My daughter just turned 16. We’ve been struggling with her grades for two years. I got her newest report card & she’s still sitting on 3 F’s. She’s got zero desire to study even though we’ve offered help from 4 adults, private tutoring, tutoring from us & her older sister ( she’s a straight-A student ). We’re trying to get her to practice driving, but she has zero motivation to do that even after her father bought her a car. She’s got no motivation to do anything that she doesn’t want to do. I’m at a loss because she’s 16, and she has no plan, no motivation to do anything other than talking to her online friends. She doesn’t want to hear anything from us, especially if it differs from what her online friends say. I’m worried she’s not going to graduate; I’m worried she’s not going to be able to cope with adult life. I’m worried for her. I’ve dragged her out of her room to do things, making her put job applications in. I finally told her yesterday I’m no longer putting the extra effort in to worry about her grades. If she doesn’t care, then why should I? I told her she needs to get a part-time job b/c if she isn’t going to do anything else, she can at least work on social skills & saving money because she’s going to need it later. My question is, how would you all approach this? What would your plan be to get your teenager moving & motivated? I should also add she does have bipolar as well. She’s been on medication that is doing great for her mood & sleep, etc.
Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How do I approach my teens bad grades?
I would have never bought her a car… she’s gonna think everything’s gonna be handed to her. You need to take away all electronics and don’t let her online till her grades come up!
a job will not help her graduate or improve her grades so if you do make her get a job don’t blame her if she doesn’t graduate. her job is school
I have Asperger’s syndrome and ADD and this describes me to a point at that age. Medication helped with my focus and motivated me to get schoolwork done. I was bullied and it really took a toll on me. Take the electronics away as well as whatever privileges she might get on her own time. She’ll get bored and she’ll work to get it all back. As far as driving, just because she’s old enough doesn’t necessarily mean she’s ready. I was terrified to be behind the wheel until I was almost 18. Pushing her to get a job is a little harsh. Don’t make her feel like that’s all she’ll be good for. Be her cheerleader and tell her that you’ll be in her corner no matter how hard it gets or how much she wants to give up. I wish I had that more than anything. I needed support and I didn’t get it.
I can’t believe you would buy her a car.
Talk to her and ask what is the matter…how could you help her…communicate and Listen to her.
Maybe she’s being bullied at school and doesn’t want to tell anyone. Or she feels it’s a trigger and overwhelming Is there an option for online learning . Public school is a one for all and some students just do better with a curriculum more suited to them. Online gives more flexibility and options for this . Maybe Ask her if she’d at least be willing to give it a try .
My daughter felt the same. Then she went to the Alternative School and became a star.
I would start by limiting her online time and chances to be influenced by these so called friends. I would stop taking her anywhere besides school, doctors, etc. The car would not be used but earned. You are the parent so allot time for her to sit down at the table to do her work and even sit with her if you have to until it’s done. Hold her accountable.
I think the job can be a double edged sword. An idea could be to require her to volunteer her time at a breadline for homeless or maybe an animal shelter. Helping others seems to reward the person doing the help as well and may give her a new perspective at least in one area. Maybe that will jump start some motivation.
I assume you pay her phone bill, which she is using to avoid responsibilities. I would be grounding her and taking her phone. Be a parent.
She could have depression in with the bipolar. Make sure she isn’t misdiagnosed, because becoming distant and isolating herself could be more than just bipolar. I would make sure it’s not disassociative disorder. Good luck, sending positive vibes and blessings to you.
Take her phone/tv/iPads/gaming systems.
You’ll see something change. Kids these days can’t live without their phone. Don’t make it an argument or stress, just take them and be patient. When the grades go up, she gets them back
I think you should get her in therapy and it’s probably time to revisit the medication to see if they’re really working. I will probably cut the internet for a month. Do homework together and volunteer community service together. Try to introduce her to different settings to help her define what she enjoys.
Cut off the access to online friends and actually make her earn things instead of handing them to her. Bet that will motivate her.
