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How Much to Demand of Teens?
Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Teens, Preteens, & Young Adults > How Much to Demand of Teens?
Could BPN families who have successfully launched your children with B-average GPAs into
college and life share the insight with me? Things like:
1. Are there colleges with good science programs that take B students and educate them to be ready to do work in science? Did any families actually go through this process? Or should my kid give up thinking about science as a potential college major since she's got the B grades in math and science and English?
2. Is it really true that there are colleges for every kid? Are those ''colleges that change lives'' still taking B students now that everyone knows about them? Which colleges could we consider?
3. How do you help kids who are bright but not motivated to work hard? Who thinks classroom learning is not very fun? How do parents deal with this? When do you hire a tutor/life coach/etc to help? How can you tell if that's just how your kid is, or if the school is not doing a good job making learning fun for your kid?
4. How do you keep from feeling disappointed and stressed? I never expect my kid to go to Ivy League schools, but I had hoped for a good college -- one that would educate her and train her to have skills to go out in life with an ability to contribute to communities and to allow her to discover herself socially. With B grades, and without varsity sport/leadership position, is there hope for good future?
5. Lastly, not every kid got all As, right? There are parents of B students out there and I'm not the only one, right? (Why did every parent I talked to last year have straight A students? It's mind boggling since I never even asked anyone about their kids' grades.)
Your insight is greatly appreciated. Worried Mom
And you say you want a good college, ''one that would educate her and train her to have skills to go out in life with an ability to contribute to communities and to allow her to discover herself socially. With B grades, and without varsity sport/leadership position, is there hope for a good future?'' Believe me, a CSU can do that. Trying not to be huffy here, but if you met me, you'd find me an intelligent, successful person, despite the enormous curse of having attended a CSU.
I might add, I was blown away when I heard from friends who went to top-tier schools and I learned about their grade inflation. There is no grade inflation at CSUs. You want an A? You earn an A. CSUs are rigorous, and have smaller class sizes than UCs, plus the classes are more often taught by professors or at least adjuncts, not grad students like my husband. And they're less expensive. A win all around.
The school is not what transforms your child. Your child will change as she grows up. Wherever she goes, she will be challenged, make friends, grow and mature. Our foster daughter really began to thrive when she started at SJSU, after stumbling her way through high school. She went in a C student and is now an A-B student. My bio daughter was an A-B student at best and got into UC Santa Cruz, where she did fine. I hope that some of this helps you worry less. our children will be who they will be
Here's my general advice: Your child generally will get in to the school that reflects her effort and ability. And it will most likely turn out to be a great fit. One idea is community college. Would she consider that? Also, is she a B student at a rigorous high school? Is she taking difficult (AP/honors) courses? My son is on the high side of a B average, unweighted, but has received acceptances from a few good liberal arts colleges. His SATs weren't off the charts or anything. But he took a tough course load and was involved in a few different types of activities (but he isn't the BMOC, over-achiever type of kid)
It is very difficult to let go of the stress and disappointment. My son is extremely bright and quite honestly could have mostly As if he wanted to. But he does the minimum to get by. We have had long talks about it, especially in light of the fact that college will be harder. All I say to him is, ''I can't want it more than you do.'' Even though sometimes it seems like I *do* want it more than he does. Maybe a session with a college counselor about her options would be helpful? My friends who have used such services say if nothing else, it has helped to have a third party involved, to work with your kid and take the parent-child dynamic out of the situation.
As far as schools go: our local CSUs have to take students in the school's geographic area who meet the school's minimum requirement for entry. We are in Lamorinda and our local schools are Cal State East Bay and SF State. Each school has a formula for admission on its website for you to check out. My son applied to SFSU as a backup option, and he got his admittance letter immediately. I would also suggest looking into University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University. Both of those have rolling admissions, so students are accepted or rejected right away--no waiting until March. I have a soft spot for Southern Oregon. It is a cool small public school (5,000 students) in Ashland. It has a good professor-student ratio. Also, it is a WUE school, so out of state tuition for Californians is pretty darned low. Mary
however question 5 is right in my wheelhouse (from a competitive endeavor that is both my profession and my passion). of course you are not the only parent of a B student. not only are there plenty of your type around, imagine, there are actually even more parents of C, D, and worse students. (and rather than feeling as though your glass is half-empty, try to think of it as half-full in comparison to those latter parents.)
