Maybe I have been in denial


Well-Known Member
difficult child called from school early this AM to ask if she could come home. Of sourse the response from me is 'huh?, why?'. To which she replied, "I am feeling stressed out and I can not stay here today. I feel like someone is pounding on my chest."

Apparently, staying at dad's stresses difficult child out. Well, I know for a fact living here stresses her out as well. She can not wait to 'go to college' so she is out of here. Let me just lead right into problem #2. Grades.
Report card came home today (perhaps part of that stress above?) and her GPA is a 55%. Yup, failing. Apparently, difficult children insistence on doing it her way and not being punished, not having me or dex get involved at all (her way this time) - DID NOT WORK! UGH! She thinks she is getting into college with that? If she was really looking for a way to get away from her parents, don't you think she would be working harder at the grades to ensure she could 'get outta here'?

Problem is: I just do not know what to do from here. We have tried everything. Every punishment possible, every talk possible, counseling, medications (still on Adderall - it helps and she admits it) at school counseling, IEP, hounding her about homework, not hounding her about homework - and on and on. We have tried it all. I just do not know of anything else to try. This will be the 3rd summer she spends at summer school. We have begged for them to fail her in the past and they just will not do it.

Please help me think of something else to try.



New Member
Is she getting anything to help with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Is there a different school she can attend? Sometimes a smaller environment is better. Something that is more structured and where she cannot get lost in the crowd. Mine is doing much better in a very small therapeutic school where there are only about 6 kids in each class. He is 15 as well, and had failed 7th and 8th grade. He is now working hard to catch up on 9th.


I'm sorry. I think difficult children this age have trouble connecting the dots, as in seeing that if they get good grades, they can go to college. And I honestly don't think punishments and hounding them about homework make a lick of difference. In fact, these techniques may actually do more harm than good.

I'm wondering if your difficult child has some anxiety that is getting in the way. The stressed out, pounding on her chest feeling made me think of it. While Adderall can help ADHD symptoms, it can also exacerbate anxiety. She may need medications and/or therapeutic interventions to address anxiety.

I'm also wondering if a tutor might help. Not a tutor in a specific subject, but a kind of coach who will work with her to organize herself and get her homework done. difficult children frequently respond better to outside help over help from mom or dad.

Here's hoping you find some answers soon. Hugs to you.

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

Once my kids hit highschool I stopped worrying over homework and grades. I thought T would fail for sure. But then he wasn't doing so great with me on his back and fighting the school non stop either.

Bottom line.... Both difficult children have done fine with me leaving them alone. Actually, they did better much to my surprise. And the stress level around here dropped dramatically.

difficult child could take the entrance exam to a community college, go for a year and do well, and get into a 4 yr college from there if need be.


Well-Known Member
I am not aware of any smaller setting schools here. She does have an IEP and has tutors available to her if she would just ask for it, which we have encouraged over and over.

I do think she has anxiety, she is refusing to see a doctor because she does not want to take 'another pill'. Ugh!

She needs something though. I can feel her level of stress lately. usually I feel my stress, but now I feel hers.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Very frustrating I'm sure-hopefully something will click for her soon-wish I had some advice-just wanted to send some hugs your way.


New Member
I feel for you, I am in the same boat! Cudos to you for getting your difficult child to attend summer school, mine refuses. I know that if I can't get him to do much during the year he sure is not going to do anything in summer school if he isn't willing. Since summer school starts and ends while I am at work, he'd be on his own to get there and back (have to take the city bus)which I am sure he won't do.

He does not have an IEP-stated that if this ever happened he would never go to school again.

The school pushes for alternative school from time to time but difficult child refuses that too. He's reasoning for both of the above is that he does not want people treating him differently.

I have offered to get him a tutor-nope he can do it on his own (but he's not)

He used to have a "guided" study hall. A teacher headed the study hall and was involved in hounding him and helping him get his assignments completed. I think its the only reason he got through middle school. Budget cuts made this program disappear. Now he's in a high school that has block scheduling-longer classes that don't meet everyday. Consequently, he has a 70 minute study hall once a week. I think it really hurts him not to have a study hall every day.