Sounds like me when I was younger. I also have Bipolar Disorder. It was depression hiding. Get that checked asap!! It might be depression. The medication for Bipolar is not depression meds…even tho some of them help with it. Its better to be on 2 different meds to help with each issue. That might help! A lot.
Id talk to her dr maybe she needs a med adjustment. Id take away her talking to her friends until her hw’s done.
Change the wifi password if you have too.
I would sell the car and take away the internet so she wouldn’t talk to her friends. Time to use some tough love since you say she is doing great on her medication!!
Sounds like depression…
As a person with bipolar…take her to therapy. I would her stuff away til you, her and therapist can figure something out. I have many months of this. Disciplining a child with bipolar is not the same as other kids.
I grounded my 38 yr old in jr high for 6 wks for bringing home a B, she was an A student. I told her the As proved she was smart, the B showed she didnt do her best. Last B she brought home. You NEVER reward neg behavior because it reinforces it.
Maybe don’t compare your children? Each is different with their own skills and talents. Maybe she hasn’t found hers yet. It sounds like a medication adjustment could be made. Either dosage or just something different. I am also bipolar and struggle daily with motivation. Sometimes a simple adjustment of meds can work wonders. I’m sorry she’s hurting/struggling. It can be heartbreaking to watch.
You are the parent you need rules that you can stick by as for electronics but make sure you are always gentle
So take some time with her. You of all people should know what gets her. Like what is she really into, what has she said in the past about her future? What college would best fit for what she likes. Set up a tour and spend the weekend there. I have 4 teens. My oldest boy I forced into community college cause your not living at home if your not in school. My oldest daughter has been just like yours maybe more of a hand full. She is now in GED program and is doing good. And though it’s taking her forever she said something the other day and I have instilled it in all the kiddos, she came home and was excited A little but upset as well. She had passed her reading and failed her math, she said momma it’s ok cause I’m just going to keep doing it until I get it. So my little advise is maybe giver her something to actually see.
The pandemic has caused everybody psychological distress honestly
The best advice I can give you is to make sure she’s keeping her binders organized. I had a different binder for each class, with dividers. All my finished work got hole punched and put into the binder behind the dividers( helped me keep up with the things ive already turned in) and leaving the front pocket of each binder for homework and unfinished work, so when she gets home she can open each binder and if there’s something I the pocket it needs to be done.I would definitely consult her doctor or therapist, even though the medication helps with sleep and mood swings it could be causing depression. If she brings her phone to school, I wouldn’t allow that until the grades come up. And I wouldn’t allow her to have the phone until she showed me her competed homework everyday. Taking it completely away as some suggested may cause a lot of resentment possibly even put her through a more depressive episode, as that is her way of being social and possibly stimulation (alot of people with mental health issue need stimulation to function properly speaking from personal experience) and just make sure to be as involved with her school work as possible. My mom wasn’t very involved so I went a few years failing all my classes, before I met my french teacher and she taught me how to organize my binders like that, and it was so helpful. Don’t forget to just ask her how you can help her, communicate.
I’d tell her to get a job. No education people still need to earn money.
She needs a medication change… Sounds like depression
Get rid of the phone! Stop buying her things! You are enabling this child!
Take her phone.you work on homework an you get phone for no work no play
Why does she have a car?
I have one main rule, If you don’t do what you have to do, you don’t get to do what you want.
So, I’d sell the car. Get rid of her phone and any other device she has. Then I’d change the WIFI password just in case.
She can’t be bothered to do what’s required, she doesn’t go anywhere. She isn’t watching TV. No gaming consoles. Take it all.
Until she gets her head outta her butt, she doesn’t need any of it.
As for her working… Yes. If she wants money for anything, she has to now earn it.
I’d personally got her in therapy, weekly. Make plans, a schedule. Some ppl need that bc they simply don’t function well without it.
She has to know, she isn’t libing at home for life. If she plans to leave, she has to get it together.
This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but cut her off.
