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Old 05-01-2013, 02:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by FlightlessDuck View Post
While I'm not saying it can't be oppositional defiant disorder, nor am I a mental health professional, as far as I understand the primary symptom is anger-driven behavior/disobedience to authority figures.

It sounds to me more like this is just a problem with an ability to understand the material or low self esteem/low confidence.
I don't think it's an inability to understand the material. It is getting into the territory of advanced material, for sure. Mastery of "hard" subjects requires mental exertion from most people. But I'm not seeing any effort on her part. If she had her little behind sitting at the kitchen table every night poring over her notes and trying to do problems, I'd agree with you. But I'm not seeing that at all. It's motivation, it's not ability.

On the rare occasions we have managed to get her to buckle down and work, her grades have gone up accordingly. But then she starts slacking off if we aren't at her all the time and her grades plummet.

And actually, she has always tended a bit in the oppositional direction. Not enough to be diagnosed, I'm sure, but it's part of her personality that hasn't improved with adolescence.

Last edited by Pigeon; 05-01-2013 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #17
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I'm so sorry you're having such a tough time! I don't have a teenager, but I tutor them. I also have a brother who is very smart, but graduated with a 1.23 GPA (I honestly think they just wanted him gone!) I have a couple of thoughts on your daughter.

You say that she always wanted to go into the medical field, but this year she is finding the math and science courses to be very difficult. I remember growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but when I got to high school, I found that I just didn't get chemistry. I'd never had trouble picking things up before, and this was a real struggle. It crushed me to struggle in a course that was key to the future I had planned. Maybe her "I don't care" attitude is a realization that she no longer wants or feels like she is capable of going into the medical field. She may be depressed about it, hence not caring if she works menial jobs.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:57 PM   #18
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Is she a freshman? I know around here a lot of the kids get smacked because even though the elementary and middle schools are good, the high school is the "challenge" parents of bright kids have been waiting for. I do worry about this for DD10 because everything comes easy to her and she puts up a wall if something doesn't click the first time. I'll be reading this thread with interest.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:01 PM   #19
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She's a sophomore. As a freshman, her grades were very good. She won the junior high hall award for overall academic achievement in 8th grade.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:09 PM   #20
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How horrible is it of me to actually appreciate this thread knowing I'm not alone? Misery loves company.

In the 4th grade, my DS was tested and found to be in the top 3%; in our school that is considered Talented and Gifted. [DH and I still have no idea where he gets it; not us] He continued to get straight A's [yes, I know there's really not an apostrophe there, but it looks horrible without it] all through school and then he began Middle School almost 2 years.

OMG!!!! Since then it has been a constant battle to get him to focus, do his work, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, blah, blah. We're talking a D in Spanish and very low C's in almost everything else. My DH tells me to just back off and if he fails, he fails, BUT IT IS NOT MY NATURE TO LET PEOPLE FAIL.

I had my child later in life and absolutely had no idea how hard it could be to be a parent to a teenager. But I do adore the little jerk.

He is going into the 9th grade next year and his grades are "permanent". It is mean of me to say I have no faith in him at this point? My head is gonna explode.

I know this is veering off a bit but sometimes I think parents set expectations too high. I know that many (including me) get a good laugh at the "gifted" threads on the DIS. Did you ever notice that the majority of the "gifted" claims are from parents of elementary school children? There are plenty of "gifted" high school students but you also see threads like this where students are struggling with the AP/Honors courses. Go to the college threads and there are very few posters claiming to send their children to top universities. I understand that I have no statistical proof, but it sure seems that many experience the epiphany that our kids are not as smart as we thought they were.

The point here (if there is one) is that expectations are set early and we, as parents, come to believe that our children are exceedingly bright. We do not think to consider that perhaps other children will catch up or that effort (which is generally not necessary in elementary school) makes a significant difference.

Perhaps many of our children are not cut out for AP/Honors. We want the best for them and do not want them to take the easy way out. But it is very difficult to get a high school student to put in the effort if they are not so inclined.

(I hope that I am not starting a "but my child really is gifted!" conversation.)
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:11 PM   #21
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I'm seeking input from those of you who actually have faced this situation to see if anyone has had any success in turning it around.