the reason you seemed to talk to parents of only A students (w/out yourself having asked anyone about their kids' grades) is because those are (exactly) the only parents who are so proud of their kids' grades as to WANT to start conversations about them--and they are probably more than a little ego-involved w/ the subject. you can start working on your bad feelings about this topic by shutting these fools out of any conversation as soon as you find yourself able to do so.
the competitive endeavor w/ which i am so heavily involved is duplicate tournament bridge. i noticed early on in this endeavor that in the post-mortems after games, the only people who asked me how my game was were the ones who wouldn't even let me quite finish whatever answer i was giving them by interrupting to tell me what a high-percentage/winning game they themselves had had. funny how that works. i have learned that whenever i am asked how my game had been, i just say, ''pretty good'' and quickly turn on my heel so as to miss most of the glorious self-review they are about to give about their own game.
as for your B student, remembering back to my own rather checkered acadmeic career, you can lead the horse to water, but you can't make her/him drink. no, your child will not likely get into an ivy league school or anything similar, but there are plenty of academic opportunities for solid B students and, as in high school, your child will make whatever they are able to make of such opportunities.
sometimes it may even take your child leaving school after high school or prior to finishing college to try the work world. then one of two things may happen: 1) your child will find a successful and fulfilling career w/out needing the academic success you imagine is necessary; or 2) your child will realize that in order to find more rewarding work opportunities, she/he will need to return to school w/ perhaps a tad more of a diligent attitude than previously.
i only wish my parents were still alive so that you could see you are not the only parent of a B student and also because i am sure you and my mother would have several lively and fulfilling conversations on the subject. best of luck. doug
Hello, I'd appreciate words of wisdom from parents of high school students. I'm worried about my daughter's motivation to succeed and how she's applying herself in high school. My questions are:
- How do you stay calm when your child's GPA is not where you think it should
- How do you motivate and provide appropriate guidance?
- How far do you push your child to do her best? How do you know what her ''best'' is? When do you stop pushing?
My daughter is an average bright student who generally cares about learning, and likes to socialize. In 8th grade, her focus started to shift more to the social life and her grades were As and Bs. She's now a high school freshman and her grades so far have been mostly Bs (with 2 honor classes, one being algebra 2, and a sport). I understand that adjusting to high school takes time, and I understand the need to socialize, but I want to motivate her to focus more on academics. Her grades are now mostly Bs because she missed things on the tests/assignments (this appears to be more carelessness and lack of focus -- she generally understands the material and she does not have any learning issues.) I've been talking to her about spending more time studying, talking to teachers, etc. She told me she'll try to do better, but things are not better yet.
I'm trying to find a balance -- when to push her to do better, and when to stop lecturing, and how to get her to do this on her own, for herself and not for me. Middle school went by in a flash. Now she's in high school, and college is next -- when she'll be on her own. I'm feeling panicky that my daughter hasn't learned how to learn and focus well enough to succeed. Is this a teen thing, or is it something about my daughter I should try to help her with?
I hope I make some sense. It isn't that I'm crazy about GPA. Sure, I want her to get good grades, but I recognize that it is only one of the measurements. It's more important to me that she understands the need to apply herself, do her best, and reach her full potential in school so that she can eventually be a productive member of the society and support herself.
I'd appreciate advices from parents who have successfully guided their children through high school. Thank you very much! Worried Mom
My daughter just began college in Pennsylvania and our son is a junior in high school, so we are a little further down the road and have a little perspective on this. Like everyone's kids, my are both alike and very different. My junior son puts out maximum total effort all the time in every class. His IR teacher says he looks to my son to find out if the other students are connecting with the material, because they are that in synch. My daughter on the other hand, now a college freshman, well, her head was in another place. Not a social place, but more of an intellectual, introverted, literary place. She would write independently for hours on various plays, essays, stories - I would often walk into her room and wonder ''how is the homework getting done here?''. But somehow she manages, got good grades, did it almost all on her own, and got into a great college that specializes in her field of interest (musical theatre).
