L.G. asks from Rockford, IL on February 18, 2008
Teenage Boy and Jr High
I'm looking for advice on ways to get my 13 yr old son to bring up his grades in school. He is a D average student and is fine with that. I ofcourse am not! has anyone been there and have any tips on getting through it?
So What Happened?™
Just wanted to say thank you for all the advice. It is good to know you are not alone! I am going to try some of these suggestions, thanks
We will get through this too.
M.J. answers from Chicago on February 19, 2008
i have a 13 year old son as well. although we don't have an issue with grades, we offer rewards for grades. not big stuff, just fun stuff. I have found the positive reinforcement works well. for a really good mid-quarter report and good actual quarter report card, I take him to lunch at the place of his choice on a day off of school. Then we sometimes go to a movie. he really enjoys this, and it gives him "special time". I did this with my older son too. (he is now in college). going out for lunch and a movie is something they really felt special about. so, i would suggest something he really enjoys and having him work for it as a reward.
P.L. answers from Chicago on February 19, 2008
I think sometimes kids say that they are fine with "poor" grades - and that they don't care - but it is possible he really needs some extra help in school. I used to help a neighbor's child with math - and it really helped. Sometimes they start to fall behind - and can't catch up. I like the positive reinforcement ideas from the other moms - since he may feel overwhelmed - and some small "prizes" could get him excited again. I have spent plenty of time at the kitchen table at the same time as my child doing homework. I usually find something else to do - paperwork, pay bills, sometimes my own work. It seems that if I am near - she focused better - and she didn't feel like she was the only one "working". I also try to have the TV off - until all homework is done. My neighbor has a no TV rule until 9pm (they record their favorite shows and catch up on the weekend). If he doesn't seeem to get personal satisfaction from school work - you can help give him satisfaction from small incentives.
Please hang in there - and stay focused on him. Encourage him daily - for anything he did well. Have fun with him.
Also explain that school is a family priority - and that you are willing to do whatever you can to help him (whether this means you sit at the table with you for an hour in the evening or you withhold some privilege until his work is done).
Try to make sure school isn't the only thing you speak to him about....
S.W. answers from Chicago on February 20, 2008
i would tell my child to either bring the grades up or we will have a tutor or go to summer school. sometimes kids say they are ok with is or just think of themselves as stupid and give up trying. teen years are soooooo difficult. And you have it at both angles- teens and infants at the same time. It doesnt get harder than that. lol. remember to spend some alone time with your son too. good luck!
L.B. answers from Chicago on February 19, 2008
I had the same issue with my oldest. His 7th grade teacher told me it was a maturity issue & he would come around in high school. He did improve in high school but he first had to attend summer school for algebra between his freshman & sophomore year. He actually made it on the honor roll his sophomore year & I believe the difference was he joined the running team. Participating on the team improved his self esteem & he made more friends who were a positive influence. My friend who was a school counselor recognized my son as ADD. He is on the milder end so maybe thats why it was missed in grade school. We felt it was important to try medication since he would soon take his college entrance exams. He is now in his senior year in college.
R.K. answers from Chicago on February 20, 2008
I simply advise that you take the course I am offering on May 3 and 10, 2008 at the Lake Street Church in Evanston, from 9:30 AM to noon on both days...
'Mastering Tough Conversations with Your Teen or Pre-Teen'
R. Katz, Psy.D.
T.L. answers from Bloomington on February 20, 2008
In my opinion, your entering the most turbulent years. My son is going to be 18 in April. It's been a rocky road. I look back and he too had average grades with D's in the mix. At his worst, I grounded him and told him he will be ungrounded when the grades are atleast C or above, It worked. For the first time in his life he was pulling high marks on all his homeworks. Now that he isn't grounded he is slipping again. They can do it...we just need to push them in the right direction. I don't like to ground to get out of them what they should be doing for themselves, but in this case it was a last resort. I wish I would have not let him have as much freedom as I gave..thinking I was preparing him for a mans life of independence...thinking the more freedom I gave he would develop into a man that could make his own choices..and I would never have to worry. In spite of all my good intentions, good advice..he obviously thought he knew it all and as of right now because of friends that had bought something stolen and put it in my sons car he is pleading guilty of possession of stolen property...even though he didn't realize it was stolen. And just lost his drivers license for one year because he has a lead foot. So he gets to start his college life walking everywhere instead of driving. My advice is: Don't allow him enough freedom to hang himself, limit his time with friends..and know everyone of his friends and their parents, keep in contact with the other parents at all times (don't trust them all the time) they do tell fibs to get what they want, give them surprise drug tests even though you don't think they will go near drugs, demand respect for yourself and your home, make them do regular chores (give them things they are soley in charge of in the household), try to get him into sports in school and out, don't allow him sleep-overs with his friends every weekend, do not allow him to have his own car when he gets his license...if he does drive set rules and stick to them. Be his parent, not a friend. Talk civil on problems and listen, don't dictate or have a closed mind. Limit time in front of the tv and video games. We never think our children will make bad choices and that they will excel..but that's not the case...even in the best of homes. It's all up to us to guide and hope they follow and listen. Find books on the teenage years and read as much as you can about teens. They do not have the same mind set as adults do. They are a breed all of their own. Good luck!
P.K. answers from Springfield on February 20, 2008
I am the principal of a middle school (6-8th grade). I feel your pain! It seems that the intrinsic value of learning for the sake of learning does not occur in most teenage boys. You have to tie their school success to something tangible. In my case, it was allowance. My son loved money and shoes. I had a scale where his good grades earned more money than medicore grades. As he got older, good grades lowered his car insurance, which I made him pay for. That was a great incentive! You might talk to him about why he doesn't value school, and what his untimate goal for the future is.
D.A. answers from Chicago on February 20, 2008
I have a 14 yo daughter and went through a similar thing. My daughter was an A student until this year - we have a Sylvan's Learning Center in our town. We started her there and her grades improved dramatically. They are great and they tailor to your child's needs.
K.C. answers from Chicago on February 20, 2008
Been there done that unfortunately. I know it's such a struggle. My son is 14 and a freshman this year. For the last three years though, his grades have been about the same, a D average. My husband and I tried everything we could think of taking away from him, but nothing seemed to work. We've now started rewarding him for a job well done instead of punishing him and he's finally getting C's and B's. What a difference this has made in all of our lives, his included. He has more self confidence and is a much happier kid. Have a talk with your son and see what he thinks a good reward would be and whether you can afford to do what he suggests, if not, come up with something you can both live with. All kids react differently though, but I hope this will work for you too.