Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing with the kiddo and his lack of motivation and dedication in school. In Layman’s terms, his grades suck! Historically he’s an “A” student, but has been bringing home “C’s” lately, and dad isn’t happy! Please don’t get me wrong. If he was having trouble with school, I wouldn’t be as pissed as I am. It’s the fact that he’s not turning in assignments and going to class unprepared that concerns me.
I grounded him after I saw his grades on the second grading period report card. His grades dropped an average of seven points each. I replaced his smart phone with a flip phone I had in a drawer. Even though his grades had dropped enough to have no phone, I didn’t want to punish myself by taking away the primary communication tool that I have with my kiddo. So the deal we made when I grounded him was to pull his grades up five points each. That wasn’t the entire amount that he allowed his grades to drop, but I thought it was something that was attainable. He had around nine weeks to improve his grades.
The kiddo brought his third nine weeks report card home last weekend. To my surprise, the grades had improved to what I was accustomed to seeing, except for one. His science grade had dropped another two points. He had earned a higher grade than even I expected in his advanced math class. We had agreed to five points and he brought it up eleven. I was extremely proud of him for the hard work, but he didn’t meet the standards we had agreed to previously. So his smart phone is still in my possession.
I think as parents, we should teach our kids that with any decision we make, there is an outcome. Some are pleasant, others are not. We should give our children the best advice we can give them and then let them make their own decisions. Like most pre-teens, his decisions will not be the greatest, but it will be a learning experience. I gave my kiddo sound advice about his grades, but ultimately the decision on what he did with that advice was all his. I told him if he studied hard and turned in all his assignments, his grades would reflect his hard work. His decision to not complete assignments in a timely manner produced an outcome that was less than desirable for him.
I spoke to his mom about the situation and she seemed to agree with me keeping his phone, until a few nights ago. She sent me a text basically asking me to reconsider my plan of action on his phone. I normally don’t post texts between the ex and me because I’ve always thought it might come back to haunt me. Hell, this time might come back and bite me in the ass, but I’m going for it anyway. Here is the text conversation between my ex and I after the kiddo received his report card.
The Ex: “I hope Im not overstepping my bounds here, but I feel like Con worked very hard 2 pull all those grades up like he did and 9 wks is a long time for a grounding. By chance would u consider allowing him 2 get his phone back @ his mid-term report if there is significant improvement to the science grade and the other grades haven’t dropped? I just dont wanna c him become discouraged and completely give up since he did work so hard for so long anticipating. Just suggesting not telling you what 2 do. I dont pay the bill so ultimately its ur decision. I just don’t wanna c his spirit broken”
Me: “I’ll think about it. I know he worked very hard to bring those grades up, and I’m super proud of him. I even game him a hat that I’ve been holding from him for his math grade. But It was him that wasn’t turning in his work that caused his grades to drop in the first place. If he didn’t have missing assignments in that class, I might have a different outlook. I just feel if I don’t follow through with my repercussions that I told him would happen, he will not continue to try and his grades will be in the dumps again. I feel like I need to stick to my guns on this.”
The Ex: “Like I said its ur decision so I understand. I just don’t wanna see him give up and I kinda heard a hint of that in his voice last night. Thats y I was suggesting possibly mid-term.”
Maybe I shouldn’t, but I find these texts someone what insulting. All three of us agreed upon the deal to earn better grades or he wouldn’t get his phone back. Granted, it was my idea, but when I asked for input, I received very little. I believe the response I received was that she had been too busy to look at my suggestions. However, when I explained to the kiddo what his punishment would be for his grades taking a nose dive, she agreed that it was a reasonable goal. Now I feel that she is trying to undermine, either intentionally or unintentionally, the precedent I’m trying to set here.
I’m not trying to be a douche at all, well maybe I am, but I feel we must set a good example for our children. We cannot as parents, tell our children something and then not follow through after we make that decision, because if we do, we have failed our child. I want my kiddo to know that when I say something, I mean it and I’ll follow through with my decisions. I believe that over time, my child will respect me and will know that I’m true to my word, whatever that word might entail.
Please don’t misread what I’m saying here. I’m not perfect. There are things in my past of which I’m not proud. I might disclose some of those things at a later time, but I assure you, my kiddo knows and understands that I’m not the person I used to be. I just try to be the best dad I can be and I hope he realizes that. I hope that he sees where I’ve been and how I have advanced to this point in my life and understands it’s all about personal growth and betterment.
Is there a point to all this? Yes there is! I want my child to be successful. If that means that I set my standards a little higher for him than some parents set for their children, so be it. I feel that teaching him that hard work, dedication and being true to your word pays dividends! If I teach him that now, he will be head and shoulders above his peers when he enters the real world. And because of that, I have no problem being a jerk!
P.S. I’ve added a poll concerning my dealings with the kiddo and the ex. Voice your opinion.