I learned with both kids that they are well on their way to being ''raised'', that is, we have diminishing influence at this juncture. The whole college thing, to most kids, is as abstract as it terrifying. Talking about getting into a good college is like saying that I want you to be land comfortably when I throw you out of your life in a few years. I would get really clear on the absolutes (that could be: you can use MY car if you follow MY rules related to the car/grades/chores/whatever, you can go out with your friends on the weekend if..., etc.) But now that we have a kid in college, I have watched a whole class of high school seniors and now college freshman struggle with their parents to work through these issues. I think 10th and 11th grades might be the toughest from what I've seen recently, big academic demands, big social pressures. A lot to sort out.
Here's another thing that helped me. Sit quietly, close your eyes, and really think back, in a deep, full way, to your 9th grade and 10th grade years. What were your issues? What did you care about? What pressures were you under? What were your joys and sorrows? How did your parents handle things? How do you wish your parents had handled things? Then ask yourself, what did I just learn? Proceed accordingly.
Finally, I have come to believe - with regard to college - that the universe has this big sorting hat, and that a special magic comes to pass with regard to where kids land. I was just amazed to follow the 60 kids or so from my daughter's middle school class, who, four years later, landed in the most diverse, interesting set of colleges, each so appropriate to his or her needs. I still can't get over it. There is indeed a college for every student. And incredible growth happens between where you are today and where your child will be in just a few short years, and she will land in the school that she is meant to attend. I really firmly believe this now that I have lived through this with my first kid, and two years ago (when she was a junior) I just had no idea how (or if) it would all work out.
Trust your instincts. Set some thoughtful rules. Be there. Do as much talking as possible with one another. Listen a lot. Gather resources. Make appropriate demands. Hand things off. Wait and see. Trust in all the hard work you've done to date. And enjoy as much as possible the precious time together before your daughter spreads her wings and flies to a new nest of her own construction. Best of luck
At the end of middle school and in freshman year of high school my daughter was doing poorly enough in terms of grades that I thought she might not even get into a four-year college. I was very dismayed about this, because I knew she was a bright child, but after I got over my panic, I decided that the thing to do was to accept that she wasn't going to be a highly academic student, but to try to help her acquire the skills and motivation that would serve her well in life and which would make it possible for her, if she did eventually go to college -- e.g. community college -- to do well at that point. So I stopped paying attention to her grades, but I was very proactive in talking to her about school work, discussing assignments with her, and encouraging her to work hard on them. Her grades actually improved enough that, at the beginning of junior year, things are actually looking quite good for college. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not the grades that matter, it's motivation, hard work, and finding pleasure in academics.
What seems to be working for me, then, is being very active in encouraging my child and trying to help her with school work and assignments, but very much with the attitude that this isn't so that she gets good grades or even so that she fulfils her potential in high school, but rather with longer-term goals in mind. It's a hard attitude to take, because there's so much emphasis on grades and competition to get into college, but I find it helpful to keep telling myself that this is my opportunity to teach her some life skills about applying herself and working hard at whatever she's involved in.
Sorry, I have a feeling I didn't really address your question, since I have no practical advice to offer, but your post certainly resonated with me. Trying not to pay attention to GPA
Here's what I say to my son: ''I can't care more than you do. This is your life and your future. I can tell you what the consequences of your poor habits will be, but I can't make you care.'' This has worked pretty well.
the background & detail: My son is a senior in high school, and we've been through the same thing you're going through with your daughter. He is a very smart, engaged kid, but for some reason he only wants to do the bare minimum to get by. I think part of the problem is he has always been smart and school was easy K-8, but HS was a whole other ball of wax.
When a dismal progress report came home in 10th grade, I had a heart-to-heart with him. I asked him what his plans post HS were. I told him I always thought he wanted to go to a decent or good university, but if he was more interested in community college or working for a while after HS that was totally fine with us. I just didn't want to project my desires on him. He was shocked and insisted that he wanted to go to a good 4-year school. I told him if his grades and lack of activities didn't kick up a notch, he was shutting doors left and right. My husband printed out the acceptance stats from all the UCs he would potentially be interested in and showed him where his performance fell in with the numbers. It was a real wake-up call. But again, we made it clear that it was his decision. There was no ''you have to do this'' or ''you must do that, '' but rather, ''What do you think you should do then?'' and ''How can we help you get where you want to be?''