Yes, it may be depression/anxiety and she may need to have her medications adjusted, but it doesn’t matter if she is a minor child or not, you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. I say this because I put my teen daughter in therapy at about that age for depression/anxiety. As soon as she turned 18, she quit going.
So, what I would suggest is cutting her off. You want her to grow up and be prepared to be an adult, STOP DOING EVERYTHING FOR HER! She’s flunking school, so y’all buy her a car?!? No. She’s flunking school, so you cut everything off. Even the internet. Change the WiFi password and have her sit in the kitchen, at the table, if she needs to use the computer for school work. She doesn’t wanna do it, let her repeat her grade. While all of her friends are moving on and heading for graduation, she can repeat her grade. She doesn’t wanna clean her room? Then while she’s at school, you clean it for her… with trash bags. And when she wants her stuff back, you make her earn it back.
Yes, she is still technically a child, but she’s so close to being an adult that when she actually becomes an adult, she’s gonna face plant. She wants to act like a little kid, treat her like one.
I believe you know your daughter best. The question is do you think she need more mental help (therapist, different meds?) Or do you think it’s normal teenage rebellion? Does she find joy in doing things she wants? Definitely no car. That’s a huge responsibility and if she can’t keep up with school work then no car. I feel like you want her to have goals to look forward to. Did you ask her does she have any? Maybe driving or getting a car isn’t her goal right now. I’d suggest enforcing how important school is before distracting her with a job. She needs rules and chores besides school. 3 F’s how did it come to that? Did you talk to the teachers? Is she cutting? Missing assignments? Or with some effort still failing? Friends? Who are they? Is she hanging around ppl influencing bad behavior? Friends are the most influential ppl for our kids. I’m reading a book right now called hold onto your kids. So far it’s a good book to consider. Is she in an sports? After school activities? Maybe not able to with bad grades but ask her if she’s interested. Take the phone during bedtime. Set limits with the phone. I would not take it completely away from her bc that could cause suicidal thoughts. A teenager who feels like they’re losing everything will have dire consequences. To this kids now a days these phones are everything. I’d definitely limit it and as she gets better grades allow more access slowly. Good luck.
Take her back to the Dr and maybe therapy. Anti depressants among other meds can do that. Maybe it’s an issue with dosage or one of the medications.
She’s 16 take her phone cp iPad all electronics until she brings it up to a passing grade. Little by little give them back
Does she go to a therapist/counselor if not do so immediately.
Medicate the disorder.
Don’t push driving.
Take the car don’t take the car is irrelevant honestly.
She needs to know you are with her not against her bipolar is tough to maneuver.
Oh and stop comparing her to her straight A sister
My son was the same way about school. Not because he had behavior issues but because he wasn’t interested in normal school learning. So I put him in a trade school that had stuff he was actually interested in learning. Now he is excelling and is going to graduate this year
I would say her medication isn’t working properly or needs to be adjusted. I would discuss this in a family session with the the counselor. She sounds like she’s on a low down swing. Please consult with a mental health professional.
Enabling her is not going to give her motivation its only giving her an entitlement complex.
Ground her. Take the car away. It is a privilege.
Has she been evaluated for depression?
Work an pay for your own things, let her see what happen when the Party is over, meaning the material things.
Her mental health may be a big factor so I would definitely discuss it with her Dr,but I would also let my daughter know that is unacceptable under my roof. If she does not want to do her work or do anything except use social media then social media will be gone for awhile. She could also just be consumed in the internet and just sucked in too far. The internet and social media is definitely an addiction these days and can affect everyday life unfortunately.
Sometimes school clicks later in life for some. My kids did much better in university than high school. All you can do is encourage and hope a light comes on one day.
Sounds like she is a programmed robot. Let her alone
Its not working great… take her back
Get her evaluated for depression.
