Monday, July 19, 2010

Failing in School

Questioner: Arlene

Subject: Failing in School

Question: Hi,

I hope you can help. My son, who is 15, has just completed the 9th grade and failed several of his classes. His GPA is .44. He's never been a good student, but managed to pass until this past year. To make things even more complicated, we just moved and he's dealing with grief over not being near his friends.
We're only 15 minutes away, and my husband and I are committed to making every effor for him to see his old friends. However, the grades have us terribly worried, to the point of having him repeat the 9th grade. Perhaps a new school and fresh start.... We are distraught as a family over this. Can you give us some advice? He's a super kid with a great disposition and well-liked by his peers, but not a good student. Thanks!

Answer: Dear Arlene,

I only have one question. How is moving and getting a new start going to help a child who is 14 and has never been a good student? He has to take himself to the new school.

Has he been tested to determine if he has a learning disability? I strongly suggest first starting with your family physician to rule out any physical reasons he is struggling with school. Then move to a child psychologist to determine if there are any learning disabilities or mental healt issues such as anxiety.

Have you asked him what he thinks the problem is? You stated he is a super kid with a great disposition so he has a lot going for him with a family who thinks so highly of him. Whatever he is facing will be easier to deal with because he has a supportive family.

Some children do struggle more with school than others. However, I noticed you did not mention what his teachers think the problem is or what the school says. These are all resources to pay attention to in determining how best to help your son.

Congratulations on not personalizing his troubles this is a major benefit to both your son and to yourselves. I am confident you will find out what he needs to support his learning experience.


M Kay Keller

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