It was also good for me to divest myself of my own preconceived notions of where I saw him going to college and working and such. It is hard, but I can say he has taken A LOT more responsibility for his work now. He has a very good chance of getting into a some decent schools, and they are schools he is excited about and is therefore motivated to keep up his studies.
Re: Unmotivated high school freshman - Help!
I read the epilogue and it got me thinking. Is there something wrong with kids who are average? and just kids? I read through these posts about tutors and activity after activity and I am beginning to wonder if I am too loose? I am a single parent with full custody of my two teenagers so I don't have the resources that a two parent family would have. However my kids have structure and love and nurturing.
Still, I wonder if I am doing them a disservice by not being more pushy about their grades or activities or ?? I am totally fine with my kids' grades (b's mostly) as they study hard and seem to be doing their best. I encourage their friendships and drive them to and fro their activities. My daughter, age 15, is mostly into her friends and school activities (i.e. attending football games) She does not have any hobbies. (unless text messaging counts) She is not athletic and so far has not found anything 'extracurricular' that she loves. My son, age 13, is mostly into playing sports and friends and funny television shows. They are both generally happy and generally typical teenagers but well behaved and not causing big problems at home or in school.
I have not, thus far, pushed them to earn straight A's and I have not been worried that they don't have enough 'activities' that might look good on a college application. I was raised by a high achieving family and I felt a lot of pressure to be 'perfect' growing up. I did not want my kids to feel the same way. Sometimes as I read these posts I wonder if I 'should' be doing more? getting them tutors, micro managing their homework, pushing them into activities just so they will have all the right stuff to put on their college applications? Looking for advice advice from those whose kids are already in college or out of the house?
beginning to wonder
You also have to think realistically about where they might want to go to college. If they want to go to a college other than a Cal State or community college, they will need to show some outside interests or activities. Sophomore year in high school would be a good time to get involved if your daughter hasn't already. Consider: music, dance, video production, writing, volunteering to work with young kids, being in a school club, etc.
So the idea is not to be pushy, but to show them interesting activities, encourage them to develop who they are, and let them know that there are many opportunities outside of school for them to learn and grow. Anonymous
That said, maybe I am just lucky that my daughter does go along with ''active participation in life.'' I guess outside help is needed when kids refuse to do anything. -- hope this works
My 12 year old daughter is in the 7th grade, her father & I are divorced and share custody (which we have done all of her life). We have a major disagreement on how to handle a particular issue. Our daughter is a bright, lovely girl, with a good head on her shoulders. She does okay academically, however, her dad is not satisfied. He believes that she is not working to her ability, and that she is overall lazy and unmotivated to perform better at school. She currently has 3 A's (easy classes)B's in math, English & science, and a C in History. He yells at her frequently about her poor grades/effort, and threatens to take away her one & only extracurricular activity - an all girl's chorus. This is her 4th year in this group, and she absolutely loves it. It's a wholesome group with an outstanding reputation, she loves music, and she gets so much out of it. She performs in concerts for the community several times a year.
I think she is a smart girl, yes, she could probably do better, but even when she had straight As last year, her dad still yelled, threatened, and hounded her regularly. I know how difficult a person he can be, he is very rigid and controlling. She gets frequent migraines, I think from all the pressure he puts on her. He wants to punish her for her lack of effort/motivation by having her quit her choral group, which will also mean she can't go on their annual 4-day tour. She is heartbroken by this, and is tired of his threats. She cries frequently at my house at the slightest mention of grades, and does not want to talk about it, because that's all she talks about at her dad's house.
I don't think punishment is the way to motivate a child, and I'm afraid she will become rebelious and her grades will really go down. Also, I'm worried about breaking her spirit, and having her go in the wrong direction.
