So here we are… on the road back to a “new normal” for our daughter… and we hit a road block. That road block would be a mountain of make up high school homework. Of course, isn’t it always in the honors classes? The classes they expect you to push forward and work extra hard no matter what else is going on.
I am walking a tightrope. I want my daughter to succeed, but realize it will involve hard work. I fully understand she doesn’t want to work hard right now. I get that. As a parent should I just let her throw up her arms and give up? That just isn’t my style. I contacted all her teachers over the past weeks. Most have been incredibly understanding with regards to the makeup work since her friend’s death. But now she is falling even further behind and it seems the understanding feelings are waning. I don’t want to be an enabler for my child.
This is how I ended up on the tightrope. How much understanding from teachers is too much? I am asking her teachers to continue their understanding ways – even if they feel she should be ready to get back to “business as usual.” I am asking them to adjust late work policies and extend some deadlines. At the same time I don’t want my actions to be a crutch for her. I don’t want her sadness to be the reason for no accountability at school either. Then the only result is being behind in class all semester. The goal is get her caught up so the future work load can feel normal again… not overwhelming like it is now.
Is it possible for a 15 yr old to be sad and still function at school? Should I just back off and let what happens to the grades happen? A pragmatic part of me says yes. But the mother part of me says no. No because I know how smart she is. I want her to see that she is strong enough to function even while she is sad. And also to know it’s still okay to feel sad. To do this I need help from the school…. some trust that she is not using this situation as a scapegoat for responsibility/accountability . I want her heal while still functioning at the same time – to discover how strong she really is. Giving up and getting an F would not teach her that.
So here is the solution I think might work for my daughter and her teachers…. a meeting between the school counselor, student and teacher – NO mom. Create a concrete plan and time line for helping a good student and kid get caught up. Hopefully that isn’t too much to ask. Of course, there is a commitment from the student to work hard. Once she is caught up hopefully school feels more normal – not like a black hole of make up work from which she cannot escape. That black hole just exacerbates all the other difficult feelings she is experiencing.
Kids need tools to help them succeed. Sometimes the tools are simply laid out plans. All involved parties agree to the plan and then give it a try. If she can’t hold up her end of the agreement then give her the bad grade. Maybe summer school will be part of her future. At least then we can all say we tried our best – the parent, the student and the school.