I feel like I have tried everything too. I find that if I push too hard I get absolutely nothing. His great escape is sleep.

But yet he has dreams of going to college too. He's quite capable of this if he could just get it together.

by the way how does your difficult child cope with her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Mine has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) too. For the most part my difficult child's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is controlled with medication but he does have his quirks. Sometimes they do affect his work. At times he's a perfectionist-particularly with art work. He has a metal's class as an elective. The teacher has commented several times "he's a perfectionist". Sometimes this hurts his grades because if doesn't like the way something looks-he won't finish it. or he'll ask for different materials because something wasn't quite right with what he was given. He's also been known to spend (waste in my opinion)time re-doing things that don't need to be redone. For example, he will spend hours rewriting all of his notes for a class or reorganizing all of his notebooks instead of doing the assignments. He's not like this all of the time. I think the majority of the time his grades suffer because of lack of motivation-which he has admitted himself.

Sorry I have no advice. Just sympathy.

My difficult child graduated by the hair of her chinny chin chin last June. She, too, could not wait to get away from mean old me, and go on to university life.

As if.

The hardest thing I had to do was let her suffer the natural consequences. And even I was unaware of to what degree she was causing her own problems (i.e., sneaking out all night, and then being too tired to pay attention in school the next day). The best she could do was attend the local community college, but she would have none of that, because that meant she would have to stay with me. So I watched in horror as she moved in with her pathetic unemployed boyfriend the day she turned 18.

Now she is 19, still supporting him, and has no further aspirations to go to school. It pains me so. But it is not under my roof anymore. That may sound uncaring, but what I mean to say is, I don't see it anymore. It is not in my face every day. She and I actually get along alright, as long as I do not drill her on her life ambitions.

I had to let go. It really sucked, but I had to.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

I'm sure you've had your eyes open the entire time. However, difficult child is of that age where she "WILL" make her decisions her way. AND she will dig in her heels with the least bit of encouragement or consequence from you or DEX.

In other words, there's no winning here. It will be up to difficult child to get motivated. You can support her, give her help in the way of tutoring, & provide rewards if you think that's appropriate. However, in the long run, difficult child will have to do the work; make the decision to do her schoolwork & apply herself.



Former desparate mom
Busy, I don't think there is much you can do if she out and out refuses to follow through. So her plan A didn't work. Does she have a Plan B?
She does want to go to college. Maybe she should talk to a senior in high school and what they had to go through to get into college. Maybe a freshman in college could share the challenges.
In the end if she does poorly, she won't have as many choices for college but she will have to stay behind and work or go to the local community college until she can find some direction. You really can't force her. All you can do is give consequences.


I agree with Linda and Fran. My easy child is the same age as your daughter and I'm dealing with much of the same thing. When he doesn't have junior status next year and has to double up on some courses...such as science and social studies...and miss a study hall and electives in order to try to graduate on time, he'll realize that mom does know a thing or two about what she's talking about. I've done the consequences, I've done the talking, I've done it all. It's up to him to want to do. I can't make him at this age and I can't, and won't, do it for him.

It's different in high school. They have to have certain classes and a certain number of credits to graduate. If they fail those classes, they will have to take them or they will not graduate. It's not like middle school where they just keep moving them along regardless. My son didn't pass 7th or 8th grade, but they kept moving him to the next grade anyway, even though I asked them not to. The school said it was too traumatic for children to be held back. Sigh...


