Is It Okay to Be an Average Student?

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Help Her Set Goals

One way to motivate her is to talk with her about her plans after high school. Let her know the her grades will determine which doors will be open to her with respect to jobs, technical colleges, universities, and a career. Ask her whether she thinks being so involved in cheerleading, sports, drama and chorus is preventing her from performing better in school. Let her know that you're concerned; then ask her what you can do to help.

If her mediocre grades are due to difficulties with the subject matter, offer to hire a tutor who can help with tough classes. Or consider finding her a study coach, someone who can help her stay more focused, develop an action plan, and check her progress throughout the school year.

Additionally, make an appointment with her guidance counselor to help you better gauge your academic expectations for your daughter. Maybe she is truly doing the best she can. However, ask the counselor if B's and C's are the most to expect; if your daughter has the innate ability to perform better in school; if there is the possibility of a learning disability like dyslexia or ADHD? After you have taken these steps, re-evaluate your opinions about your daughter's grades.

The cold reality is that some kids simply don't get turned on by academics. However, it doesn't mean they are not smart, or that they won't be successful adults. Your daughter is using her mind and body to pursue the less academic aspects of school. And if grades were given for cheerleading, chorus, drama and volleyball, she would probably be receiving straight A's.

Remember too, that school is a place where children learn to hone their social skills, which in some ways is more important than the pursuit of perfect grades. Your daughter's varied interests show that regardless of her grades, she may well become a very successful adult beyond graduation.

Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of four parenting books, including Darn Good Advice -- Baby and Darn Good Advice -- Parenting. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for this site and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.


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