Your daughter’s education is a vital first step toward her success in life. Academic health helps with self esteem and also shows dedication, commitment and the ability to follow through. A big part of high school life is learning to balance studies with extracurricular activities, interests and a social life. But what if your daughter’s grades are seriously taking a dive? Although it may be normal to encounter dips in grades every now and then, it’s important for parents to look for signs of deeper problems.
Here are some insights:
Determine Why Her Grades are Slipping
It may be easy for you to see what is causing your teen’s failing grades. Maybe she’s not getting enough sleep, the correct nutrition, or spending too much time out with friends. Your daughter may be on her cell phone too much, or too late at night. On the other hand, she may be working as hard as she can, but trying to tackle a difficult subject. These are common and easy-to-solve problems. Setting healthy boundaries can be a quick fix to curb bad habits from being formed. Hiring a tutor for a few weeks or even a semester can provide that extra support your daughter may need. But, what about other problems?
Here are some areas to possibly investigate when you suspect a deeper issue:
Bullying- According to a 2011 study by the American Sociological Association, bullying can greatly affect grades as well as mental health. Sit down and talk to your daughter about the possibility of bullying. Be patient. Sometimes shame hides the truth. Many young women absorb the blame and find it difficult to admit that they are not at fault.
Alcohol or Drug Use- It isn’t news that teenagers often experiment with alcohol and drugs. According to a high school drug use survey from National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly a quarter of American high schoolers use at least one type of illicit drug. Drug and alcohol use has the potential to lead to abuse. If your daughter is seeking escape through alcohol or drug use, it is vital to get help as soon as possible.
Commitment Overload- Choir, Band, Drama Club, FFA, the after-school job. In addition to working toward the grades needed for college, your daughter may also be working toward volunteer requirements and other requirements. Without support and guidance, she can feel overwhelmed and a little lost. Weekly check-ins with Falling Through the Cracks- Challenging children is one thing. Placing them in a situation where they simply want to give up is entirely different. Some teens succeed at certain subjects, but when they move on to others, they struggle. This is especially true in subjects like algebra, where one missed or misunderstood concept can cause problems for the entire school year.
What to Do
Once you have an idea of what may be causing the decline in your daughter’s grades, you need to take steps to fix the issue.
The first thing to do is talk to the school and the teachers. Don’t assign blame, but rather ask them if they have noticed any changes in your teen’s behavior or if they might know the problem causing the drop in grades.
She may only need a tutor to improve her grades or may simply need to drop a few extracurricular activities so she has enough time to study. The school may need to step in to address bullying.
In some cases, like with alcohol or drug abuse, you may need to get additional help outside the school system. Your daughter may benefit from therapy, rehab or attending a drug- and alcohol-free boarding school.
Keep in mind that your daughter needs your support, no matter what the issue is. For this reason, it’s important to stay calm and be there for her throughout the process.