filled, sassy people who think we parents cannot walk and chew gum at the same time!
Unfortunately, popularity is something that is VERY important to kids. Outward appearance seems to become "ALL that" to some kids in Jr. High through High School. Popularity revolves around what kind of clothes they wear, what kind of electronics they have (or don't have), who they hang around with, if they have a boyfriend (or girlfriend), the list goes on.
We tend to really worry about the future because that is where we adults are. Worrying all the time about EVERYTHING! (You know we do!)
Kids are not there yet. The future for them is next week or the next outing with their friends.
I am guessing, with your awesome accomplishments, (wow! 2 degrees! You rock!) that you want your daughter to attend college and make something of herself!
So, with that in mind, I will tell you about our 7 kids.
4 went to college! One (he is 29 now) went to the academy of art up north near (or in) San Francisco. He has a boat load of talent...he quit! Now years later he has a great job, and has a very serious relationship with a college graduated young woman. He is still great at art and didn't finish college. Another (now 32) went to Jr college and took pottery....sigh! She quit to be a mom and wife.....
One (now 24) went to a University right out of High School, finished last December with her bachelor's in Special Education and during all the school studies etc, moved on to the campus, later (2006) got married to her High School sweetheart, and is expecting their first baby in July PLUS she plans to begin a Master's program in September. (She was the social, wrapped up in her appearance, teenager!)
Another daughter (now 22), trying to find herself, goofed off, quit various part time jobs, played softball, all AFTER high school under acheiving. (She was kicked out for stealing from her 80 year old grandmother, sigh...) Talk about frustrating! Well, she is graduating from Jr. College this June! Has made various honors lists and has a direction. She will be transferring to a 4 year to finish school with her bachelor's. (She blew getting our help because of her flaky attitude and dishonesty.)
So...the other 3 ? One (now 18) is finishing High School this year and she still is not sure what to do with herself so she joined the ARMY!!!! One (now 26) is very happily married and is a mom to 2 wonderful little boys and the other one is still muddling through and trying to find his first job...he is 23 years old and just moved out! (A whole other story there!)
So..my suggestion (can't call it advice) is to give her a little room but also keep telling her how important her future education is. Take her places so she can see how BIG the world is and how people are different everywhere!! I think it is very important to point out how not everyone has the same privileges we have. Some people are eeking out a life in very poor conditions. (I sponsor children through Christian Children's Fund) Education will help your life, may improve the life of others, and will definitely impact your family! (With or without it!)
I wish you all the best as you go on this journey of the discovery of adulthood. It will be a bummpy road, I promise, but well worth it!
Oh..by the way, I was a Camp Fire Leader and a Cub Scout Leader, my kids were in sports, choirs, drama, community theater, and other extra curricular activities.
I attended Jr. College majoring in Child Development, yet did not finish cuz I had them!
L.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
You might let her know that the top fashion models and fashion designers all went to college. That if wasn't for school they would not know how to manage their money. Ask her if she thinks that the "cool" kids will think less of her if she is smart. That may have part to do with her lack of motivation. Remind her that looks will fade as does fashion and an education will always give you a high payback. You might even show her how it works out finacially when one has a degree vs not salary wise.
G.D. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
You should not allow her to go to her friends house after school if she's not doing well in school, she should be going home to work on her homework. She should be allowed to go to her friends house on weekends only if homework for the previous week was completed. My son knows that if he want's to go somewhere or do something he better make sure that all that needs to be done for school is done and his grades are good. I don't expect him to get straight A's but I do get on him all the time about school & grades. I also explain to him that it's for his own good and for a better future.
P.S. answers from Las Vegas on May 07, 2008
I am a middle school teacher and although I don't know your daughter, I have had experiences with thousands of other 13 year old girls. They need structure and rules! They need parents who listen and who act like adults. (the other day I overheard some kids talking about how drunk their parents were the other nite while others were discussing their mom's winning a wet t-shirt contest). You need to set some ground rules about socialization---visiting, phones, text messaging and all other forms of visiting. Believe me, if she is over-visiting during "mom" hours then she is way over-visiting during school hours. She is your child---not your friend. Here is hoping that things get back on the right track....
H.S. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
I recommend two books for you: Reviving Ophelia and Queen Bees and Wannabees. Each will give you insight to the importance of the adolescent cliche and its effcts on your daughter. Don't underestimate the power of the cliche and her friends. If you are not already, it's time for you to become savvy about myspace, utube and the internet. The girl wars of today are very different than they were for us. Make your home (if you are home regularly) the place everyone (meaning her girlfriends) wants to be. Get to know the moms of your daughter's friends. You will need allies. Keep working on your daughter's self-esteem. Stay involved in her life, even if it feels like she is pushing you away. Give her priviledges tied to demonstrations of responsibilities. And one of her responsibilities is her grades. I've taught high school for 14 years and I am a motivational speaker for high school girls. Believe me, you are in for a ride! Good luck!
B.T. answers from Las Vegas on May 09, 2008
I think the last advice was a bit harsh. Shake it off girl and let's think more positively. She is 13 and is going through an identity stage. The most important thing for her "future" for HER is being accepted. At 13 she is unable to look that far ahead. Don't be concerned with this. My daughter is now almost 16 and she is FINALLY looking towards the future. Getting excited about what she wants to do with her life.
So, how does one motivate an unmotivated 13 year old? You use positive reinforcement. You stay in touch with her teachers and her grades. You reward her efforts in school with her "social" life. Sounds like you know exactly what she wants. Let her "earn" it by putting her all into her "job" (school). You can decide how best to do that. Whether that's paying her for her report card grades or rewarding her with the PRIVILEGE to hang out with her girl friends. My children's schools have the "In-Touch" program implemented. That's a GREAT way to keep up on her assignments. If your school doesn't, get the emails of your daughter's teachers and become great email pals! :o)
It's not easy being a working mom. Especially as she goes into her teenage years. Keep your communication lines open with her by making it safe for her to talk to you (meaning truly listening to her concerns, no over reactions, but REALLY good counsel) . Tough love is not always the easy path for most of us parents, but it's essential to their learning. Once you set a rule or consequence or even reward STICK TO IT. Follow up with an out pouring of love -- no holding grudges. Good luck!!! :o)
V.S. answers from Los Angeles on May 07, 2008
I feel your pain, J.. I have a 16 year old and that is pretty much all she is preoccupied with, besides boys. The best advice I can give you is to NOT let her go to her friend's houses after school; instead, have her stay home and do her homework or study or read. If she has done all of that and still has time, then she can go, but don't let her social like interfere with her studies :) Same thing with the weekends. I'm sure she has tests she can study for, and you guys can study together, until you feel she knows the material. This might also motivate her to concentrate on school a little more (not much! lol) because if she is studying, and then getting good grades, it should make her feel good about herself. That's just my opinion, though. Good luck!!!