ima & fine,

mom_of_2.5March 11, 2009

in the babying too much thread you exchanged experience and personal position I'd like some personal advice on if you don't mind.

My DD is 13 1/2. She is exceptionally bright, is considered by our school district as highly capable and is able to start IB track in HS next year. My dilema is that she is so uninterersted and unmotivated her gradebook is full of missing assignments and her grades are currently poor and not reflective at all of her capability.

I wonder if she thinks "that can't happen to me" about actually repeating 8th grade. It is fair to say she has been adored by all and has on many occasions been given kindnesses for being so cute or charming and those days are over. She seems to expect good grades be handed to her for showing up, and the teachers she has now aren't the teachers who've babied her before.

She is home for 2 hours after school each day, she is here with her brother (8) from 3-5. She calls at 3 I tell her to do her homework. When I get home at 5 she says it's done. Days later I look at the school website to find no homework turned in. I believe what really happens afterschool is CSI, NCIS, House, Law and Order. DH and I just put channel locks on all channels that these shows can be watched on. We have taken away her cell phone, ipod, favorite books. She does just enough to earn them back then slacks off again. I took her out of sports because her grades were crap. She is not overloaded with chores. She does her own laundry, because her room is a disaster and I won't go in there. She has a basement suite with her own bathroom she should be cleaning but doesn't. I ask her to put the dishes away or vacuum only once her homework is done.

I know when I get home I should be asking to see this work she's done, but she could show me any piece of paper and I wouldn't know any better. Have her sit at the table while I fix dinner? tried it, she doesn't acomplish much. She tries to stay home when it's time to go to little brother's sports practices and games, always clainming homework. I used to let her, but since I'm sure she just watches TV I tell her bring her homework. We just had a 2 week vacation that included a 6 hr flight....all she was supposed to do was math homework...the excuse was she didn't have a calculator. She always has an excuse and is never prepared. Unable to think ahead to the next step. She is very book smart, lacks common sense. Her Dad calls her the dumbest smart kid he knows (NEVER to her or infront of her, just in our private conversations).

I really feel like by this age she should be able to manage her school work on her own, the organization and turning it in on time part. She is ALWAYS saying "I don't know" and "I forgot" when asked why nothings been turned in, or she lies and says she did and blames the teacher.

I have never had a teenager before, and could never have forseen my super achiever turn this way. I have to figure out how to get her back on track before she is seriously doing 8th grade again next year. I'm open to suggestions from all, just thought to ask you two in particular after reading the other thread.


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If it weren't for the fact my SD just turned 14 we would have the same daughter. This all just came to a head last night, and I was actually logging on to post about it.

Is it just teenage indifference, or should we as parents been concerned when our kids don't seem to give a sh&t about the future, or think that it will all just work out and they don't have to try for anything? Have we as a society coddled our kids so badly that this is the norm now? We were accused of being so mean and strict because we push our daughter to do well and other parents don't care when their kids get C's or below. Our response was that if she cared and pushed herself we wouldn't have to.

At a loss.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 1:33PM
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When I was in the 7th and 8th grade, I let my grades slip. I ended up not graduating 8th grade but was passed on to high school. I was placed in college prep courses during freshman year because of the placement tests but for me, it was a difficult time as my parents had gone bankrupt, we had to move to a new community (culture shock), then split up and mom's drinking took off. I had been happy with my ability in school but so much was going on at home, I lost my motivation. By the time I was out of high school I was not attending and had my son during senior year. (I actually completed a year of credits in one semester while I was pregnant because I was put in an accelerated program to catch up) The biggest problem was that I didn't have anyone to tell me I was screwing up. I didn't have much guidance and looking back now, I was suffering from depression. I didn't start seeking help for my depression until I was 18 or 19. I think the depression began when we had to move and then so many other changes happening in such a short period of times.

My sister's son also went from being an overachiever to college drop out that sporadically works. He also has a gambling problem but refuses to get help. I can trace it back to when his mom divorced his stepdad (that raised him) and remarried. His younger brother also went downhill too. They have not gotten any counseling which I think they should have. That is why I made sure my stepdaughter got into her counselor as soon as her mom left. I called the counselor ten minutes after BM told us she had moved... well before SD knew.

