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Why You Should Let Your Child Fail The Benefits of Natural Consequences

by James Lehman, MSW
Why You Should Let Your Child Fail The Benefits of Natural Consequences

Watching your child fail makes you feel helpless, angry and sad. You worry about everything from your child’s self-esteem and social development to their future success. James Lehman explains that while it’s natural for parents to worry about failure, there are times when it can be productive for kids—and a chance for them to change.

"Failure is an opportunity to get your child to look at himself."

Parents tell me all the time that they fear their child will fail in life. When I ask them what specifically they’re afraid of their child failing, usually it’s school-related—a certain subject, or perhaps a grade level. The thinking of most parents is, once you start failing in school, it’s hard to catch up. For many parents, it creates a crisis in the family when their child fails in a subject or gets bad grades. And I understand that.

I’d like to talk about the word “crisis” for a minute. It’s often stated that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.” I think that parents see the danger part very clearly in a crisis, but often they don’t see the opportunity: your child has the opportunity to learn an important lesson. The lesson might be about the true cost of cutting corners, what happens when he doesn’t do his best at something, or what the real consequences are for not being productive. It might be a chance for your child to learn the cost of misleading and lying to his parents about how much work he’s actually done or what grades he’s receiving. I think if your child misleads and he gets a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for his behavior and he should experience the discomfort of his choices.

Many of the parents I see are uncomfortable with this at first. Instead of allowing their child to fail, they try to get the teacher to change the grade. Believe me, if a parent is in the martyr role, they’re going to go up and fight for their child in school—and they’re going to believe they’re right. But sadly, what their child is going to learn is that they don’t have to take responsibility for their ineffective behavior—that somebody else is going to fight for them. Let me be clear: when you try to change the actions of people around your child so he won’t feel disappointed or upset, your child is not going to learn the lesson you imagine he’s going to learn. And not only that, he’s also not going to learn math, or science, or whatever it is he’s been avoiding. Worst of all, he’s not even going to learn to not be duplicitous in the future. What he is going to learn is that “It’s OK. If I screw up enough, Mom will take care of it.” Or “Dad has more power than the teacher, so he can take care of it.”

Once again we see the danger of your child thinking that power can solve his problems. When that conclusion is made, he learns that power can replace responsibility. In a healthier equation, schoolwork problems are dealt with by the child who gradually takes more responsibility in doing his homework. The power emanates from the responsibility-taking. But if a parent goes and fights with the school and gets the teacher to change the grade, then the power is coming from the wrong place. Your child is going to learn that power trumps responsibility. In fact, he will learn that the power of being manipulative and threatening is more valuable than actually being accountable and doing the work competently.

Many parents have reasons to justify their defense of their child. They may cite the unfairness of the school system, their child’s learning difficulties or behavioral problem, the principal’s attitude, or the prior history of their child at the school. I understand that those things can be very real. It’s easier to fight with the teacher than it is to fight with your child. It’s just that simple. And it’s easier to change the teacher—or even the school rules—than to get your child to change.

I think if your child didn’t do his homework, ignored a project that was due, or lied and misled you or his teacher, the fact remains that it’s his responsibility to experience the natural consequences of his actions. And the biggest consequence is that your child has failed. To me, this is not the end of the world, it’s a lesson, just like anything else designed to help him see that he’s not making the grade. Receiving a failing grade is a gauge of how he’s doing, and if he’s failed something, he needs to solve the problem responsibly.

A word about lying: another thing you should ask yourself is if your child is being dishonest or manipulative about his homework, what else is he being dishonest and manipulative about? And when he’s supposed to be studying after school, what is he really doing? This opens up other questions because we know if somebody is duplicitous in one area, that behavior can spread to other areas quickly. Failing a subject in school is one thing, sudden changes in performance across the board is another.

I believe if your child fails a subject or even fails the year, if you’re addressing the problem, you’re starting to solve it. It’s an opportunity to get your child to make some changes. Failure is an opportunity to get your child to look at himself. Part of parents’ sensitivity to this is that if their child fails, they feel like they’ve failed, too. So they’re hyper-sensitive to that, and I understand. It’s tough to be a parent who works hard and does the best he or she can, and then have your kids fail. You want to say, “What more can I do?” But the question really is, “What more can my child do?” It’s not “What am I not doing as a parent?” It’s “What is he not doing as a student?” That’s the right question to ask yourself.