What is the best way to motivate a child to perform better academically? Do you parents that have kids with straight A's demand that from their kids? Her grades are important to me, but I also want a well-rounded, happy child. I think it would be a big mistake to punish her by taking away this activity. Has anybody else gone through something like this? What's the best way to ensure academic success? Have other parents taken activities away from B students, and have them become better students?? Discussing this issue with her dad is pretty much impossible, last month he made a unilateral decision to have her miss her Christmas concert because she got a D in History.
BTW, we have not had any help handling any disagreements regarding our daughter for 6 years now, he previously fired two different Special Masters we had (because they sided with me on several major issues). Any advice would be appreciated. sad & worried mom
You have to be your daughter's advocate, if you think what he's doing is breaking her spirit, which is abusive behavior then you have to stick up for her no matter what. That will also include helping her to deal with help her to learn to fend him off and to stick up for herself. Sounds like you are letting him rule your roost even though you are divorced. He is probably scary when he's mad, but you have to get past that and help your daughter find her ''voice''.
As far as demanding success from your kids, I think that you can say I think you can do better, what's going on with this class? Are you connecting wiht the teacher? Can I help you? Do you want a tutor? etc. She's just a girl and will learn that what she puts into it is what she will get out of it. Her grades don't sound that bad anyway. History is a hard class to make interesting and it's probably mostly reading a boring textbook! People like certain subjects better than others and your can't fight that. She's not a machine. 7th grade is a hard time no matter what. There are lots of things going on with girls at that time anyway. Hormones are raging, friends stuff can be difficult, the home should be a respit from the outside world, calm and supportive (if that's possible with a 13-year old!). good luck anon divorced mom
Although I'm not in your boat, I can sympathize with having a distressed child; it makes discussion impossible, and one can end up feeling helpless and frustrated. A few things occur to me:
- Assess the grade situation with your daughter-have her identify what makes the academic work hard in certain subjects, or what is affecting these grades. Maybe you and she can talk to her teachers. This action can let her know that you are pulling for her, and show her how to navigate the system.
-Set some goals with her for the next semester, to improve certain grades.
-Get help from another adult-maybe someone she trusts and admires in the Chorus, or a school counselor; don't have this become a fight between her parents.
-I agree, removing her main passion is not the way to go. If television or computer time are at play, they may be affecting homework time; cutting back on these would be a logical step. hope this helps
Regarding her academic performance however, I would like to comment. I don't think that emphasis on performance (that is-- a demand for straight A's for instance) is useful. Rather, I think the most useful thing we can instill in our kids is a strong work (study) ethic. With that, the grades will come. Does she demonstrate an understanding of the value of hard work? Is she willing to invest effort now (and delay gratification of doing something more ''fun'' or easy like hanging out with friends or even chatting with her family) in order to achieve something? Is she able to do her assignments or does she need some help that you or her teacher or others might give her?
I frankly find it hard to believe that a child who really tries hard, puts in honest substantial time and effort, still gets C's or D's in History, unless she has a learning disability or language limitation. If you can instill in her the love of learning, fantastic. Perhaps even more importantly, if you can convince her that working hard to learn and achieve is a value of your family, you will be giving her a tremendous gift that will serve her well long after she has grown and moved out on her own. She may have a base for understanding in the practice she needs to do in chorus-- I bet they go over the same passage many times to perfect it. The same sort of commitment to excellence in academic efforts is what you want from her.
We always required our kids to have homework done, tests prepared for, etc, before any extra curriculars. I think it is fair for you to set an expectation with her on what she needs to do (and again my bias is not that she would need to make certain grades, but that she would put in a certain level of effort into her academic work-- it could be hours per day or it could include showing you all her work and improving it if necessary). It would be great if you can come up with a plan-- what does she need to do to participate in chorus-- and stick with it. Best of luck another mom
My son has had similar grades as your daughter over the years (mix of mostly A’s/ B’s, an occasional C). We never “yell” about grades, but we do limit privileges (TV/ Computer/ Video games, parties, and going out with friends) if grades are substandard (ie. below a B). However, we have continued with sports practices, regardless of grades, as we think that a child needs a group to identify with through middle school and high school (chorus, band, or sports) and those activities require commitment. So organized extracurricular activities would be the last thing to go in our house. That said, I have denied participation in weekend tournaments, etc. due to mediocre grades and would not hesitate to take away a 4 day chorus trip for poor grades, especially if it entailed missing 2 days of school, (it’s clear from your daughter's grades that she can’t afford to miss school).