I would suggest that you talk to your daughter and see if there is anything in school or home that is bothering her, any new changes or people. Sometimes, it's difficult to get a kid to open up about their problems. I know I never wanted to talk to my parents about things. It might have made a difference if someone had pried and dug it out of me.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:25PM
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I think it's a difficult time in their life, girls especially. They are not a little kid but not yet an 'adolescent'. It was the worse time for me to go through my parents' divorce because there were so many personal changes (such as puberty) and it was hard to find my place to fit in.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:29PM
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Don't want to intrude...but....
I agree with what Imamommy just said.
I also was more than capable, yet chose not to get my work done...or when I did I was so unorganized that I'd lose it in my locker. I was into socializing. No matter what punishment my parents doled just didn't phase me.
And my daughter also went thru the same scenario :( Hers was especially bad whenever her room was a wreck. Clean room, better grades. I think her mind was a jumble when her physical world was a mess. Even though she hated to admit this was the case, her world was easier when her things were organized.
I worked outside of the home, had other children and am ashamed to admit that I wasn't as astute about keeping her on task.
I'm of the belief that had I created and followed a routine that she could count on it would have helped. I think it would have helped in my younger years too. Both of my folks worked, they were tired and distracted getting home, so did history repeat itself?
Yet all is easier in hindsight....even when I did "help" with her homework, she bucked and fought me the entire time. It was entirely frustrating for both of us.
I wish the best and success with your challenge :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:46PM
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no intrusion at all, I need all the help I can get with this kid. I remember myself at the same age, I was very similar. I think for myself it was more of a challenge to see how little I could get away with doing and still pass. I ended up in alternative HS. I am quite satisfied with my life, but wouldn't want her to take the same path. I just swear when I talk t her she can't even hear me.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:07AM
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Is this a behavior that she's always exhibited, and it's just coming out more now because you're trying to back off from the oversight? Or is it something new?

I'm wondering mostly because my grades plummeted when I was 13. There were things going on at home and at school that, looking back, warranted some sort of intervention. I don't think any adult in my life could have thought things were fine that year, but I think they just must have decided that it was nothing more than particularly exasperating teenaged behavior. I managed to pull out of it as far as grades were concerned-- when I was 14 I set my sights on college as a way out--but I don't think you can count on every kid following that logic. If this is something new with your daughter, there may be things going on that she's not talking about. If you think there's a chance that she's having serious problems, please try to find help for her.

If this isn't new, maybe finding a tutor for her worst subjects or some sort of organizational help might be a way to go. I remember reading an article a few years ago about teenaged boys whose performance improved vastly when their parents hired some sort of organizer to give them a system for getting their ducks in a row. Some kids can't come up with a good system on their own, but they can implement it once it's given to them. A tutor/organizer may not do anything that you couldn't do yourself, but she may be more receptive if it's not coming from a parent. And it may also add an additional incentive to do what she needs to do, since some kids try harder for other people than for their own families.

One extra thought: whether she "ought to" do what needs doing on her own or not, she's clearly not doing it. If you want her to perform, you may need to accept that she needs more supervision for a few years. You said that she does the minimum requirements to get things back. Raise your minimums. And if you're concerned that she may show you "any homework," then you need tighten your oversight and check every night. If you read the same words or see the same math more than once, you'll know she's trying to trick you and you can call her on it. Look in her binders and make sure everything's there if that's what it takes. She may not have the insight to realize how important these school years are, but you do. You need to do what it takes.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 11:09AM
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It is typical I guess. i can relate to this. you are not alone.

DD was difficult in 7-8th grade, she didn't do that great at all. She didn't listen to anyone plus her grades went down. The only motivation for her was getting out of public school and go to IB school (which is a small and separate school serving different districts, not inside a regular public school). she knew it is not going to happen unless she does OK. i guess in DD's case she just overgew it and did fine after that 9although she could do better, she can be kind of lazy). i hear you.

the other thing...I think DD needed counselling because that was the time when she was coming to terms wiht something and i missed that, didn't think of counselling then. See if your DD has anything she deals with and needs counselling for. it could help with grades and everything else.

by the way i was difficult in 7th grade too. i think it is just the girls. But then boys go through that later. My nephew was doing great until junior year in HS. he is in college now and does fine but for a moment my brother thought he will have a high school droup out at his hand.

i wish i have some great advice. maybe talk to her about future palns, not getting to good school would prevent her from achieving those goals.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 5:44PM
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