New Member
sarah ended grade 10 with-a 1.2 GPA. she spent grade 11 being homeschooled with-two on campus classes (american sign & physics)... grade 11 2.8 GPA. a tremendous turn around. she then transferred to the adult HS for two semesters.....end of semester she had a 3.6 & she will finish up her last semester next monday....graduation on wednesday. she now qualifies for the 75% state scholarship & will get the full ride once she finishes her 75 hours of community service ~~~ being done at the library.

you may have to devise your own alternative setting for difficult child. like online homeschooling or an adult HS setting. at sarah's adult HS they complete a full year's curriculum in one semester......this is allowing sarah to graduate on time with-her old HS peers.

yes, i stood over her shoulder when whe homeschooled & kept in close contact with-instructors. she's enjoyed the adult HS setting.....much looser thna in traditional HS. they can start at 16, but are treated like adults. no permission slips & no report cards home. kids sink or swim on their own merit. (yes, i kept track of grades because she showed me her papers...she waas/is so proud of how well she has done.)

the other nice thing is they can attend adult HS until they are 100...or have enough credits to graduate. sarah's had a number of *older adult* who came back to get their diploma.

sadly this year is probably a wash for her....even with-summer school depending on how many classes she's failed but next year is a new slate.



My son has little to no organizational skills. He has a daily "coach" at school that is suppose to help him stay on track (part of his IEP). When coach is doing her job, difficult child's grades are good. I can tell almost immediately when coach lets her guard down, e.g., homework doesn't get in backpack, assignments do not get turned in, etc.

Sometimes learning disabilities do not show up until a student is older. Has the sd done a psychoeducational evaluation within the last 2 - 3 yrs?

I hate school issues. Not real big on "teenagers" at this point in time either. lol


my difficult child 2 is also in danger of "failing" 10th grade. I have to say, the school has certainly been proactive in working with us so I have no complaints about them. First she was on a 504 plan, then an IEP, trying to keep her in school with extra help. Now she is being "home-tutored" for the rest of the school year. She just came out of a week's stay at the adolescent psychiatric unit of our hospital. She has a dissociative disorder and her anxiety was over the top. She really did well at psychiatric hospital. She thrived in the structure, the groups, etc. She felt accepted by the other kids and the staff. She would like to attend a private school in our town that seems to be a good alternative for kids who don't fit into the regular public school but it is so expensive. difficult child 1 went there for a semester and liked it but she quit going--long story. Anyway, I am going to call the director to ask about scholarships and workstudy, both of which I hear are possibilities. The classes are very small, not much homework, lots of individual attention, and most of the kids go on to college.

My difficult child 2 has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies as well and she says this is part of her problem with doing work--takes her forever and has to be perfect, etc.

It is so frustrating, isn't it? I know she is smart, wants to go to college, etc. but can't seem to handle the school part of her life. I too have tried being very involved, leaving it totally up to her, etc. I do know that there is not a lot I can really do except try to provide a stable, loving environment and let her work through it. Her therapist and I are setting up a point system like she had in the hospital--she liked that. She will get points for each appointment and obligation that she meets each day and I will report how many points she gets to the therapist who is coming up with a "level" system. So, last night she got points for going to her tutoring but did not receive points for dance class because she was "too sick" to go. Another of our problems--many somatic complaints.

Okay, good luck--glad to hear of others' experiences in this area!!



Active Member
I sympathize with your situation. you want to help her, she needs help, things are in place and the only one not helping her is herself.

I wonder about the anxiety to the point of needing to call to come home. she may need something to calm her thru her day. does she have seperation anxiety?


Well-Known Member

I have a couple questions. What kind of accomodations, assistance, etc., does difficult child get on her IEP? And another, is it homework, classwork, tests, class participation, projects.....that are leading to her failing grades? Kids at your difficult child's age are generally lazy. Sure, there are some that are self-motivated with their "eyes on the prize", but for the most part you do have to keep on them to a degree.

Just wondering if there were particular areas that cause the failing grades. Since you have us an average, are all her grades really bad, or just certain subjects?

It's not abnormal for a child, especially one who has had difficulties in the past with home life, to wish for college and/or freedom. Perhaps it's reality check time. Ask difficult child to go online with you one evening. Ask her which college or university she would be interested in attending. Then, go on the school website and look up the admission pages. Look at the average SAT scores (did she take the PSATs this year?) for freshman students and the average grade point average in high school (I did this over Christmas break with easy child so she would know what she has to work for). Ask her if she is even close. Just give her something to think about without conflict or argument.

