Teenage daughter - what would you do?
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive March 2007:
Teenage daughter - what would you do?
my soon to be 16 yr old has apparently decided to not do any of her math homework. The school only sends out progress reports if you are getting a D or an F. She is getting a 69.6 - as far as dh and I are concerned that's an F because the only reason she's getting it is the homework thing - test and quiz grades are fine. I am also concerned about the group of friends she's been hanging out with, no drugs, sex or alcohol, but just total losers as far as where they are going in life and coming from really dysfunctional families. How do I turn this around? I am thinking a job would be good, especially if it involves nights and weekends. I am putting my foot down on hanging out with her friends - in otherwords, it's not happening until you're back on honor roll. Any btdt ideas?
I don't think the job is a good idea - for one thing, you don't know who she will be hanging out with before and after the job. And, it just gives her another excuse to not do her homework.
If you think her friends are losers, then you have every right to keep her away from them - though that is going to be very difficult.
For the not doing homework, what privileges can you take away - cell phone, internet, etc. - until her math grade starts coming up. Not doing the homework is just stupid (you don't need me to tell you that), and is probably a sort of defiance thing - I do well on the tests and quizes so why do I have to do this stupid busywork kind of attitude. Something it is really hard for some kids to get through their heads is that even if you think it is a waste of time, if you are graded on it, you do it, because those are the rules. If you don't follow the rules you get penalized with a bad grade, and if you get a bad grade because you don't do the homework, then you lose privileges. It sounds like it is not a question of her not being able to do it, just that she doesn't want to do it.
Good luck - I've been there, done that with my youngest - who has finally decided at age 39 that it is a good thing to get an education and has gone back to school.
Thanks Ginny, I thought the job would be good because it would get her around different kids - she applied at the supermarket - and I would be bringing her to it and bringing her home. She doesn't really get that much homework and it's usually assigned on Monday and due on Friday with more notice for bigger projects. I am just afraid she is going to screw up her chances to get into a good college by getting "c's" instead of A's and B's. She is a smart kid, she's been asked by the head of the english department into the advanced placement english class for next year which is a very difficult class. I just hate this laziness.
What are her interests? Maybe an extracurricular activity would be good, it might be easier to keep track of her whereabouts with that as opposed to a job. Is it possbile she is depressed? I don't have teens, I'm just going from when I was one, a depressed one too.I felt sad without there being a logical reason to it so I spent some time around kids who came from dysfunctional homes, bad grades,etc. I thought it was "uncool" to be smart and let my grades slide for a while. I wanted to fit in with my misery I guess. Just a thought.
I don't have a teenage girl, but I am sure that Ginny is right- she doesn't want to do the homework.
I think that a talk is in order. Be calm. Don't give her a scolding, nothing like a "You better straighten up, girl, or you're in big trouble!" kind of talk. But a down to earth kind of talk where you really can find out what is going on in her mind, what she is feeling and thinking. Sit down with a cup of coffee or a milk shake and draw her out. Try to get to the root of the problem. If she says there is no problem, don't argue with her, but tell her how much you love her and worry about her, and that God blessed her with parents who care.
As the adult and as the one who is outside looking in, it is obvious to you that her friends are a bad influence on her. But I can tell you from experience (both myself when I was a kid and even from my son so far) that the more you criticize her friends, the more likely she is to defend them. So, the only thing you can do is try to lead her to make her own conclusions about them based on your questions.
I have talked to my son about things like homework and how important it is to get it done. Homework is given out for practice. Does she have any favorite sports stars or musicians? Ask her what would happen to their careers if they stopped practicing. The more they practice, the better they get. In addition, it will ensure that they remember what they need to know.
I have also talked to my son about the fact that he will need to know what they are teaching in school for the rest of his life. Now, he is only in 4th grade, so learning to multiply is a basic skill that your dd has already mastered. But there must be something that you can pull out of her school work that you can demonstrate a need for in adult life.
I suppose there are 2 ways to look at making her do the homework. 1) you could take away priveledges and gradually give them back to her as her grades go back up or 2) reward her for good performance- maybe going out to dinner as a family to her favorite restaurant, or to a movie. We do lots of stuff like that because my son likes to be together as a family. It's possible that she isn't feeling as close to you as she'd like, which may be why she is attaching herself to these losers.
Best of luck!
My dd is 13, My opinion is that grades are really a school issue, if the teachers feel she capable of being on the "honor roll" they will push her there. Instead of worrying about this grade, I would be more concerned with why her grade is slipping, usually it is an emotional problem, by browbeating her about grades she's going to clam up about everything. And I'm sure you know this, just because a kid is smart and on the honor roll in no way makes that a good kid, just a smart one who applies themself! Also seperating what she is excelling in from what she is not is a good thing, my daughter has never recieved a B until algebra, has made every honor roll since she was old enough, is in the Gifted and Talented program, but cannot wrap her brain around algebra, I'm not going to sweat the fact that she will at best get a B and most likely a C in 8th grade algebra, which here is a HS credit with a C and teacher approval. If her grade was slipping in English or Civics I would know to be concerned that it was NOT a academic problem but an emotional or social problme.
Also I would tend to find something of interest to START her in rather than removing privledges. Music lessons, Art lessons, writing contests etc. Something outside of schools but with a goal and purpose.
