Proud of myself


New Member
today we got an email that my high school age son is failing English. He already failed math and will need to retake it next year. I calmly informed him that he is failing English (he is well aware) and told him that if he doesn't fix it that he will not graduate on time and will not be academically eligible for sports next fall. Of course I want him to graduate, but I don't NEED him to graduate. I have my diploma and a job. I don't need him to graduate to be able to support myself, but he will need to graduate to help support himself. I was calm. I was factual and then I walked away. This is something I am working on. It's difficult for me to watch him waste his intelligence (he is very smart), but I'm not getting wrapped up in his issues.


Well-Known Member
I'd like to see the reaction on his face when his teachers tell him he might have to go to summer school to get caught up and graduate on time. I am so glad his teachers called this to your attention. Do you think not being eligible to play academic sports will be enough of a motivator to get his grades up?

Now, to the why part. Is he just going through a bored, apathetic, uninterested stage? Are his classes too advanced for his level? For example, is he in AP or college-age, but would do better in just the regular level classes? When did the change happen, and does he go through these stages every now and then?

Normally, kids are either strong in math or English--not both. So, if his grades are weak in both areas, I would recommend a tutor for the subject he truly does struggle with, and some moral support for the other class. It sounds like there is one class he needs help with. As for the other class, maybe it's just a matter of getting motivated, and the teacher making the material more interesting. Boredom is a GPA killer.


Well-Known Member
I think you did great. He can graduate on his timeline or not, but I would not allow him money, a cell phone, a car etc on your dime if he doesn't. Schools have study halls before and after schools for kids who really want to catch up. My daughter got through math this way and is getting through college. One more year. She wanted it bad, although she had such a bad learning disability that she could not read until eight.

Dont put money out. His teachers will help him if he is trying but sincerely cant do it. They dont charge. If he is just goofing off, nothing will help him.

If you cut off the Bank of Mom, he will have to graduate or be very bored. If my autistic son and Learning Disability (LD) daughter can not just graduate on time with good grades but thrive, why cant your son? Both of those kids struggled with average IQs but they did it. My daughter is about to enter the police academy. She has worked her tail off and had an almost full time job too. Your son is bright? Not disabled? He certainly can at least graduate with some sweat.

My guess is his effort is poor and perhaps drug use.

Stand strong. In the end it is best for both of you. If he is bright, he can graduate on time with catch up if he is willing to put in the effort. It just doesnt sound as if he cares. There lies the problem. He has to care.

You are doing an amazing job. And you are doing all you can do if son is not an eager participant.
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Well-Known Member
I'm retired now, but I used to teach at a continuation high school (kids from jail or kicked out of regular school). You could look at a student's transcript and tell when they discovered drugs (usually marijuana). Grades went from A's B's and C's to F's all of a sudden. Have his friends changed? His appearance?

Maybe you should strip his life down to the bare necessities and inform him anything beyond that is going to have to be earned. F's get you a bowl of cereal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwich for lunch, and a Lean Cuisine for dinner. No phone. No car. No wi-fi. No X-box. No money.

If he's a minor I think boundaries and detachment might work differently than if he were an adult.


Roll With It
I think you did very well. I do think you need to let him know that school is his job and if he is not doing well at it, his fun things are over. My children all knew that if they did not get good grades, they did not have a life, period. My youngest pretty much can do whatever he wants. He has his chores, but other than that he does as he pleases because he is a straight A student with almost perfect attendance. If his grades were to go down, he would find that he would lose all of his privileges. I would not buy the food he likes. I would not give him money for anything. I would monitor his comings and goings FAR more closely. He would have a curfew and it would be early. I would also monitor his homework.

He also would not have electronics in his room. None. Of course my son doesn't have a phone because he doesn't want to pay for one. He doesn't make many calls.

Do you have a set date that you will stop supporting him if he is not making serious progress toward his education? Have you told him that if he is blowing off school then he will have to move out when he turns 18, or at least he will have to pay rent and utilities and other things at your home? If you make him pay rent, be aware that you will have to legally evict him if you want him to leave your home. It can take 30 days or more unless he is a danger to you and you can get a restraining order. I know that is hard to think about, but if drugs are an issue, our kids can become very dangerous. If you use, you generally sell to support your habit and that brings other users to you, which brings danger to you and puts everyone around you in serious danger.