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Poor Academic Performance Is A Different Animal

Dear wife and I continue to refer to your notes over and over again. We are making progress with our 14 year old son. He has been more compliant lately. My wife and I are being transformed in the process as well. We hardly ever nag about chores or homework, etc. We are less confrontational. We have been encouraging each other as well as our son. We are more graceful and listen better.

Our struggle is not yet over. Our son is in the 8th grade and his grades have dropped significantly. He received (2) Ds and (1) F on the last report card a few weeks ago. The consequences were loss of his cell phone privilege Monday - Friday afternoon and loss of privilege to have friends over or go out with friends on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. He can participate in our church teen midweek service which is mostly a fellowship activity.

Our son has accepted these consequences; however, there has been no noticeable improvement in his grades and we are holding him totally accountable. We have made it clear that we are available to help. We have told him that his poor grades are hurting him and no one else.

Yesterday, he started using the Instant Messenger feature on the internet to stay connected with his friends. I had blocked his access to the AOL instant messenger but he is now accessing it via Internet Explorer. I can remove the wireless adapter on his computer and he will not be able to access the internet if I choose to take this step. I can use the security password feature on the two other computers in the home to prevent him from accessing them if I choose to do so.

Question: We are expecting a progress report in the next few days and we do not expect much improvement. What should we do to help our son realize that his poor academic performance will only hurt him in the long run? Apparently the consequences are not changing his behavior or attitude? Apparently his ODD tendencies have created a technology contest that I prefer not to engage in.

Many thanks in advance.



Hi J.,

Grades are kind of a different animal (as if we didn't have enough twists and turns).

Please refer to the page entitled Emails From Exasperated Parents [Online Version of the eBook -- Session #4].

On that page, scroll near the bottom and look for where it reads:

"My son brings home straight F's on his report cards. I ground him for the entire grading period, but he continues to fail in nearly all subjects. I know my son is a bright kid and can do the work when he wants to. What can I do to motivate him?" -- B. R.

NOTE: If your teen has a history of poor academic performance, and if poor academic performance is an ongoing source of conflict, then follow the recommendation.


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