The Benefits of Letting Your Child Feel Discomfort
I think when we talk about failure and what your child can learn from it, we’re really talking about the benefits of allowing your child to feel discomfort. And when I say discomfort, I mean worry, fear, disappointment, and the experience of having consequences for your actions. I think instinctively parents really don’t want their kids to feel uncomfortable about anything, even when they know that sometimes it’s beneficial for their child to pay a price for their choices. And so some parents will fight at the school, they will fight with other parents, they will fight with their kids. They will fight with anybody to claim their child’s right to never feel uncomfortable.

Somehow in our culture, protecting your child from discomfort—and the pain of disappointment—has become associated with effective parenting. The idea seems to be that if your child suffers any discomfort or the normal pain associated with growing up, there’s something you’re not doing as a parent. Personally, I think that’s a dangerous trap parents fall into. While I don’t think situations should be sought out where a child is uncomfortable, I do think if that child is uncomfortable because of some natural situation or consequence, you should not interfere.

Look at it this way: when a child is feeling upset, frustrated, angry or sad, they’re in a position to develop some important coping skills. The first thing they learn is to avoid similar situations. So if your child is called on in class to answer a homework question and he didn’t do it, he can learn to avoid that by doing his homework—not by having his mother tell the teacher not to call on him anymore because it makes him feel bad.

The other thing that happens is that your child builds up a tolerance for discomfort, an emotional callous, if you will, and I think that’s very valuable. Discomfort is such a part of our life, whether you’re squeezed into a subway car, waiting in line at the supermarket, or passed over for a promotion. Everyone experiences difficult things from time to time, which will make you uncomfortable and frustrated. It’s so important for your child to be able to learn how to manage those situations and to develop a tolerance for them. And make no mistake, if he doesn’t learn to tolerate discomfort, he’s going to be a very frustrated adolescent and adult.

So I advise parents to let your kid wait in line—don’t try to figure out how to cut ahead. When your child is starting to get frustrated, point it out. You can say, “Yeah, I know it’s frustrating to wait, but this is the way we have to do it.” Suggest a coping skill.

When you shield your child from discomfort, what he learns is that he should never have to feel anything unpleasant in life. He develops a false sense of entitlement. He learns that he doesn’t really have to be prepared in school, because his parents will complain to the teacher, who will stop calling on him or expecting his homework to be in on time. He learns that his parents will raise the tolerance for deviance. If his parents are successful, the teacher will tolerate less compliance from him because of his parents’ intervention. He learns to confront a problem with power rather than dealing with it through responsibility and acceptance.

How to Talk to Your Child about Failing: 3 Questions Parents Should Ask
Whether dealing with feelings of discomfort or feelings of failure, there are three simple questions parents can ask their child.

1. “What part did you play in this?”
That’s what you want your child to learn, because that’s all he can change. The lesson stems from there. Your child might say, “I don’t know what part I played, Dad.” You can respond by saying, “Well, let’s think about it. Where did you get off track? Where did things go wrong for you?” If your child doesn’t know, you can say, “Well, it seems to me you got off track when you didn’t have your homework ready when your teacher called on you. The part you played was not being prepared. And the solution to that is getting prepared.” Your child may agree with you, or he may try to offer some defense. But any defense that’s offered is not going to be legitimate as long as you’re speaking in the context of “What part did you play?” You just need to point out, “Well, it seems to me like you’re making an excuse for not having your homework done.” Or “Seems to me you’re blaming me for not having your homework done.” Or “It looks to me like you’re blaming your teacher for not having your homework done.”—whatever the case may be.

2. “What are you going to do differently next time?”
So it’s, “What are you going to do differently the next time when you have to do your homework?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time so that if your teacher calls on you, you won’t get embarrassed?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time to pass the test?” This is a big question in this conversation with your child, because it gets him to see other, healthier ways of responding to the problem.

3. “What did you learn from this?”
“What did you learn from being embarrassed when your teacher called on you?” “What did you learn from not passing the test?” Put the responsibility back on your child. If you take his responsibility over, it’s just going to become a power struggle. With all the problems that exist in education today, the last thing you need is to be in a power struggle with your child’s teacher.