I have a 15 yo, who has always been an excellent student in the past. This year, she is bombing math and science, and this is a kid who always wanted to go into the medical field. She says its too hard and she can't do it and if she spends her life at a low paying, menial job it's no big deal. I've seen no evidence of her putting in much effort this year at all. Her teachers have offered no insight. She goes to a big school and the guidance counselors are so busy dealing with the kids with horrible problems that this sort of thing gets no attention.

She stays for extra help sometimes, but I don't think she finds it very helpful. Even the teachers have said that the afterschool help tends to be chaotic. We just started paying for a science tutor, which we are willing to do, but if dd isn't motivated I'm not convinced it's going to help all that much.

We've punished. We've grounded. We've taken electronic gadgets. We've listened. We've tried reasoning. We've tried getting her to take responsibility. There is no buy in on her part. I think she'd like to do better, but she's not willing to work hard and she's convinced she's just not smart. She's not taking drugs, she's not drinking.

We've been taking her to a therapist. At this age, you hear nothing at all from the therapist, but I suspect from what dd has said that she just uses the time to gripe about us, and that the therapist reinforces that it's just peachy to barely skate by.

Has anyone faced this before and had a positive outcome with your kid turning things around? What did you do? What helped?
I am living it now with my 16yodd, also a sophomore, she is bombing math and science too. We must be twins, lol.

She is in counseling & is also on meds and does have anxiety/depression issues and has since forever.

She is being proactive and doing this on her own with the private counselors advice with trying to fix it.

Also she dropped a class and took a study hall and is getting help DURING school. They have "help labs" for science and math during ALL classes during the day. They also have help before and after school.

The science she may pull out of because she has labs to turn in that will help.

The math might be a lost cause and if she fails it is summer school.

At this point, I am supportive of what she needs and I am done "punishing her". She hates herself right now and is struggling.

Now I did take away her game remote from the laptop until she turns in her science labs.

She is the one who does her schedule, not me. Her expectations are her expectations, not mine, just to address PP, lol.
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Last edited by The Mystery Machine; 05-01-2013 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by CupcakeKelly View Post
I'm so sorry you're having such a tough time! I don't have a teenager, but I tutor them. I also have a brother who is very smart, but graduated with a 1.23 GPA (I honestly think they just wanted him gone!) I have a couple of thoughts on your daughter.

You say that she always wanted to go into the medical field, but this year she is finding the math and science courses to be very difficult. I remember growing up I always wanted to be a doctor, but when I got to high school, I found that I just didn't get chemistry. I'd never had trouble picking things up before, and this was a real struggle. It crushed me to struggle in a course that was key to the future I had planned. Maybe her "I don't care" attitude is a realization that she no longer wants or feels like she is capable of going into the medical field. She may be depressed about it, hence not caring if she works menial jobs.
I've tried to point out to her that her career choices for life aren't necessarily either brain surgeon or nail salon technician at the mall.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanchez View Post
. . . I know that many (including me) get a good laugh at the "gifted" threads on the DIS. . . .

The point here (if there is one) is that expectations are set early and we, as parents, come to believe that our children are exceedingly bright. We do not think to consider that perhaps other children will catch up or that effort (which is generally not necessary in elementary school) makes a significant difference.
My DH and I could not care less if he is gifted or not - I'm certainly of average intelligence and have had an incredible life/career - I think it's irrelevant. The Teacher noticed it and recommended to us he be tested. Certainly that is not all you gleaned from my post. I have never posted on the "gifted" thread and in fact have never even mentioned this about my DS before, but it is so comforting to know that you are laughing at "gifted" children.

My intention in posting was to show that he refuses to apply himself, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less. I never even thought it would be construed that I thought my child was a snowflake.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #24
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My DH and I could not care less if he is gifted or not - I'm certainly of average intelligence and have had an incredible life/career - I think it's irrelevant. The Teacher noticed it and recommended to us he be tested. Certainly that is not all you gleaned from my post. I have never posted on the "gifted" thread and in fact have never even mentioned this about my DS before, but it is so comforting to know that you are laughing at "gifted" children.