I have two nieces. The youngest is very bright and enjoys going to school. She is not A student but medium high like B or B+. The oldest doesn’t like to study and is used to skip school and stuff like that. She is now doing a course, and it’s working part-time (almost full-time). Maybe she can look into some work opportunities for school leavers. However, it’s important for her to complete at least the high school years. Otherwise, she may need to do manual jobs or something like that. If she is into beauty, culinary, or something else, She can look into those courses. Ar least if she is not working, she should be contributing to the house somehow. If she leaves school now. Sooner or later is going to have consequences. It would be better for her to get into work or enrol in some apprenticeship courses that give you some qualifications and flexibility.
Definitely go back to the doctor. Also I’d ask her to talk to her on line friends just out of curiosity on her part on what their grades are like, what do they want to do when done with school,what kind of job will they get to be able to support themselves, do they want their own house or apartment and do their parents get upset when they are failing classes. Maybe finding some of this might make her think about the future. Is she having trouble reading, seeing , how’s her diet. All matters. Constent nagging her is just gonna push her away even more. Comparing her to her sister is a big red flag. Find what she’s good at and enjoys. Spend fun time with her often with no talking about grades or anything your worried about. Establish communication where she’s free to tell you thing without repercussions.
Since she has Bipolar disorder, and is medicated, sometimes the lack of energy or ability to do anything could be A.) Depression B.) Too much medication (too high of a dose OR not enough)
C.) she could have other underlying issues like ADHD, ODD.
Either way for all of the above I highly recommend therapy. She desperately needs it. And you need to go with her so that you can get tips from her therapist on the best course of action and support she needs.
Take all her electronics. If she wants them back, she needs to do better in school. That means she better be studying every night instead of messing around on the computer/phone.
I was the exact same at 16. But I didn’t have parents to tell me to smarten up. You’re her parent, not her friend. So parent her. No extra activities with friends until your grade come up. No cell phone or computer unless it’s for school work and that can be done at the kitchen table so you can’t talk to people instead of studying. Enforce that school is important. Don’t distract her with getting a job, all of her efforts need to be on school. After each week if she seems to be making progress, reward her. Take her for dinner, let her have her phone or computer for the day to do what she wants. Being too strict won’t help her but being too lenient won’t do anything good. Make sure she’s not in a depressive state of her bipolar and see about extra help for her mental health.
Maybe instead of focusing on her grades focus on her. Her mental health is obviously hurting and I’m sure she’s seeing you compare her to her sister. Just like you did in the post. Stop comparing your kids… Maybe try and help them.
It sounds like her bipolar is not controlled or over controlled. Definitely look at the mental health side of things first.
Giving up her on her is the last thing to do. People who have bipolar need support and love. I would def take her to the doctors and talk about her medication. Sounds to me like it isn’t working anymore. The first sign of depression is losing interest in things and not wanting to do anything. And isolating yourself from loved ones. I would definitely start with medicine. She’s probably been on the same thing for two years and most likely needs adjustment.
Therapy. She works for everything she wants other than basic needs and gifts. Car, phone, etc
I felt the same way with our one son and high school he also had a bipolar diagnosis. He graduated a semester early, after a lot of pushing. I was just happy to get him through. Honestly I didn’t care at all what his grades were I just wanted him to graduate and stay alive, we had a lot of depression and unaliving thoughts/issues/plans. Keeping him for harming himself was my biggest priority. He started community college learned some hard lessons of teachers not caring and if you don’t show up they will drop you. He ended up being about a 1 1/2 years behind his twin for graduating but in another semester he will be an RN. I would definitely get her a Med check cause it doesn’t sound like it’s working anymore for her.
Take the internet away! That’s a privilege the car can be sold and her things can be took. Until grades come up. U say she’s bi polar is she on her meds? Bi polar I am that as well without meds but I strive to do all I do every day. We can’t blame that on grades n not wanting to grow up
Take away the phone, computer and social media. I had to with my daughter at 12. I saw the changes it was making to her. Remember being 16? She is a child whether she likes it or not.
Age needs an evaluation from the school for learning disabilities.