I have told my kids that school is their job, and their lifestyle will be effected by their grades: an “A” lifestyle (complete freedom, lots of privileges, days off school for tournaments, vacations), a “B” lifestyle (some privileges, but more parental oversight), or a “C” lifestyle (heavy parental involvement, limited outside activities, no time off school). I have no qualms about minimizing privileges and, to a lesser extent, meting out some punishment for bad grades. But let me be clear: we lay out the expectations ahead of time in very clear terms so they know what’s at stake-- and we always follow through.
Has it worked for us? For the most part, yes, but it takes constant vigilance in my son’s case. My son will never be the straight-A student my daughter was (she was naturally motivated and focused), but he’s clear about our priorities for him and is somewhat motivated by our expectations. He’ll squeak out a 3.6 or 3.8 this semester (at a very academic high school, in rigorous classes, while competing nationally in his sport). I set high standards and expectations for my kids because I want them to push themselves to be their best. I support your ex's goals, but it sounds like his approach is overly harsh and reactive, not proactive (yelling is unacceptable) . On the other hand, you sound like you don’t have very high standards for your daughter and seem much more interested in pleasing her than in looking out for her future. I’m also worried that you have focused on your ex being the problem (not your daughter’s poor performance), and are certainly contributing to the problems she’s having with her dad if you are taking her side against him. -parent of 2
Based on my experience rearing a smart, focused, and stubborn daughter who was convinced she couldn't do math, a good way to motivate a kid to ''perform''--not a term I like--is to encourage her with kind words, find her some peer and/or adult tutoring, express pride in her efforts, tell her stories about your own struggles and triumphs at school, and reward her for good ''performance'': e.g., take her to a concert she'd enjoy if she brings a low grade up. Or let her choose her own reward.
Your daughter sounds pretty solid and well-behaved right now (a D in history* will not wreck her academic career), and she's also young enough to be cowed by her dad. However, if he continues making these unreasonable demands for perfection, she might well become very rebellious and difficult in a few years, and I wouldn't blame her. *A D in history from a bright, sensitive girl like your daughter? I wonder how competent her history teacher is.
I don't know what your custody agreement says about your daughter's education. Have you suggested going back to family counseling regarding this matter? (I gather your ex didn't care for the counseling you received before.) If he won't do it, you might need to return to court and attempt to readjust your agreement so that he cannot legally make these unilateral decisions.
Assuming that your ex wants to see his daughter eventually enter a top university, you might also try seeing a college-admissions counselor with him. Perhaps he'd realize then that getting into a ''good'' college doesn't always entail a 4.5 GPA and huge SAT scores. Truly good universities are also looking for individuals with strong interests who are committed to their field of study: someone like your daughter. Melanie
If it were me, I'd do two things: Try to build motivation in your daughter by exploring her future goals and helping her to see that what she learns now will help her in the future (in high school, in college, in her career). Help her to focus on the future! Then set out a contract or set of rules ahead of time so she will know the consequences of bad grades so that you can avoid the yelling and disagreements and she will understand that her participation in special events is based on behaviors under her control.
To do these things, first try to talk to your daughter about what her future career goals are and what type of college she would like to go to. Then research colleges in a guidebook to show her the GPA that these types of colleges expect. Also discuss the specific career goals she has and try to help her see how knowledge in certain fields (for example, math, English, science) may be critical to being successful in this fields. So you are trying to help her see that she is laying the groundwork now for doing better in high school in these courses and for success in what she wants to do in the future.
It would be useful to write a contract together. Here it may be useful to do this with her father involved. Set out the criteria necessary for her to be able to participate fully in her choral activities. For example, as long as she gets grades no lower than B, she can participate fully. A lower grade than this and she has to miss the next concert. Do this rationally, with no yelling, and write out the final agreement, with copies for all. That way, there is no yelling or arguments at the time the low grade comes in. She knows ahead of time about the consequence and it can be applied without further discussion.
Your ex-husband may be open to this idea if you emphasize how the goal is to improve her grades and having the contract in writing will help to reduce tension and let your daughter take more responsibility for her own behavior.
