How to Encourage 8Th Grader to Excel in School.

Updated on January 07, 2010
S.A. asks from Upland, CA
5 answers

Any ideas or advice on how to encourage my 13 year old 8th grade son on becoming more organized and putting a little more effort into his school work, and tests. I'm frustrated and he is improving but it's for a few weeks and back to the basics. He'll forget to turn in an assignment or turn it in late. I have grounded him and took away phone, computer, t.v., friends etc. He's improving as of now but I don't want to nag him to death I know it's stressful for him but need some advice on helping not stressing him out more. During the week for years we have not watched t.v during the school week so we get in some family time and reading time. This has worked out great. I just want to know if this is a phase or should I be worried. He has done great up until the 7th grade -second semester.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Las Vegas on

It's a very difficult stage in his life. There are a lot of new factors. Changing body, pimples, peers, girls, and always increasingly more challenging schoolwork ~ yahoo! You know he can do it because he has shown you. Personally, at this stage I would do what ever you have to...bribe him, rather than restrict him. As adults in the work place, we much prefer a reward over a disciplinary note or review in our file. Try it.

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answers from Los Angeles on

first off, does your son know how to be organized in the first place. maybe he knows what needs to happen but doesn't know how to make it happen. Ask him what help he needs and if he wants it. Does he need you to remind him? how would he like to be reminded? you can give him notes, point to the clock, tell him, make a gesture or sign different ways that he can be remined without feeliing nagged. If something doesn't quite work it can be adjusted. Next I would go the opposite. instead of saying he has all these priviledges and gets them taken away if he doesn't. start with less (or nothing) and let him earn the reward. (spend 30 min on homework and go shoot baskets for 10, or similar). you can set these expectations togther. Again the better it goes the more rewards he gets. and it can always be adapted to fit what is happening, or how he is doing. good luck.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I taught middle school for 2 years and I can tell you that this is normal from what I have seen. Sometimes a parent has to step back and let the kid flail his arms a bit. All you can do at this age is provide them with the tools necessary to succeed... you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink philosophy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Having taught middle school for a number of years, and now as a Parent Educator, I am well aware of how frustrating this situation can be. However, you can't make your child excel at anything. It has to come from him. It's a hard one to swallow, I know. With that in mind, here are some questions to ask, to help you help him.

Is HE frustrated about his grades? Why or why not?
Does HE want to do anything about it?
Is he struggling in certain classes, but having success in others? What is the difference?
Rather than nag him, ask him how he feels you can best help him? (You can brainstorm this together.)

Punishing a kid for not doing well in school is one of the surest ways to teach him to dislike learning. While it might serve to raise his grades temporarily, that message does more harm than good in the long run.

If I can be of any further help, feel free to contact me.
Be well,
G. Brown, M.A.
Child Development Specialist & Parent Educator

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

S., I don't really have any good advice but my 13 year old son has failed two or three classes in 6th, 7th and now 8th grade. Before that he was in honors classes and has tested as gifted. He also started to mature physically in 3rd grade so I suspect this behavior started early for him. He just doesn't care about school. He is improving a bit right now. He is interested in playing football in 9th grade(the coaches want him) but can't unless his grades improve. He also will not be allowed to participate in any 8th grade graduation activities (Magic Mountain trip, walking across the stage, picnic, etc.) if his grades remain the same. That seems to be his biggest incentive. 8th grade is the end of middle school in our district.

From all this I suggest allowing him some activity he wants only with consistent improvement. I think it helps that the school is doing this and not us, because there is no negotiating.

Good luck. This is a tough time.......for all of us. lol

Next question: Am I Asking Too Much from My Daughter's Grades??