My intention in posting was to show that he refuses to apply himself, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less. I never even thought it would be construed that I thought my child was a snowflake.
Whoa!!! Back up. I quoted your post as an example of early success and later struggles in school. I never implied that you made those claims. I am sorry that you read it that way.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:30 PM   #25
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I've tried to point out to her that her career choices for life aren't necessarily either brain surgeon or nail salon technician at the mall.
I totally get where you are coming from. I read in another post that you said that she won an 8th grade award for high academic achievement. If she's always been a high performing student, and all of a sudden she is having trouble in some of her classes, she could be having somewhat of an identity struggle. The teenage years are when we struggle (some more than others) to figure out who we are and where we think we fit in the world. If she has always been "the smart kid", and all of a sudden she is struggling, she may be having trouble defining who she is anymore. I know I'm offering zero advice, and more armchair psychology with my responses, but she might just be going through a transition period in her maturity right now.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #26
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But for some kids, it is black or white. Ugh, so frustrating.

My nephew once told me in HS that "it is not cool to be smart." He had a group of friends who were very friendly competitive but other than them and teachers, it was just a negative. Isn't that sad?

Anyway, we went through that "not cool" thing with DD is 8th grade. She would never do anything to ruin her grades but she'd do just enough (like turn in things late) so classmates would not think she was "goody goodie" and too smart.

So, it could be related to that type of thing--social pressure or sorts.

Maybe she needs a nice summer job doing some hard work to make her rethink her options.
My family owned a motel when I was growing up and I grew up cleaning motel rooms. I knew I did not want to do *that* kind of work for a living--it is just old hard work.

As you know, I'm a hairdresser (30 years in June, ack!) and I made that decision as a 15 years HS sophomore (well, that was the year I started the program). I struggled FR year with Algebra (made B's and C's) and decided it was all too hard and that I was not going to go on to college.

I've said here before that it is my biggest regret. I've loved doing hair and it has been good to me but I wish I would have went to college. I was college material and just did not want to work that hard in school or apply myself. I'd hate for your DD to make that same mistake.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #27
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OP--what do you mean by "bombing" and "barely skating by" Is she failing? Getting Cs when she used to get As?
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:33 PM   #28
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What worked for us, to a degree, was motivational things vs punishment. In MS it was earning a few hours of Xbox on weekends. Now in HS it's sports and driving contingencies. Our problem is largely resolved with DS. His grades are decent. But he doesn't put the effort in that he could. (His teachers have always noted this.) I know you're not supposed to compare, but I watch the effort his (twin) sister puts in and it's like night and day. (It's hard for me to believe he only has 15 minutes of homework when she has hours worth for essentially the same classes!) But we've discussed it ad nauseam and this is what he's choosing for himself, school-wise. In all honesty, I don't fret about it much because he's otherwise healthy and happy and on paper his grades are acceptable. I don't think he's ever going to be the type of kid that will put a ton of time into schoolwork. And sure, it may well affect his choices in the future.

I will agree about looking at colleges as motivation. We've already visited a number of college campuses - walked around, had lunch, visited bookstores, etc. DS talks about it quite a bit (as does DD), and brings up potential careers and programs of study because of it. I wanted to take out some of the fear and mystery about college and to that end, I think I succeeded. I also think getting a job is helpful as they see how hard it is to earn money. DS worked literally every day of his April vacation and he was exhausted! The money he earned is food for his age group, but it wouldn't go very far if he was on his own. Maybe a job bagging groceries or cleaning this summer would help your DD see the realities of menial work?

One other thing that just hit me - aren't you a CEO or something like that? Could this be a type of "rebellion" for her, feeling she won't "measure up"? Just a thought. At any rate, good luck!
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:56 PM   #29
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Pigeon, I teach high school math.

Tonight and tomorrow night are hectic around here, but I bet I can get her back on track over the weekend.

Have her PM me with any questions she has on whatever she's covering in math. Tell her I'm a total stranger, so there's no need to worry about what she doesn't know. We can set up a time when she and I can work for an hour or so, and see if we can get her confidence back.

I'm bad at a LOT!!!! of things, but I'm really good at teaching high school math.

In the meantime, there's a great site out there for high school subjects: http://www.regentsprep.org/ It's intended to prep kids for the NY State Regents exam, but it's a great review of so many subjects. Have her take a look and see whether the explanations there make sense.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:00 PM   #30
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Whoa!!! Back up. I quoted your post as an example of early success and later struggles in school. I never implied that you made those claims. I am sorry that you read it that way.
Fair enough.
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