I think I made a big mistake - can I change the rules now?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
I think I made a big mistake - can I change the rules now?
23
Fri, 11-12-2010 - 2:46pm

At the beginning of the school year, I told my son (16/junior in HS) that it was time for him to learn to take responsibility for his own future, and that I would no longer be rewarding or punishing him for good or poor grades. I told him his own reward should be his having pride in doing his best and helping to get into a good college; his own punishment would be possibly having a harder time getting into college and paying higher insurance rates, etc. I should add that, in the past, I have expected A's and B's from him and told him to come to me or his teachers if he needed help in achieving that. He was occasionally grounded from the computer or given money, depending on his grade reports.

So....looking back now, I'm not sure he's mature enough to handle this new change. His grades are the worst they've ever been. I tried explaining that poor grades were going to come back to haunt him, that he might have to attend summer school, which could interfere with a summer job, etc. I haven't kept a close eye on his grades (last year I checked weekly online and sat down with him to talk about them). I've just looked every couple of weeks or so. I've talked to his teachers and told him what they said he needs to do to improve. I'm not seeing any changes.

I was hoping to let go of some of the stress that this has brought me in the past by "letting go" and letting him make his own mistakes and learn from them. But it feels like it's backfiring on me now. Do I need to go back and tell him that, since I care about him so much, I have to step back in and constantly monitor him again and ground him or some other consequences coming from me if he doesn't turn around? My husband says no, keep doing what we're doing.

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Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997

That's the year I significantly stepped back too, with the same results (worst of all 4 years) - the good thing was it was humbling for him to have to talk about why they were pretty low jr year when he did his college essay, and then by sr year he was more back to 'normal' grade-wise and was eager for college (and getting out of HS).

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Has he gotten his 1st report card y et? (Our h.s. give out quarterly reports and also progress reports about 1/2 way through the quarter.)

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003

I don't think there is anything wrong with saying that hindsight is 20/20 and you are going to start buckling down on him.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2010

Of course you can change the rules, and if your ds is going downhill, by all means help him get back on track. I've come to realize that even at this point in the game, kids still need varying levels of parental involvement when it comes to grades/school. I thought my middle ds who will be 17 next month would be fine at his dad's (1200 miles away) because he is smart etc. Last week he officially dropped out of HS. Dad just wasn't on board at all. It sounds like your ds still needs you to be there to some degree, so yes, change

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999

Well, we're about half way through the first semester of junior year, so he has 3 1/2 semesters left to figure it out, because you're not going to be able to monitor his grades and stay on him about them when he gets to college.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009

I never monitored my kids' marks when they were in high school. I never rewarded or punished them because of their marks. I never and still don't buy marks. I have no idea what my kids' marks are/were.

Before people start jumping up and down that i was an poor mother, I probably knew more as to what my kids were learning in school than many other moms.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-1999

The sad stories are those parents who have lost their children.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

Let's face it--a child who is organized, self-motivated and ambitious, has been that way from the get-go.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-1999

I think there is a middle ground in all of this.

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