Then the next day ask her if she has thought about the fact that she wouldn't be able to get into the college of her choice with her current grades. Ask if she understands what the other options are. Part time community college with a fulltime job to pay for apartment?

Perhaps she can just think about it for a little while.

Confrontation does nothing - I know you know you that.

If she cannot handle the schoolwork without your involvement, perhaps you will have to become involved again. She may need you to guide her into an established/scheduled homework hour. If she doesn't have an hours worth of homework, she could do what she has then read or the two of you could spend the rest of time talking. Would it be reinforced at dad's house?

We still have homework time at my house. When easy child is not working, she's right there with us at the dining room table. If I left her alone, she would start it at 10 at night and then work until she fell asleep. I know that's typical teen stuff, but I try to help with the study habits and hope they truly become habits!

Wendy, difficult child has made a lot of progress over the last couple years. The fact that she has anxiety could have been the knowledge that you would find out about her grades or she could be feeling pressure at school.

Has she ever been tested for any lds?

Sorry this is so long, but I was trying to cover all the bases.



New Member
My easy child has struggled this yr

I found out it was trying to be with a different crowd. Her stress was coming from her being dishonest about what was really going on.

She was failing math and not even going to her computer class the last block. All the cool kids leave last block and she was testing out some new waters.

When everything came out in the open, she became my easy child again and her stress level dropped

I took away EVERYTHING until she brought her grades back up

I know they are all different and my easy child is a pleaser. Lucky for me an honest one. She couldn't handle the sneaking around and coming in like she had just gotten out of school. They were meeting at which ever house didn't have a parent home and logging on to myspace.

They are just floating around at your daughter's age trying to figure out who they are, maybe she is dealing with issues from girls at school.

The girls at school are EVIL! All your daughter has to do is say the wrong thing to the wrong person and she will never live it down.

It is so hard for them at school

Wendy ~ what made me think of my easy child was the numerous calls I have gotten at work to let her go home. She is in the bathroom crying on someone's cell, because of something some other girls have said or threatened to do. I have let her leave and I have made her stay, depends on the situation.



Well-Known Member
Thank you all for your responses. Sorry it took me so long to get back here. I will try to hit all the answers to your questions.

My difficult child is so sporadic with school work. She could get a 100% on a test one week and a 30% on a test in the same subject the next week. I think it depends on her mood. This makes it tough to know what to put in an IEP. We basically have very generic 'help' listed to allow for many options - I really do not have too many problems with the school staff. They have not kept me as informed as I would like, but that could be the age of difficult child and them trying to allow independence - as I am sure she is encouraging that.

Her grades are:
Geometry 66 (up from a 52)
Art 60 (down from 80)
Gym 60 (down from 64)
Science 58 (down from 69)
History 34 (down from 65)
English 89 (up from 71)
Spanish 23 (down from 45)
Last year Spanish was her best class in the high 80s range.

English has been a strange thing. On her 5 week report she had a 100% in English. She called me at work to tell me about her grades on her report and oral presentation (high 90s). It has been great to see her go through this English marking period and be proud of not only the grades, but the work itself. Strange, but good.

I think dex and I need to sit down with difficult child and just see what it is we can do to help her. If she says nothing (which she will) then she is once again on her own. I KNOW in my heart punishing this kid will just be a negative outcome.


Well-Known Member

you don't have to punish her to help her (although I do understnad that sometimes they look at help as punishment!). Since she's all over the place grade wise, she needs a focus. She would probably benefit from structure with her studies outside of school, and a very clear understanding that mom and dad are right there with her 100%. How would she respond if you sat down with her for 30 minutes a day and helped her study or assisted her with a writing assignment? What about contacting the guidance office and seeing if there is a senior that would be interested in tutoring a couple times a week. Maybe a mentoring relationship would be "incentive inspiring."

Please go and get online with her and look up the college info. It may open her eyes a little if she is so insistant on "getting outa here!!!!"

I think you and ex need to be careful that she doesn't view the talk as a confrontation. You know how sensative these teens can be!!! Good luck.