Saturday, April 20, 2013

Our 14 year old is not working up to her full potential.

Dear Kay,

Our 14 year old is a freshman in high school and is not working up to her full potential at all. I do not believe it is the transition to high school as she has always attended a Parochial school and transitioned to a school of the same size. This has been an ongoing problem for a couple of years now. On standardized tests she is advanced and even qualified for the Duke TIP program so we cannot understand her poor grades. I suspect a big part is laziness, disorganization and a lack of motivation.

Also, she is preoccupied with her social life. For example she has an F in Algebra but if she had completed her homework she would have a low A or B. We have lectured her, taken stuff away, etc. When confronted, she becomes angry and tends to blame everyone else such as the teachers, etc.
Any suggestions on what to do and how to motivate her?
Thanks,

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

Let me ask you this, is what you're doing working? When you state, "suspect a big part is laziness, disorganization and a lack of motivation," my radar goes off with sirens! Sounds like she needs to be screened for learning challenges.

I know you may not want to hear this but these learning disorders can go unnoticed in smart students for YEARS. They learn how to accommodate until they reach high school and this is where smart students start to fall down.

Her socializing is a normal part of being a teen. Teens have two developmental tasks to complete. 1. Socializing with their peers first the same sex, and then the opposite sex. 2. Separating from their parents. She sounds perfectly on track. What doesn't sound on track is what is going on between how she is performing and how you see her aptitude.

Do get a professional screening and rule out any possibility of a learning disorder before you punish her any more. I don't think she is doing this on purpose. In my professional opinion, there is something else going on here. And maybe lay off all the negative labels as it won't serve your relationship with her. I think you want a good relationship with your daughter for years to come.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller