Wisdom Wednesday: My Kid Screwed Up In School. What Do I Do?

May 15, 2008 at 10:53 am | Posted in attitudes, children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, peer pressure, Self Esteem, teenagers, Tweens | Leave a comment
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My Teen Screwed Up In School, What Do I Do?

When your teen screws up in school, the first thing I want you to do is relax and assure yourself that everybody screws up. Then we need to look at the causes and decide if they are serious negative life-altering events, what to do if your teen has crossed to being a user, (again don’t panic. That will not solve your teen’s problem), and what to do if your teen’s problems are due to social pressures, media influence, or friends changing. When you have these areas figured out I will help you understand how to use positive intervention and your love to help your teen regain a self-esteem that will not suffer from external influences.

It is natural to worry about your teen. You would not be human if you did not. However, at the same time keep in mind that the kind of worry you do will have a huge influence on your teen. When you assume your teen has screwed up for life you will be giving this completely negative message to your teen. Instead, I want you to think about the screw-ups you knew from your past. At this point some are still screw-ups, but most have had a turnaround and are responsible adults with regular lifestyles. Give your teen this chance, even in your imagination. Believe your teen can and will turn out okay.

However, that doesn’t mean to stop there. If you did you would be negating one of your most important privileges as a parent. This privilege is to guide and enhance your teen’s life. To do this you need to decide if your teen’s change in behavior is due to using drugs or alcohol. There are many ways to discover substance use.

If you find your teen is using a substance, the first thing to do is be gentle with yourself. You are not the failure and your teen is not ruined. The next thing to do is open dialogue and discussion about substance use. You can be subtle, you can be funny, you can be heart to heart. But whatever you do, don’t ignore this step. Talk with your teen with respect. Explain your concerns about the substance and its effects. Allow your teen to respond! And listen to the response. You see, this is a dialogue, not a lecture.

You will need to decide at what level your teen is using. Learn what alternatives are available for detox if necessary. Find groups for both you and your teen to attend to help get through this stage. Don’t go it alone.

If your teen screwing up in school is based on more psychological or mental dilemmas, realize these are just as detrimental to your teen’s overall wellbeing as drug and alcohol use can be. Let your teen know that although you are disappointed in the result of poor grades, you are more interested in how you as a family and your teen as an immerging adult can learn from this experience and go forward in a positive direction. That direction may not be what you have in mind.

It may not be getting good grades; it might be finding another outlet or avenue where your teen is stimulated and is passionate about. Remember, school is a wonderful place to learn if your teen is learning there, but if your teen is falling apart and loosing self-esteem, help your teen see there are billions of ways to be competent and resilient.

When your teen screws up, give love, respect, and by all means, intervene with a positive influence and attitude. You are the parent and you have both the responsibility and privilege to parent with passion, purpose, and integrity. And you, the parent, above and beyond anyone else, has the ability to see the gem in your teen.

Grace E. Mauzy
Founder of GEMParenting
www.GEMParenting.com

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