Honors Student's Grades Slip

An expert recommends encouragement and appreciation for a child's continued efforts as a student, despite her slipping grades.
My daughter is in 10th grade and is taking all honors level classes. She has never brought home more than one B on her report card and it has always been in math. However, she received 4 B's and two A's on her first report card as a sophomore. I realize this is not the end of the world, but I feel I need to do something as I feel her commitment is lacking. She has the potential to achieve all A's or close to it. Please offer some advice and/or some suggested reading. Thanks in advance.
My advice is to continue to offer her encouragement and appreciation for her efforts as a student, while showing her that you understand how difficult it must be, at times, to maintain her honors level coursework, her social life and her extracurricular activities. I would not tell her that you are disappointed in her or that you know that she should be getting all A's.

Ask her how she feels about her grades this term. More importantly, ask her opinion of the courses themselves -- are they challenging and well taught, etc. Which courses are her favorites? Why? In the course of open-ended, non-judgmental discussions like this, her assessment of her grades and what she thinks she'll have to put forth academically will probably surface. If you indicate that poor grades are problems to be worked on rather than "the end of the world," she will be far more encouraged to think about how to improve them.

Remember that she will probably bring home a variety of grades throughout her high school career. How you respond to them and to her will have a significant effect on her school achievement. Paying attention to other parts of her life will let her know that you view her as much more than just a kid who should be getting all A's. She should never be made to feel that she is valued only if she always lives up to your sense of her academic potential. Thanks for writing.

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

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