Now you may say, “Well you don’t understand, my child’s teacher is different.” I do understand that. There are effective teachers and ineffective teachers. But let me ask you this: when is your child going to learn to deal with ineffective teachers? Where do you think your child is going to learn to deal with injustice? Part of learning—for everyone—involves feeling uncomfortable at times. Part of loving your child responsibly means that you need to let him feel discomfort, and even fail, as long as he’s learning how to be accountable for his actions in the process.

 


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James Lehman, MSW was a renowned child behavioral therapist who worked with struggling teens and children for three decades. He created the Total Transformation Program to help people parent more effectively. James' foremost goal was to help kids and to "empower parents."

READER'S COMMENTS

I completely agree with what you have said. But, what if your child doesn't care (or at least appears that he doesn't care) if he fails? My son can flunk a test or not complete an assignment, and he doesn't seem to feel any consequence for it-- even if we take away video games or other things or if the teacher makes him redo the assignment. Nothing, awards or punishements, seem to work.

Comment By : Dede

I hope someone responds to the comment by Dede because that is exactly the problem with my son. He couldn't care less; in fact, he seems proud when he "gets away with" not doing his work. The natural consequence of failure just seems to reinforce his attitude that it is stupid and pointless, so why bother? He is 16; I know that by the time he is 18 he will be very sorry he did so poorly in high school. But at 16, I know he doesn't really see it yet. He thinks he has all the time in the world to pull out of this. How do you reconcile natural consequences of failure with a child who is not mature enough for the failures to really bother him? I hope the folks at TTP respond to this, because I think it is a really common problem with teens.

Comment By : ChrisR

James, yet again, you've hit the nail squarely on its head! What a comprehensive, well written, concise and excellent article on the power of failure--and the positives that can come from it! As my son comes to the end of his school year where it seems easy to slack off, I know I'll be re-visiting your wise words. Thanks for the encouragement and reminder that our children's failures don't always equal our failures as parents. Sometimes it's just the process of growing up that we are observing and they are experiencing. We can empathize and redirect, but shouldn't sympathize and let them off the hook. It also helps to know that loving them through their difficulties doesn't mean making excuses for bad choices they've made. I know with my son he can be way harder on himself than I would be with him sometimes! Truth and grace. That's what your saying and that's truly the best way to go. Thanks again!

Comment By : twinny mommy

My Son is the same way... couldn't care less. It seems to be the Sons who have this attitude. Is it a boy thing? Somehow there's got to be a way to wake them up. He's been grounded numerous times throughout the school year, no video games no mp3 player etc etc etc. He seems uneffected by it. That's a shame.

Comment By : Angel

Please comment on Dede's situation. I find that by the age of 16 or 17 our children no longer care - so natural consequences are at the end of the road- I get that, but how do we help them at this age? I have taken EVERYTHING away and my son just doesn't care.

Comment By : Ann

Same problem here as Chris and Dede. I've done this. My 16 year old doesn't care. What makes it even worse is the "magical thinking". She honestly believes that even though she's failed just about every test she's ever taken and flunked whole grades, people at a particular university she wants to attend will fall over backwards to let her in. Of course, when she doesn't get in it will be everyone's fault but her own.

Comment By : Jill

I am allowing my daughter to suffer the consequences of failing in school and her continued use of drugs. Her coping mechanism to deal with everything is to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. She says, "smoking pot makes me calmer." Of course it makes her calmer, because she isn't coping with life and is using drugs to escape. She has been in a drug treatment program but continues to use. She is living with her father because she refuses to live with me and her stepfather. We have rules that she is not willing to abide by. Talk about experiencing hurt and frustration over her lack of responsibility and irresponsible behavior. We do not condone her drug use and her father's response to her drug use is, "Don't get caught with the drugs." I have to let go and let her fail and fall, and pray that one day she will make the right choices. I told her I will never give up on her; however, she needs to suffer the consequences of her behavior because she refuses to make any changes in her life. Although I feel she is much too young to make this decision about her future, she has left me with no other choice.

Comment By : Frustrated Mom

To whoever said it sounded like a 'boy thing'... I think it's more of a 16-year-old thing! I have a daughter that age who is very smart... smart enough that she has figured out how to do just enough to get by in most of her classes and activities. She will have missing assignments and failed tests, and almost always manage to pull out of the tailspin enough to get passing grades at the end of the semester. The one time she was NOT able to pull herself out of this hole, she had to miss a very important event because she had a failing grade on a report card. She cried bitterly over it for one day, and then it was history, and she didn't really make any changes in her behaviour. If anyone knows a way to turn on that switch that switch that makes them care about doing what is good for them rather than what feels important to them at a particular time, please let me know! I have yet to find a consequence that works!

