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Failing grades

Posted by on Oct. 29, 2013 at 12:31 PM
  • 19 Replies

Hi group! I always love the advice I receive in StepMom Central, so here goes. 

Because of struggles with my stepadughter's attitude and bad study habits I've been going through disengagement for a year or so now. There are times where I've failed and gotten involved when I shouldn't but for the first 9-weeks of this school year I have been disengageed. Well, now report cards are home and my stepdaughter has a failing grade along with 2 C's. 

I was always an overachiever in school, so these grades are like fingernails on a chalk board to me. 

When I have been in charge of instructing on school work, her grades were typically good (always a struggle in math but NEVER failing). My first thought is, here it goes again because now more time is spent on one child and not the other. 

Do you have any advice, what should I do? Or just stay out of it? My stomach is just in knots. I've been told by the hubs to trust him and now the grades have fallen to the lowest in her school career (she's in 7th grade). 

Thank you!!!

by on Oct. 29, 2013 at 12:31 PM
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by Platinum Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 12:50 PM
So then trust your husband... Just remember not your child not your problem
by Gold Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM

If you don't have support from your DH and BM, stay back.  Education has to be important to her parents first and foremost.  Otherwise, any effort you make is lost. 

What are your SD's interests?  Does she have any ideas what she might want to do when she grows up?  You can talk to her about opportunity and how grades open doors.  Neither you nor her dad can get her into college.  BM can't either.  If she has any ambition that requires advanced education, she should be aware that her application begins with her first HS credit.  Admissions counselors pay very close attention to transcripts, and you don't get a do-over.  The best essays in the world and a high SAT score won't trump 3-4 years of grades that scream "under-achiever".  On that note, if she's needing help, make yourself available.  If she just doesn't care, that'll catch up with her eventually.

by on Oct. 29, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I agree with you both, but my skin just crawls about these grades. Tomorrow will be better. SD does have interests and activities but super lazy and will do anything NOT to actually work hard. I'm a journalist and this just drives me batty. I have taken her to tutors extensively and it's always worked but I couldn't do it forever. When DH takes charge it's a disaster. Education is the most important thing to me when raising children and I'm just sick. Plus I get to a place where I can't trust my husband with education decisions pertaining to my son. Just a hard thing, makes me want to run!

by Gold Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM
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You are your son's parent, so you have a much greater impact over his perception of school.  It'd be nice if your DH backed you up on all of it, but if he doesn't, you still have a great deal of leverage.

Life doesn't have to be fair between the two kids.  If your son sees what SD gets away with and is angered, it doesn't hurt to remind him that you're his mom, not hers.  Make his grades and study habits significant.  Impose consequences, and hold him accountable.  He may hate it, but it will pay off.  As unfortunate as it is that you were the only one making an effort for SD, you may have been rescuing more than helping. 

by on Oct. 29, 2013 at 5:28 PM
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Has Dad (or you all together) ever talked to your SD about her goals and dreams in life?  And what it takes to get there?  Personally, I'm with you in that unless a child has some serious learning disabilities, a C is just plain unacceptable. But not all kids are going to be straight A students even if they try hard.  That said, I think that it might be wise for someone to talk about how the world works--you work hard in school, get good grades, get into college or a vocational school, then you can be successful and support yourself.

You mentioned the word "lazy" a few times.  I wonder if it's really that or if there could be other components--like maybe she doesn't feel challenged?  Lots of bright kids seem lazy because the work is just so menial and tedious.  Or, maybe hormones are at play and she's depressed?  Or, maybe she just needs to fail a bit and turn it around for herself. Much better to get those grades and learn that lesson now than in HS when it really counts.

I can appreciate wanting to push her when you know what she really is capable of. But ultimately, if it's not important to your husband and her mother, you're just going to feel like you're beating your head against the wall. If I were in your shoes with my own child, I'd focus on him.  But I would also talk to DH because if this is an ongoing may be looking at a kid who will never move on, move out, and thrive. 

by Bronze Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM
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Repeat - Not your Kid, Not your Problem

If your step-daughter fails, it's not your problem.  

You might give your husband advice on how you've managed her in the past, but he's got to be the one who steps up and does it.  

by Kelly on Oct. 29, 2013 at 8:46 PM
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Keep staying back. He said to trust him. Do it and let him parent. Remember she's not yours, so how she turns out is no reflection on you. 

by Ruby Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 9:52 PM
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You know what? My dd is in 7th grade too and she is carrying around two C's also which is totally rare for her. She normally doesn't get below an 89 for a grade and I can usually tell where the issue was/is in that subject. It's always math. Really good grades and one really low test grade. But this six weeks she is struggling. I'm letting her navigate it though. I am having her study more and making her go after school for tutoring but other than that there isn't much more I can do. She won't get the reward at the end of the six weeks that she normally does for good grades. At some point they have to be responsible for their own grades and they have to want to do better. I've been told that this year is the biggest adjustment year and that I will see fluctuation in her grades. I'm trying not to panic over it because I am trying to let her take the reigns of her education. She knows what needs to be done. And she knows how to get it done. She just needs to do it.
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by Bronze Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM
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I hate this because I am in the same boat with SS16. I drove myself crazy for too long trying to get through to him and DH. And you know what came of it? Not much. So I had to go with "not my kid, not my problem" as much as I hated it. I made sure he knew that if he wanted help, all he had to do was ask.
by Platinum Member on Oct. 29, 2013 at 11:45 PM
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Not my kid not my problem!
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