pressure not to be excellent

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
pressure not to be excellent
14
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 2:48pm
I was browsing the boards and saw a comment about peer pressure not to be excellent. The comment struck a chord. We have been dealing with this throughout middle school in regard to grades. Our DD is 14 and will be going into highschool. She is very bright but has had terrible grades the past 2 yrs. I have tried both ends of the spectrum from punishment to positive support but the grades are just not that great. In conversations, she has mentioned not wanting to be too smart because of her friends. I have recently been stressing to her the importance of good grades in highschool starting from year 1. I have told her not to goof off thinking she will work hard at the end of highschool. Any way I know she can do well if she wants to. I am hoping when she starts highschool she will shift to a new group of friends that want good grades but I am not sure this will happen...it would not make her popular. Has anyone else had this experience? Have any ideas? She has always been one that tends to learn lessons the hard way...but this is one I do not want to let her learn like that. You can't really redo highschool and she wants to go to college.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:17pm
Grades are not the be-all and end-all of college admissions.

Socializing skills are important, perhaps as important as anything else a kid learns in HS except maybe typing.

Provided your kid is willing to take a circuitous route through college by way of, say, joining the Army first or some such thing, you *do* get do-overs on college admission. Adult students are welcome at *most* universities and the admission process is far less strict.

If you kid wants to stealth her smarts in favor of making friends and learning to manage relationships, that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesn't mean she stops learning altogether.

Firefly

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Tue, 06-03-2003 - 3:23pm
Hello,

As I see it you now have the summer to have her "discover for herself" the value of an education. What I mean is to slyly point out things that people have learned while in school. Like make something and discuss the math involved. Have her see you learning something new and fun.

Have her set GOALS. After the goals then the steps to get there. Find a "motivator" for her such as a pizza party with friends, or whatever she is into.

One thing I don't think kids GET until they are old like us is that these friends in highschool go their own ways. They don't understand that they a building a foundation for their future. My dd goes to school mostly for the social aspect. Very rarely does she bring homework home and if she does it's usually folded up in her pocket. Book bags "are a thing of the past".

Because I read alot and take notes of what I have read (survival or I'll forget) me children think I am smart. They say that I probably only dated computer nerds in school. I haven't pointed out that I married their father who was far from a computer nerd, I like that they think I'm smart!! :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 12:55am
Peer groups and the school environment as a whole seems to really control whether kids think being smart is "cool" or not.

My DD (also 14) has always attended a small, private school where grades were basically the coin of the realm - too much so, actually. You were actually looked down on if you didn't excel academically to the point that there were frequently discussions about the class "brains" flaunting their talents too much. My DD, now at the beginning of her teen years, thinks that guys will like her more if she's smart, LOL, so she's been brainwashed the other way.

Anyway, my point is that the peer group your DD spends her time with and the school she goes to count a lot for how she views academic success. If its possible to send her to a more academically-focused HS, perhaps you could look into that. If that's not possible, see if she can get involved with some groups outside school (for example, over the summer) where she could meet some new kids. Community service groups or volunteering in a local museum/zoo/aquarium could expose her to other kids that might be more academically inclined than her current group.

Personally, I think the HS she goes to will in great part be the deciding factor, so if her going to a more academically-focused school is a real option for you, I would definitely look into it.

Wishing you all the best.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 9:17pm
mary1kid has a great idea with joining the local museum or zoo to volunteer. It would helpshow dd what she can achieve with a good education.

For once, I have to disagree with phirefly. While social skills and connections are very important at this stage, they are not the be all and end all.

NO ONE WILL GIVE DD TODAY AGAIN. She must take her chance while she has it and get the best grades she can. When I was at school I did just what she is doing and I kick myself daily for it. I let my grades slide and dropped out far too early. Although I did go back later and get some qualifications I didn't get very far because I hadn't learned "how to study", and found it really hard.

See if she can do her study, "on the sly", out of sight of her classmates. They don't have to know her grades if she doesn't want them to. (Teachers might help out by making a phony report card for her to show the kids).

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 9:57pm
First, I would like to say that I doubt your DD is really concerned about being too smart and having her friends make fun of her. I think it's more likely she's using that as an excuse, because you're looking for an answer from her as to why she's not doing better, and she probably doesn't have a better one. She may not really understand why herself. That said, I also think there can be too much emphasis placed on grades as a measure of success. Grades are important. But extracurricular interests are equally important. Along with academic skills, participation in sports, music, theater, clubs, etc. provide kids with important social and coping skills they will need to be successful adults. Each child is different, and will respond positively to a different definition of achievement. I have found that with my kids, when the grades became personally important to them (usually not until senior year or even college) then they kicked in and kicked butt! Good luck!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 10:56pm
I am guessing what you said is partly true because I brought up that particular comment yesterday and she vehemently denies saying any such thing. (In other words she forgot about it). She probably has many reasons for not doing better. She was selected by her teachers for some character programs in school this year(kind of a peer counselor type thing), as well as being involved with cheerleading at our YMCA. She is very social and well liked. I just really hope she meets her full potential. She says she wants to go to college and I know it would be a lot easier if she does well in school.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 11:01pm
Well she certainly is doing quite a bit of social development. LOL Thanks for pointing out that there are other ways to get where you want to be in life.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 11:08pm
We are going to motivate her during her freshman year like this.For every D on the report card she has to wait 1 extra month to drive. Every F adds 2 extra months. Some parents I have mentioned this to think it is too lenient but I think it will work because she can't wait to drive. As for dicovering the value of education... we are working on it. She went to careers camp last summer at the local college. This summer I plan on simply noticing the many aspects of life that are affected by our education.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 11:12pm
Unfortunately we have few options for school. She can go to the public highschool, the small private highschool( don't know about tuition) or she can homeschool. I think we will try the public school first. I am hoping maybe her group of friends will change. She knows quite a few older kids and most of them are motivated to do well in school.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 11:17pm
Thanks for the input. I have been trying to get her to see the big picture. She says she understands , so we shall see.

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