Comment By : Stormy Lynn

I am a special eduation teacher and a parent.I have dealt with my own son and someone else's son regarding becoming a responsible individual. I had a difficult struggle in both situations because my mother and the parents of a former student thought I was being cruel and indifferent even though I tried to explain the same very ideals brought up in the article. My mother made excuses for my son's behavior. She would often intervene when I made rules and tried to get him to behave. He is sitll trying to make the adjustment into adulthood. When he was under my roof I insisted we all get counseling to try all deal with our issues.This behavior affects the entire family. No it wasn't my Mom's fault either -I just felt undermined often. Also in the long run this hurt my son because he doesn't make the best choices still because he knows his Grandmother will rescue him. My former student will be going to high school next year and I worry about his future because he has always been allowed to make very little effort. I have suggested therapy to both individuals because I think this type of behavior is the result of not only ineffective parenting but some type of trauma too. I think this isthe case for these two at least. For the lady whose daughter is abusing drugs and alcohol, I think this may be your daughters problem also. She should be forced into counseling and possibly the hospital. She will eventually end up there if she doesn't stop abusing her mind and body.Just my opinion though.

Comment By : Lord help us all

Frustrated Mom... I would not let her live with another parent who tolerates her breaking the law. You may have no option if she is an old enough teenager that she gets a say in this... and if that's the case I'm so sorry. But you might be able to fight the situation and get her back home if you can show that she's in a dangerous or unsupervised situation. A friend of mine had a similar situation. She not only took away all of the child's electronics and toys, she literally cleaned out her room except for a mattress on the floor with pillows and linens. She rearranged her schedule and lined up friends and family so that her child was dropped off at school in the morning, picked up after school every afternoon, and supervised every moment of every day. The child skipped classes to take drugs, so she had her child transferred to an alternative "boot camp" type of school where you empty your pockets when you arrive and are watched all day long. After 3 weeks of that, the child went back to 'regular' school and did not skip classes. The child tried sneaking out at night once to meet friends, so they put an alarm on the doors that sounded if they were opened and only the mom knew the code. After a month of lockdown, they gave her back a few small things, one at a time. As she improved, they told her she could invite friends over and they made them welcome (rented a movie, provided snacks, etc.) and gave them some space to relax (mom went upstairs and read so kids could have the downstairs mostly to themselves, but mom walked through now and then to 'get a drink of water' or something). Slow progress, still definitely a work in progress... but they're getting back on track!

Comment By : Stormy Lynn

* Dear ‘Dede’ and others who responded:

You ask a good question here, and it is clearly one that a lot of other EP readers can relate to! In this article James is addressing parents who find themselves in the “martyr role”; the need to rescue their children from any difficult situation.

What you are asking is slightly different, though. You are asking about how to make your child care. What should we do if the natural consequences seem to have no effect on our child? This is a really tough question, and one that we get a lot on the Support Line this time of year. The short answer is that you can’t *make* your child care. We can’t make another person feel a certain way. Your child might not care about school. ‘Stormy Lynn’ makes a really good point here that sometimes kids ARE motivated, but they are motivated to do what they feel like doing at the time instead of what they should be doing.

Sometimes because children are so short-sighted, natural consequences are scarier to us than they are to them. Don’t focus on that. Instead try to focus on what is motivating to your child; use consequences and privileges to motivate your child to make better choices. Here is a great EP article that addresses the struggle for parents when kids just don’t seem to care about consequences -- this article also gives many helpful suggestions. Additionally, read this article on motivating underachievers and this one on children and teens failing school. These articles address some of the other issues that have been raised. Please feel free to give us a call at the support line to talk about how to work with the Total Transformation Tools for your specific situation. Remember what James says: "Even though you can lead a horse to water, you can’t make it drink, but you can make it thirsty; so the work isn’t ‘how do I make him drink’ but instead ‘how do I make him thirsty?’"

Comment By : Becky, Parental Support Line Advisor

I once watched my 7 year old boy race down a path on his scooter to then fall off. I rushed to help him but he said he wanted to go again. He was tearful and angry. He went again and again fell off. The third time he did it and succeeded. I was amazed and dumb struck that he could have done this when I was ready to say stop and leave it but he carried on. Failing is also learning and when we stop thinking of it as failing then it all changes to the positive. My little boy amazed me that day. He just wouldn't give up until he got it. From a very proud father.

