I have a 14 year old. Shes a great kid, never gets in "real" trouble, Loves all her classes and teachers. However...

She has 5 classes in high school, 4 out of 5 classes she does great in. She has all A's and B's in those classes. This one particular class she is struggling hard core. Not because she can't do it, but because she turns her work in late and gets half the grade, which in turn drops her grade extremely low.

We have been dealing with this since school has started this year and it is the only class that this occurs! I try to talk with her and understand why, the only "excuse" I ever get is because she does not finish it on time. This particular assignment is due the same time every week, Friday right when class starts.

I have tried grounding, I think she has been grounded since school has started (I feel like). Her grounding usually consists of all electronics are taken away (phone, tv, netflix, etc) She has her normal chores around the house. This is not working and I am at a lose.

I am struggling because I do not want to take a way her social life, she barely has one to begin with. She is not in sports, she does not go to parties, she does not stay with anyone. This is not because she is always grounded, this is because she has 2 "real" friends. Suggestions??? Thoughts???

  • Have you tried to get to the bottom of why it doesn't get done by Friday? Is it too much other stuff going on? Procrastination? It's too hard and she needs help? If we don't know why she isn't getting it done, it will be really hard to give any useful advice on how to fix it.
    – Becuzz
    Nov 30, 2017 at 21:01
  • I have asked her those questions, sorry, she never really gives a true answer. She gets offended if I try to talk to her about it. They are vocab words. I thought it was because this class was at the end of the day, but now it is in the middle of the day and she is still having the issue. She at first was embarrassed to talk to the teacher about it, but after a few emails with her teacher she was able to confront her. They had a great conversation, the teacher is very nice but strict. I have always had a rule about doing homework as soon as they get home from school. Does this help?
    – Imokia0812
    Nov 30, 2017 at 21:23
  • 1
    Does handing it in late perhaps change the way it is handled? ie does on time work involve or risk presenting in front of a class, and late not, or delay a test, or mean small group time with other tardy students she may like?
    – user26011
    Nov 30, 2017 at 21:58
  • I used to do this with classes I didn't consider worth it. If the material being studied didn't seem important to me or it seemed to easy, I would just ignore (almost pretending like it would go away). Does she consider the subject important or is she challenged by it? Nov 30, 2017 at 23:19
  • I think you need to reach out to the teacher too for some advice on getting a solution as she says she's struggling with it so find out what the issue is from the teacher's perspective. Has the teacher reached out to you about this pattern? If not then question why since that is their job to HELP their student and ignoring consistent negative academic patterns is not what a profession teacher should be doing. Make it the teacher's or the administration at the school's problem if you cannot figure it out since that's what their whole purpose if and they specialize in you know.
    – Facebook
    Dec 18, 2017 at 23:19

2 Answers 2


Sit down and watch her do it one week.

Whenever the work is initially assigned, let's say Monday, it comes home with her. Sit down that Monday and have her look it over and plan out when she'll do it. All Monday night? Part Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday? (And this may vary week to week, depending on assignment complexity, other work or activities, and so on.)

Then sit down each time she's going to be working on part of it. You don't need to be staring over her shoulder, just in the room so you're aware of whether she's doing it or not.

The purpose is only partly to make sure that it gets done, since you're reinforcing the need to not procrastinate (which she knows how to do, based on other work that does get done). You will also get a much clearer idea of why this particular course is such a struggle.

Maybe she doesn't understand the material, maybe the assignment instructions are incredibly hard to follow, maybe she just doesn't engage with the content, maybe the teacher is assigning too much work to realistically complete, maybe she is bad at time management and doesn't have enough time when she leaves it until Friday... Once you've got a better picture on which factor(s) are causing such a huge difference in behavior, you can help her constructively address the problem.

She may not even understand the reason herself, and so punishments for her failure are not helping change her behavior because she doesn't know what to change. So observe what's really going on when she's "working" on the assignment, share your constructive criticisms on how to improve her approach, and see if that makes a difference.

  • 1
    Absolutely this. I'd add that if it's a class which the parent/(s) doesn't understand the subject (say, Algebra), either the parent/(s) learns it too, or hires a good tutor and learns along with the child. I know it's a lot to ask, but punishing someone without understanding what they're going through is not effective. Nov 30, 2017 at 23:02

When I worked in a boarding school we had kids who would have one or two 'tough' subjects. We also had compulsory study hall for any kids with marks below 70. (Studying in your dorm was quite the carrot....)

Anyway, a teacher could flag a kid for a subject, and the duty master would tell him, "Math first" or whatever.

Try this:

"Hey, kid! Have an idea about X class. Let's try something. You get the assignment on Monday, right? Ok. Right after you finish the dishes (or whatever her evening chores are) you work on that one for 40 minutes here at the dining room table. I'll drop by see how you're doing, and help you if I can."

It may help to know what the assignments are like. If possible partition the assignment into logical chunks. So if it's an essay, you have * 'research your topic' -- goal 10 solid sources, and 30 significant notes. * 'Make an outline' and do your opening statement and conclusion. * 'First draft' Get it all down on paper/screen * 'Final copy' Polish it up, adjust the order, etc. Note that for this it really helps if she reads it out loud to someone.

This would mean if the assignment is given on Monday, it would be done Thursday night. Not a bunch of leaway.

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