Another for depression from a psychiatrist esp some one who specializes in adolescents. Then counseling
Never let her compare her to her sister
Sounds like a mental health issue. She might be feeling depressed. And please don’t use punishment like someone else said, that’s not going to help. She obviously needs support and love at this time, being a teenager is hard, in fact probably the hardest years of someone’s life. I’d focus on her before focusing on her schooling, then everything else will fall into place.
Maybe set her up with talk therapy and an anti depression medication
I was like this my senior year of high school and my mom was really rude to me about it all year. It turns out I had an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, and when I received treatment I bucked up.
Why was she given a car if she has F’s?
I am wondering if she needs to be evaluated again or if something has happened. Girls often get missed for other things, like adhd or autism because they don’t present the same. If you already know she’s bipolar, I’d address any other possibilities which might be holding her back. Depression and anxiety can also be comorbidities to adhd so sometimes just treating those doesn’t fix it. Best of luck.
You need to do something quick before she ends up like my 34 yr old brother who didn’t graduate HS, doesn’t have a license nor a job. He lives in my parents for free playing video games all day. Take away everything from her and tell her either do better in school or get your GED. FOLLOW THROUGH
The struggles of being a teen and competing with an older sibling to boot. Its hard but please don’t push too hard. It’s just a stressful age.
find out what she wants to do…
Who is the adult in this house? Take away the Internet put your foot down, tell them to do the work or go live with your friends who seem to have all the answers. Had issues with my own kids at that time same ish scenario, they all graduated.
When I was 16 my mom let me drop out of school, let me do anything I wanted . I wish I had a person to push me to do finish school.
YOU are the mother. I would Force her to do things to better her herself. Take away things , such as electronics. Make her earn things instead of just offering her . That’s just my opinion.
I would like to ask do you know her online friends? Are they confirmed to be who they say they are?
Take internet and phone privileges away until she puts forth a solid effort. My children aren’t at that age yet but if I had started acting like that you better believe my mother would’ve taken phone, internet, and any other privileges away until I made an effort. If you don’t change something now real life is gonna hit her hard, not everyone is meant to be a doctor or a lawyer but you have to make them learn to take care of themselves, because one day when we pass on they may only have themselves to stand on. It’s a sad thought but sounds like she needs to think about it, so throwing the towel in and giving up is not okay for her. Sometimes it takes tough love but one day she’ll be grateful she learned. You don’t need to be condescending or yelling or fighting with her but sit and talk to her about your concerns and find out what’s going on with her. If she needs help get her some help but even with that she has to get ready for the real world because once she’s out of the house it’ll be harder for her to learn then and people out there can be very unkind.
First of all stop comparing her to her sister or any other child because that will only result in her getting more distant and depressed. A person with issues like bipolar, anxiety, depression and other mental issues needs to be treated with love. She might be struggling inside because of her condition so pushing her and telling her she wouldn’t be able to do anything is gonna make the situation worse. Give her some time and appreciate any thing that she does. Try to be her friend so she can open up with you rather than her online friends. She might not be comfortable with talking to you because she thinks you are gonna judge her. Ask her what she wants to do in life or if she has any future plans for herself. I hope she gets better
I find that taking away their phone gives them lots of motivation to get school work done lol
If she’s not motivated to do anything it’s called depression she couldI have bipolar
Can limit time on the computer
You can help her with homework just don’t bring up that her sister is a straight a student
My sister had to cut her internet so her daughter can study, she stopped giving her money so she can look for a part time job, we call it tough love, she clearly explained why she did that to her, that only when her results are improving that is when she will help, and the results improved, she is now in uni…
I made my 16 year old daughter get a job.
Everything changed after she was receiving her own paycheck!
Her money was her money.
I also always said to buy a house. Do not rent.
She became a homeowner at the age of 21 years old!
I agree with a lot of comments on here. Take all electronics away and get her evaluated. My granddaughter is going thru the same issue. My son has had to make her quit dance and no phone and she is supposed to take horse riding lessons which she loves horses and is not letting her take the lessons until her grades come up
Get her tested for adhd
If she has bipolar, her meds may be helping but could also be a part of why she acts that way. Some meds help, but they… idk how to explain it but “suck the life force” out of you. They make everything dreary and grey. So yes whilst they help the big things like the mood swings, life is really only “tolerable” and it can still be really hard to do things. Honestly I would try to maybe find new meds that will help her bipolar and still give her some life.
