The new place is quite different from your past story tale location. Now, you’re in a small, but affordable apartment, you’re down to one bathroom. Two of your kids are sharing a room. The shoes in the entryway leave no space to walk through. The kitchen leaves you just enough room to turn around from the sink to the stove. Your job gets you a paycheck that just covers rent and a few groceries. Nothing is extravagant anymore.
You thought that being a single parent and facing minor challenges would be the worst of it, but your oldest son is showing increasing struggles with school and now this has become your biggest battle yet. JD was always on the ball with school. He had several friends, his teachers adored him, and his report cards were always stellar. Since the move to the new city, new school, and new everything, his junior year has been nothing but difficult. JD’s entire world has turned upside down and he’s buried beneath it all.
It turns out that JD is old enough to understand what happened with his parents. The divorce or separation took him completely by surprise. He is feeling shocked that everything he grew up to be true is no longer that way at all. His behaviors are such that he’s been acting out and pushing people to limits, including you and his teachers. His grades are suffering and now, he’s an entire semester behind. You recently heard from the administration and if JD doesn’t start getting his work completed, they’ll have no choice but to keep him in 11th grade for another year.
You know that can’t happen. As an educated woman, you know the chance of JD graduating if he’s held back is substantially less. You have to talk some sense into him. You have to get on board with his teachers. Will JD rise to the challenge? How will he trust anything you have to say or offer, when it was you, who he feels ripped your family apart?
Now it could very well be that your other children have it together. For now. If JD’s behavior begins to rub off on them, they could also be in an academic world of hurt. JD has always set a good example for his younger siblings. What if they see his academic demise unfolding? You have to take action and fast, mom. Check out our favorite tips below and get JD on the right path again.
1 - Don’t Panic
Just because your child is showing struggles in school, it’s not the end of the world. After all, you’re catching on right now, right? Of course! And just because it ‘appears’ to be a struggle in each class, doesn’t mean your child is completely clueless. Take a breath, sit down with your kiddo, and have a conversation.
2 - Converse
Sit your kiddo down and hear him out. Let him tell you what he deems is the issue. You may get to the bottom of it in this conversation. You might be lucky and this conversation will help your child see the light and the importance of his academics. It could be that all he was looking for was a conversation with you so he knew he was loved and accepted no matter what. If this conversation isn’t the ticket, then you will have to go to the next step.
3 - Reach Out To Teachers
Let’s say JD wasn’t willing to budge from your conversation with him. He feels slighted by everyone and has given up on everything. He swears his life is over and he has nothing to look forward to. Not only do you feel terrible about this, but you need help. Request a meeting with JD’s teachers. Get to know them and the expectations they have for JD. What are they looking for and how can you help accommodate JD at home? What are JD’s weaknesses? How about his strengths?
4 - Show Time / Study Time
You are the adult in your home now and your child needs to respect it. You have rules and one of them isn’t flunking out of high school. Set some boundaries. You’ll need a new plan specifically for JD and his academics. Set the stage for your child to succeed at home. He has a lot to catch up on, so he’ll need a work space just for him and some scheduled work time. Let him have breaks and don’t slack off when you go over what he has accomplished. Praise him for completing even the smallest of tasks. It’ll take some time, but he’s got a lot on his plate. Be patient, yet supportive of his efforts.
5 - Consistency Is Key
Remember, in all of this, JD is looking to you to model positive behavior and at the same time, your younger children are looking to JD as a role model. This all starts and ends with you, but if you’re consistent, it’s going to be much easier to maintain. Don’t ease up on the plan and continue to monitor JD (and your other children) for warning signs that the plan might be failing. Take immediate action to rectify things and get him back on track. Positive motivation can go a long way with kids.
6 - Follow Up
We know you don’t want to be a ‘helicopter parent’ and be at school all the time. The teachers likely won’t appreciate a daily request for minute-by-minute updates on your child. JD won’t like feeling constantly checked up on, either. However, it is completely okay to request some reports from JD’s teachers. JD also needs to know and understand that you will be keeping in contact with his teachers to keep him moving forward towards success. Don’t create a plan and then just back away from it. It’s going to take some monitoring and persistence from you, the parent.
No one wants a child to fail (at anything in life). If you’re put in a similar situation with your child as JD, it’s really important to show grace and love. This separation hasn’t been easy on anyone, and it’s very possible that your children will show some signs of stress or anxiety where school is concerned. Just strive to do your best. Encourage them, get involved, and don’t give up. When your children see that you value their work and education, they will hopefully jump on board to value those same things. Schoolwork and grades don’t have to suffer; you’ll help get your child through this!
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, everything was perfect. You had a marriage full of love and when your babies were born, you could have sworn that life could never get better. For a while, things remained perfect. Then one day, a storm blew in and destroyed everything in its path, including your rock-solid marriage. The only thing for you to do was grab your children, take them somewhere safe, and begin again.