teenagers control parents ninth grade

You Can Lead a Teen to Books, But You Can’t Make them Study

Posted on Posted in Blog, High School Scholar, Parenting's Not Easy

You Can Lead a Teen to Books, But You Can’t Make them Study

Have you ever come to the realization that you are in a moment for which you have absolutely no control over?  Perhaps you had a little one that begged and begged you to sign them up for dance classes.  You paid the tuition every month, drove them to class every week and then when the recital came in the spring they refused to go on stage.  I live this scenario almost every day.  Except instead of dance its high school and instead of a little one it’s a teenager that resides in my house right now. 
This is our oldest highly anticipated ninth grade year. And let’s just say while she goes to school to learn, as usual, she’s excelling in social skills.  Our teen knows what’s on the line. We’ve talked to her about transcripts and colleges looking for respectable GPA’s.  We’ve carefully chosen the best school we can afford to send her to.  We’ve helped her pick the classes, as far as level of difficulty, which will look good on her transcript.  We’ve offered tips on organization.  We’ve rearranged schedules to get her picked up for tutoring after school.  We’ve encouraged.  We’ve yelled.  We’ve spoken to her in our ‘business meeting’ voices.  We’ve taken away privileges.  We’ve enlisted the supporting words of grandparents, aunts and uncles.  We’ve emailed and spoken with teachers. We’ve even given example after example of those we’ve seen mess up and even confessed our own mess ups – all too little or no avail.  In her teenage world she’s still got four whole years to ‘get it together’.  
We get that at this point music and art are her thing.  She excels in those classes.  But in the real world college music/art programs and scholarships require good grades not just talent – unless that is your mama and daddy have at least seven zeros somewhere stashed away.  And since we, as her parents, don’t fall into that category at this present moment she will need good grades.
We know she can do well.  Not just because it’s a ‘we see her potential’ thing.  She’s done well before.  She’s made all A’s before.  There was one point in her grade school career when we told her she studied too much, that she should take a break, watch a little TV.  Oh how I miss those days.
I’ll admit that ninth grade is a hard year.  The schools increase in size, the classes get harder and sometimes longer.  And now everything counts as a credit, which adds up in four years to graduation if everything is done correctly and in a timely matter.   In addition research on ninth grade year also finds that ninth graders have:
  • the lowest grade point average
  • the most missed classes
  • the majority of failing grades
  • more misbehavior referrals than any other high school grade level
  • to deal with loneliness, isolation, and disconnection 
We fully understand that now the stakes are higher.  It’s just we don’t think she gets it.  So, what’s the alternative? Give up?  Stop pushing and prodding her to do her best?  Let her make decisions about what’s important and what’s not with her teenage brain? NO!  Though I must admit that on my most fed up days I want to say, the hell with it, just screw it up and see what happens!  (Fortunately this feeling usually fades after a few minutes.) 
Still, it’s frustrating to provide opportunities to our kiddos that we would have wanted or benefited from and see them take it all for granted.  On top of that we now know that we can provide all the opportunities in the world for them, but at the end of the day the scary realization is that they may not take advantage.  They have to want to be successful for themselves - the trickiest parenting lesson to convey to kids of all if you ask me.  I’m convinced forcing a stage fright child onto center stage would be easier. 


Do you have a child that is a reluctant learner at times?


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