US News & World Report
By Alexandra Pannoni
Teens and their parents need to first discuss the reasons for bad high school grades, one expert says…
1. Talk to your teen about their poor grades: The first thing parents need to do is talk to their teen about what happened, says Raab. While it may be possible that a student did poorly in a class because they didn’t understand the subject and didn’t ask for help, there is usually more going on, she says.
“Sometimes it’s good for the parents even to think what was going on then in the home,” she says. “Was there a loss? Was there some kind of tragedy? Was there something that was going on then?” A parent could put those pieces together, but not always, so it should be a conversation between parents and teens.
Yelling is one of the least effective things a parent could do during these conversations, she says. And sometimes teens won’t be apt to tell parents right away what happened – or they may not even be sure yet themselves – so allow for an ongoing conversation. But once they figure out the issue, it will be easier to fix.
2. Get your teen extra academic help: If the student is having difficulty with a particular subject, get them some extra help, Raab says.
“I’ve seen a lot of teens over the years really blossom in subjects that are really hard for them with some help from a tutor,” she says. “Just having someone else to do homework with that is not their teacher and not their parent can be really helpful.”
But parents should make sure they hire a tutor who is qualified or else the experience may not be very productive, says Shawn Grime, a school counselor at Archbold High School in Ohio. Private tutoring, online review programs and summer school could be other options for struggling students to explore this summer.
Summer reading – something that is often pushed for younger students – for 30 minutes each day could be helpful as well, he says.
(This goes for all ages! Reading for fun is important for your teen. Even if you can only get them to read magazines, it’s important)
3. Arrange for other services if there’s a sign of another issue: Poor grades could also be an indicator of other issues – like bullying, depression, anxiety or a learning disability – and parents will need to address these issues, too, says Raab.
Depending on the issue, counseling could be helpful, she says. But no matter the problem, teens need to be a part of the solution in order for it to be the most effective.
Enacting a punishment, like taking away a teen’s phone, may not be helpful.
“If your kid has a learning disability that has never been diagnosed, taking away their stuff isn’t going to help that situation,” she says. “I think there’s some situations where maybe it’s a more defiant behavior that that can help, but really that connection in saying, ‘Let’s figure this out together, this isn’t the end of the world,’ is much more effective.”