You’re the parent get her off the internet. I’ve been through this and it will only get worse. Don’t do homework, don’t study, no motivation and you get her a car? No she needs privileges taken away. Nowhere in the parenting handbook does it say you need to provide these extras. Privileges are earned not just given.
I agree with the comments comparing her to her sister. I have a feeling you’ve said something along the lines of “why can’t you be like you straight A sister”. Not those words but I’m getting that feeling possibly. Could be wrong.
Sell the car. Change the wifi password. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. You can’t force her to do her school work but she surely shouldn’t be able to still have the luxuries provided such as the freedom to chat with her friends whom are likely a poor influence
She’s sounds depressed, I’d start with seeing a doctor
All of these answers just show your age, how about instead of isolating her and making her feel worse then she probably already does ask her how she’s feeling it could be depression or something could’ve happened to her that made her withdraw from wanting to do anything, when I was struggling with depression and anxiety I never wanted to do anything at all my grades went from being good to 0’s on pretty much everything because I just didn’t bother even doing the work let alone handing it in and the worst thing you could do is compare her to other kids, situations like these require a loving hand not a parent who wants to do nothing but abuse the power they’ve been given as a parent by going on these power trips taking everything away.
As much as you would like to help her, you mention that she suffers from Bipolar, it’s not easy having a child with this condition. It’s harder than some of us think, hence her not being motivated. Is the medication perhaps doing this because sounds more depressed than disobedient. Just be firm, find out what she does have interest in, do those little things with her.
Take her phone away until she finishes her homework.
Maybe she has ADHD. I did and that’s exactly how I was. I still do. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar
She could also have depression.
When my 16 year old son gets behind or his grades slip I find out from him or his teachers what he needs to do. Then we sit down and do it together. Whether that be studying, writing a paper, whatever. His only punishment is changing the wifi password bc he plays games with his friends so it works.
She’s not doing great if she has no motivation. Therapy and med adjustment
Take her to the doctor.
My 17 year old son is that way. He has a job pays for his own phone bill but recently he started failing school. But I don’t budge on my rules for school. Their grades drop below a C I take everything phones xboxes tv till they come up. You wouldn’t believe how fast he got his 2 Fs up after I took everything. 1 day. My son does have very bad ADHD but I feel like you can only blame meds for so long before you have to take responsibility. If she has bipolar it’s probably ly way harder than a child with ADHD and you should probably speak to her Dr. Good luck.
She may need to see a therapist. That’s were I would start.
Med adjustment for sure and take away her access to friends until she improves in school, or at least makes an effort.
My daughter struggled hard-core in our public high school. She was barely passing some classes, getting into trouble ect. She to has dealt with mental health issues. We did some intense in home therapy and worked close with our phych Dr with meds. Meds are constantly change due to her needs/where she us at the moment. We changed schools and now she goes to a charter school( Baxter academy). It was the best thing that could ever happen for her. Shes now ingaged at school. She’s making friends, wants to go to school, wants to do better and is now openingly talking about the future/school.
I strongly suggest talking with her and seeing if she’d be open to going to a different school and or online school. Sometimes being in the wrong environment only hurts them more.
The medication may be dragging her down even though mood wise she’s doing good, sit her down and tell her if she has no plan for life and doesn’t want to get better grades then she needs to get a job because u no longer will be supporting her like if she need stuff for her hair or clothes or money to buy something or go out put ur foot down that it isn’t gonna be a free ride if she is going to contribute to either getting good grades or getting a job to help her self
Take “online” away! No internet until you see an honest effort!
I think you need to have her evaluated for depression. That’s what it sounds like. Bipolar & depression tend to run hand in hand
Medication can be making her depressed. She isn’t doing great I would look at side effects of meds