rachelm01's picture

Failing School

My 14 year old has been failing or close to failing school since 5th grade.  She is an intelligent, bright student with no known learning disabilties.  She completes work but doesn't turn it in.  We have taken away her cell phone, computer use and anything that means something to her, and even this doesn't work.  Anyone out there have any info?  She is now failing every one of her 9th grade classes.  She doesn't seem depressed or anything like that either.

Bob Saget's picture
Bob Saget

Take the homework from her, and turn it in yourself.

cknichols817's picture

I would suggest meeting with her and her teachers together in one room. I have a 13 yr. old step daughter and she did that a few times because she felt it wasn't "cool" to be smart. Unfortunately, she still feels that way, but through communication and consequences for not turning in her work her grades are definitely improving. Good luck!

jlmulli's picture

Taking things away from your daughter will not necessarily help the situation. Taking away the cell phone just means she will be on the internet more. Taking one thing away will just mean she replaces it with the next best thing.

I like the suggestion of meeting with the teachers and her together, however this may cause her self-esteem issues. If she is an intelligent girl trying sitting down and actually listening and discussing with her what the potential problem is. Maybe she does think it is uncool or is trying to be like her friends. Just listen to her and treat her like the young adult she is becoming.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Cld she be forgetting to hand in her homewk? Or maybe she's having a problem at school, either w/ the teacher or a student.... If she's a bright child, I'm sure she wants to succeed. You just need to get to the bottom of what's going on. Maybe it's her way of getting attention. Have there been any changes or problems at home?Talk to your daughter and her teacher. Also, make sure you're on top of her homewk every day. I agree that if it comes down to it, you shld hand deliver the homewk to her teacher yourself. Maybe you and the teacher can work out a system (communicate through e-mail, have the teacher send back the work to be signed by you....) Try different things, but don't let this fall through the cracks any further. I hope my suggestions help.

Carebear5's picture

My 14-year-old is also one of those that does her homework and then forgets to turn it in. She also somehow never hears about assignments. However, she can usually pull out the good grades with test scores and because her teachers KNOW she has done the work. At the start of the year, I told them that they'd never have a discipline problem with her and that she'd do everything they ask, including homework. But - she'd be the one to lose it, leave it at home, or just simply bring it to class and forget to turn it in. Honestly, it's just her. She's a happy-go-lucky kid with no sense of urgency what-so-ever. We've been fortunate that they've been very lenient while she starts figuring out reminders to turn in work. (She's the type that will write something on her hand and then forget what it means.) I know she has to learn the responsibility, but she's just not mature yet. (Her birthday is in September, and I actually think we made a mistake not delaying her schooling a year. She's smart enough - just not mature as her peers.)

I don't ever punish for poor grades or bad schoolwork. I feel like it's double-jeopardy. They are already feeling bad about the bad grade and get punished in that sense. Why add to it with more stuff? However, I would punish for failure to communicate missed assignments. (I never wanted to know about poor progress when it was too late to help. So, they had to report missed assignments ASAP to me or else they would lose something personal, usually related to communication - like a block on texting on her phone.)

Since this has been since the 5th grade, I would look into self-esteem (not feeling bad about herself but just feeling settled into "this is who I am" - kind of like adopting a role that isn't a good one). I would also look into anxiety.

Assignment books never work with my daughter. What has helped is a scanner and computer. She literally right after completing an assignment often scan the worksheet or paper in and e-mail it to her teacher "just in case." She's gotten into that habit, and it has helped immensely. (She still turns in a hard copy of her work, but it helps when she leaves it at home or forgets.. it's already in.)

The other thing that helps... a set time every day she has to study no matter if she has work or night. We picked 9pm for 30 minutes. It's late, but it was the only time she could do consistently every day.

Last - I found that my daughter really, really needs sleep. I mean - she needs sleep. We had to revamp her schedule, laying out clothes, etc. so she can get ready in 20 minutes in the morning (so she could sleep later). Then - she has to keep consistent on the weekends for going to bed early. Less than 9 hours of sleep affects her ability to get work in.

acitez's picture

I've just started working (volunteer) at the school. They have me doing physio-neurotherapy developed by a company called Learning Technics. According to this physio-neurological theory, your daughter may have a problem in her brain that interferes with her understanding size. People with this problem often complete tasks up to the point of turning the work in.
Sometimes I think it is mumbo-jumbo, but the second-graders I am working with are making progress in the tasks we do in our sessions, and then I see them on the playground and their interaction with their peers is so different than it was 4 weeks ago.
If you buy the program from them, it takes an hour every day of you working with your child for months, although they do an evaluation first to see if it will benefit your child. It is very expensive, but the mom of a teenager I know who did it with her boy 7 years ago says that it was worth twice the time and twice the money.

mybabys3's picture

I'm a single mom with three daughters, 9, 11, 13. Their dad and I have 50/50 custody and live within one hour of eachother. I'm involved with another man, have been for almost three years and their dad has had the same gf for three years. We each live with our significant others. My oldest two are pretty much failing school. They won't do her homework. I've met w/teachers, have online access to their homework assignments and grade reports, made phone calls to school counselors, taken priveledges away and of course, given lectures (gasp! the horror!!) Given the opportunity to turn in make up work, neither one does it and the oldest has taken to lying, almost chronically, about everything. I'm very willing to accept the typical teenage girl drama - I remember what it was like - but my oldest in particular has pretty much slapped her dad and I in the face with her school performance. Our middle daughter is super-stubborn, so I can work with that and find how to best guide a stubborn child but my oldest is throwing me for loops. She is extremely bright, no learning disabilities and pretty respectful, especially compared to how her peers treat their parents. At this point, it's summer, so there's nothing I can do about her performance until next year except seek out the experience of others and find out how you all dealt with this. H E L P!!

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom


Now that summer is almost here, put your girls to work. Do this either by having them volunteer their time, or have them do work around the house. Tell them this is how it's going to be for them if they don't shape up in school. It sounds like your girls are very capable, they're just not very motivated. Make sure there's nothing else going on w/ them also that you don't know about. How is their behavior at home? Are they generally happy? How is their relationship w/ your bf? How about their social life? Are they active w/ friends and activities? Have you noticed any change in your daughters otherwise? Keep on top of them, and always communicate w/ them. I hope whatever it is resolves itself and that things get better for your daughters in school. Don't let this go any longer. Is your ex-husband supportive in all this? Worse case, bring your daughters for counceling. Good luck.

Justaboutfedup's picture

I have had the same problems with my son. He is 17 now and a senior. Up until 7th grade he made almost all A's. He is intelligent and very bright and even tested at a 12th grade level in grade school. Now he hardly turns in his homework. He will do it but not turn it in and gets good scores on his tests. I asked him why this was happening and he told me that he didn't want to be smarter than his friends. I tried to tell him to not dumb himself down to their level but instead they need to reach his level but that hasn't really helped. His principal and teachers know how smart he is and are always on him to do better. It makes me mad because I know what he is capable of but doesn't do it. Perhaps it is the same with your daughter.