We've all been there. The progress report cards arrive and grades are not what we expected. Or, we check online and cannot figure out why there are so many zeroes where there should be numbers!
If this is happening to your family right now, relax and try these five tips to get your teen back on track. I've tested them on my own students and children, and know they work!
Take a deep breath and let your teen talk. Kids want their parents to hear their side of the story. Listen as they tell you what they think is going on. Try to stay quiet and not interrupt - just nod your head until they're done. They know you're disappointed.
Get organized. Open their binder, calendar, folders, or whatever they store their papers and assignments in together. Make two piles: graded work and incomplete work.
Sort everything by subject area and create a checklist of the assignments that are incomplete. If possible, print out the teacher's grade record and compare it against all assignments you have in front of you. Make a list of any assignments that show as missing but aren't in your child's possession.
Create a plan for completing work. One strategy is to divide the assignments by how many days are left in the grading period. Even if the teacher won't accept missing work, have your child complete it. The work was assigned as a learning experience, and it shouldn't be disregarded.
Find something to work towards. Taking away texting, iPods, cell phones, or computer privileges usually motivate teens to work. Lay out a clear plan so your teen knows exactly what they have to do, and when they have to do it. Follow through on the deal - remember, they're still learning.
Time management and responsibility are part of the middle and high school learning curve for our children. Where once there was only one elementary school teacher to contact, suddenly we have six or seven at once. Many parents want to let their tweens and teens manage their school work alone once they enter middle and high school; as a 21 year teaching veteran, I say, "DON'T!" For many tweens and teens, this is precisely the time they need the adults in their lives to help them find time management systems that work.