One more thing, if she is working in an area, like a grocery store, with people of all ages, from a BTDT perspective can mean BIG troubles
How about volunteer work. Once my daughter was so grounded that I couldnt take anything else away. and so she stopped doing her work. to become ungrounded she had to volunteer somewhere so many hours to make up for the time she was grounded. like at a ratio 6 hours a week and three on the weekend. It had to be something that kept her busy and interacting with people. so she went to a veternaerian and volunteered there. kept her busy and out of trouble got her some people experience and got her out of the house. we live in a small town she thought her choices were few but once she looked into it she had more than she thought. this also limits the time she is around kids that are not good influences... btdt good luck ...when dd was that age( some days ) ID be asked how was ur day... id say im lucky and she is lucky...lol that i wasnt in jail and she was alive...its tuff these days being a parent to
remember were always here for ya
After raising 2 teenage girls, I tend to go with the thought that there is an underlying issue going on, especially since you mentioned the undesirables she is hanging out with.
As Kym wrote about above, both of my girls had problems with math. My youngest DS and DD both had high school algebra in 8th grade for a high school credit. Jen did not pass and had to retake it in 9th grade. The guidance counselor sort of manipulated us into scheduling that for 8th grade, when it was clear she wasn't going to do well in it as she had been having problems in math since 5th grade, just as oldest DD did, and was already frustrated with it - her reason: She had all A's in everything else, she'll *get the hang of it*. Didn't happen, and frustrated her. Add to that, peer pressure in Jr. high/High school, more trouble with grades, and some undesirables as friends, beginning of self confidence/self esteem issues.
Bottom line, there's normally not a clear cut reason for a drop in grades, rather a combination of several things. IMO, the fact that she's hanging out with a different crowd - losers, as you put it - should be a red flag. There is always the possibility that the losers are into drugs and/or alcohol - even if you don't think they are and even if you are being told there's none of that going on. After all, how many kids are going to come to you and say *Oh, BTW, I'm hanging out with a different bunch of people, they are low-lifes, and we get high together after school instead of doing homework*. NOT saying your DD is doing that, but I've had those experiences in the last 25 years.
Depression could be a factor. Peer pressure, self esteem, and finally, not understanding/being frustrated with the course material is a huge issue. I'm not saying your DD is doing this, so please don't take offense, but good grades on tests and quizzes don't necessarily mean they understand/know the material. It's *really* easy to cheat.
NO kid likes homework. If she's just not doing the math homework, but IS doing the other homework, there's a reason for it.
And finally, after all my rambling - I am not saying that privileges shouldn't be removed. BUT - as we discussed on a recent thread, grounding/punishment has to be appropriate/productive. I agree with your not allowing her to hang out with the friends until the grades come back up. But you need to address the reason the grades dropped in the first place. Therein lies the real problem.
And - not saying she'll do this either, but *forbidding* kids to see people doesn't work either - they find a way around it.
Can you tell I've BTDT and been manipulated/fooled/convinced/lied to/naieve/too trusting in the past? 4 teenagers and I think I heard every story in the book, and am STILL finding out things that I'd rather not know now!
My youngest 2 were in all honors/and the G & T programs. Youngest DS had several scholarship offers. The things that were going on that I wasn't aware of were shocking and heartbreaking.
There IS laziness too - and just plain breaking the rules. And you, as the parent, have to enforce the rules.
I hope some of what I've said made sense, and that no offense was taken! I think the gist of what I wanted to say was, consider all the possibilities, and take it from there. Removal of some privileges is an avenue, so is reward for the *good behavior*. I really also like Kym and Jewlz's ideas. And I agree, the job may not be a good idea at this time.
Haven't read anyone else's responses...I wonder if she is being challenged enough in school? Some HW could be determine busy work because she's bored by it.
Do these "losers" go to her school? If you put her in more advanced classes, she might meet different kids. I would also look into clubs.
And, of course, pulling privleges...phone, tv, internet. You own that house and everything in it. Trust me, every kid has a motivation point. I knew one set of parents who had to take their kid's library card away bc he kept reading sci fi books instead of doing HW.
And, ask a lot of questions...ask her why she isn't doing so well and where she thinks she is going with all this apathy.
Look into school clubs, sports, etc. Tell her to choose a club or sport and she has to go until her grades get up. She might find she will like it and it will help that SHE is choosing which club or sport.
Most kids who do zero extracurricular activities have low grades, typically.
Oh, and silly me, I highly highly highly recommend getting a tutor. Sometimes kids don't do HW simply because they don't understand it. So, if you think that's the case, I *highly* recommend it.
and PS- News to your daughter...I don't know ANY kid who actually enjoys HW.
I would look deeper into this before I threw out a punishment. I find a sit down with my kids, with an open mind to what they are saying helps a lot. And it is never to late to open up those lines of communication. She isn't doing the homework for a reason and she is choosing to hang out with bad kids for a reason. Kids have a tendency to carry pain in them that they express through letting things slip and choosing to go below the standards set by their parents as an outward cry for help. She may not feel her worthiness. She maybe seeing these kids as her equals because that is her personal value. Do not rush to punishment until you feel her out for her reasoning. If you over punish a child that is crying out then they will withdraw further into the situation as a way to rebel against your rules. At 16 the game rules have to start adjusting from full parental control to her own self control in a situation. We have to stop owning/taking the responsible for their actions and let them start owning them themselves. She has to understand her value and the reasoning behind valuing her education. And if it is a boredom factor, she has to be able to have a voice about it and until you give her that voice and truly listen to her all this will do is become a battle of wills...
HW is very important but helping her figure out what is going on is just as important. Best of luck. Talk to her and listen to what she has to say.