Revise the contract yearly. When she goes to high school, you may want to up the ante because high school grades are one of the most important factors in getting into college. At that time she may be more aware of her interests or what colleges interest her, and you can use that as a motivation as well.
Good luck! The tension between you and your ex-husband I'm sure is part of the mix in why your daughter isn't putting her all into her school work so any other things the two of you could do to reduce those tensions may help your daughter overall. Anonymous
Since your daughter is only in 7th grade, she does not need to worry about grades for college uyyet, so your husband should back off. Also, as I have learned the hard way, your child has to be on board with the goal of good grades --- the parent can't do it for them. Is she unhappy with her C in History? Then look at the steps that led to it --- were some assignments late? could she have done something extra? Gradually, she can develop study habits that, in very small steps, will almost automatically result in better grades (and hers are really great, believe me! a C can sometimes be a mismatch between a teacher and a student's way of learning).
It is sad that your husband is not sending a message of pride and support to your daughter. Although I would question: do you hear his criticisms directly from him, or is she reporting them to you? That would be important to find out. Did he really ''hound her'' when she got straight A's? Then it is not grades he is after, and some kind of acting out is going on somewhere.
Why is it his decision for her to quit her choral group or miss a concert? Don't you have a say in this? If you are parenting together, is there some way you can work these things out without her in the middle? Could the three of you go for some family therapy to change this dynamic?
At this age (13?) her most important task is to develop a confidence and self-esteem. Those are more important now than grades. And being in a chorus is a very powerful way of doing that. Please do not take that away from her! And let your house be a place, for now, where grades are not discussed as much as music, friends, and her growing awareness of the self she needs to construct to live in the world.
I don't know what a Special Master is, but it does sound like you and your husband need a mediator of some kind (with the grades and interest you describe your daughter as having, she seems fine.) This seems more like a parenting issue than a student issue. Can you and your husband see a mediator or counselor, who could talk to you both about this without anyone having to be ''right.'' If not, I would suggest contacting the school itself, as there might be guidance counselors, psychologists, a teacher --- or even the chorus director --- who could give you both a better perspective on this, and reassure you that your daughter is on the right path, and will be more likely to stay on it with acceptance than with anger.
--- a musician, educator, teacher, and mother of a 17 year old daughter who has yet to figure out that her high school grades actually have some connection to what comes after high school
We never gave any points for anything under a B (even a B-). You can even qualify it and make it only good for Math and English grades. Good luck. -Whatever it takes
Referring back to the days when she got straight As, my daughter told me emphatically, ''I was a robot then. I never want to be that way again.'' Please don't take away the one thing she loves to do, that feeds her soul. Last summer my daughter had the stamina and perserverance to appear for seven weeks in a local musical production. She got an A in A.P. English at BHS this semester. She will do what she loves well. She wants to go to college to study musical theater. Now she's motivated to have a tutor in her challenging subjects so she can achieve her dreams. There will be a place for her in this world. kathe jordan
I know this will hit the spot with many parents of teens. Our 16 year old daughter is not doing very well in 10th grade at BHS. Today I talked to her about ways in which she might improve her performance. I believe that parents should allow their children to make as many decisions as possible on their own as long as they are successful, but when they stop being successful, it's time for the parents to step in to help.
The conversation with my daughter was going well. We talked about how she needs to go to her biology teacher after school when she doesn't understand what he talked about that day, how she should review her notes every evening and look up in the book the topics she didn't understand. She was pretty receptive to my suggestions, but when we were finished talking and she said she didn't have any biology homework, I suggested that she look up in the book or on the CD that was enclosed with the book, the topics that he discussed this week, she really balked and said "Why should I look up stuff about biology when I don't have any biology homework"? I replied that this one way for her to succeed in the class, but she flatly refused to do it and yelled at me that I shouldn't help her at all with her homework!
I get to the point, frequently in times like these, where I think "Screw her! She can just fail if that's what she wants to do", but I know that that's the wrong direction for me to go. However, I don't know what to do at that point when she adamantly refuses to do something I've told her she has to do. What do people think? How have you found success in these areas? T.
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