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Monday, 29 November 2010

Letter to a Teen who is Failing in School

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The Wrong Way

Dear Jon,
I don't know where to begin. I did so much to try to raise you well and give you the best of everything. I went to bat for you when your teachers didn't understand you,

I sent you to music and sports classes and you always had what you needed.

We know you're bright because you were tested at the age of eleven when we saw that you weren't performing up to potential.

Now you've finally gotten the chance to show your stuff, since you were accepted into a wonderful private school.

It is now the end of tenth grade and you're still getting by just barely. We've provided tutors, bought more books, offered incentives like rock concerts and everything else.

I don't know what it will take for you to understand that in order to succeed, you've got to do something too!

If they kick you out of this school, don't think you'll get a better deal somewhere else. At least where you are now they're willing to work with you and go along with your lateness, your eccentricities and the three earrings in your right nostril.

(Something that I, personally, think is disgusting and I'm sure I'm speaking for your dad, too.)

Just give us a hint, why don't you? Let us know what else has to be done to get through to you.


The Write Way

Dear Jon,
One thing I've always appreciated about you is your originality.

No matter what else you need help in, that's one area in which you excel!

Having said that, both your dad and I would like to make a few suggestions that we think will make your life easier.

We know that you want to succeed in school. Your teachers, you and we, your parents, all know that you have the potential to succeed.

So the mystery we have to solve together is: What will it take to make the leap from your potential, your talent, your intelligence and the faith we all have in you, to academic success?

Maybe instead of us lecturing to you, you should be the one to answer the question. If you could have your wishes fulfilled, what support would you ask from us, as your parents, and from your teachers? And, finally, what demands do you think you should place on yourself?

You're a really bright boy and we think that if you're involved in devising the battle plan to success, it has a really good chance of working.


Sample letters written by Toby Klein Greenwald, Editor-in-chief, WholeMom

Use at least several of the following principles when you write your letter:
Open with a positive statement. Don't use guilt as a tool. Be specific in stating what you think needs to be done. Offer your support. Don't attack. Invite your teen to dialogue with you. Conclude by expressing your faith in your teen's ability to overcome challenges.
Last modified on Sunday, 13 February 2011 13:47
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