Comment By : Simon Jordan

The way that I had my son improve his grades this year, were to tell him that if gets the grades the first quarter of this year, that he did last year, I would remove him from his private school, and put him in a public school. He did not want to change schools, so he brought up all of his grades. Parents tend to think it is our obligation to pay big tuitions for our children to get a better education. If the child is not doing his part, this is a luxury he or she is not entitled to. I was tired of the lying that the homework was done at school, and having to moniter this all the time. He needed to take the responsibility on himself for his grades. Well it worked this year, lets see now how it works in college??????? Do we threaten to make them pay for their own education in college....probably.

Comment By : Lorrie

This is my 10 year old to a T! Because he is still so young, I work closely with his teacher. The main lesson I'm teaching him is, just because you don't do your assignment on time doesn't mean you get out of it. Once I find out about a missing assignment (and the teacher updates me weekly) my son still has to do it, even if it's too late for credit and this usually has to be done over the weekend which eats into his "free" weekend time. I'm hoping the lesson sinks in before he hits middle school!

Comment By : crazy mom of three

nice article, i agree that if our kids care about the natural consequences well and good but what if they don't.sometimes they really do care at other time it does not matter to them.when this type of situation occurs as a parent i get totally frustrated.

Comment By : takeshi

Well I am going through this with my son who is grade nine. I wish I owned the TTP in the beginning of the year when I was thinking of getting it. I do the withholding like James says. No TV... NO computer..and NO phone..until homework is done. If he needs the jumpstart I'll give it to him...do the first question then he does the rest. If it takes 2 hours it takes 2 hours. But he knows he gets NO free time until its done. I use to feel sorry for him and his low self esteem and thought the teachers were picking on him. Well those days are long gone. I have all his teachers emails and if I have to email every week about what his homework is and assignments are do .. I will. I make sure my son knows he can not lie about schoolwork. I only started the TTP about a month ago. It has its ups and down....but no matter how hard your kid trys to break you down...DO NOT GIVE IN! Math assignment complete and effort put forth...then I give in with the reward of computer time.

Comment By : stillhope

Dear Dede and others who wish their kids cared, My son doesn't care if he fails either. I just had to find the right consequence at home. Being grounded until he can PROVE that he is caught up with his work is a good one at our house. He always tells me "I just turned that one in" or some such story. I MUST have PROOF. If the grade has not yet been posted online, then he must bring home a signed note from his teacher stating that the assignment has been turned in. No going out with friends until he does. We spent an entire week going round and round about an essay he claimed he finished and turned in at school. After an entire week of being grounded, he finally decided to "redo" the essay on Saturday. I did go ahead and let him go out after that, because he couldn't turn it in on the weekend, and he actually turned it in the next Monday! Woo Hoo!

Comment By : Jan in AZ

I have found that when consequences do not work, there is nothing left to do but back off. My daughter ran away and threatened to run away several times and that is what we do not want in this day and age. I never had the support of her father to reinforce lost priveleges and so she lives with him now, has dropped out, is attempting to get her GED and has hopes to go to a trade school. All the time I thought she wanted to be a veterinarian. She suffered from a friends suicide then made poor choices in friends, started hating church and so I actually have no other resources. I tried rewards, trips, dance camp, a horse! I can no longer hold offense as this keeps me from walking in love with the Lord. I highly recommend the Joyce Meyer Everyday Life Bible in the amplified edition and to try to keep yourself together iin prayer, which in reality is the only thing you are accountable for. Much Love. It will all be set straight someday.

Comment By : godliness

I need to ask a question. Of all those parents who say their child doesn't care about consequences how many can say at one point or another that their child loved school? As the father of a 7 yr old my daughter goes to a private, cooperative, humanistic school loves learning especially math and science is there from 8:30-3:15 and in aftercare most days till 6 and often doesn't want to leave. I am aware and feel blessed that the teachers, parents and staff can and do take the time to treat each child as a real person -K-8 max enrollment 85. Some of the "challenge" that is being expressed here is the usual hormonal/rebellion/testing limits stuff but I can't help but believe-based on my wife's and my school experiences and now my daughter's that much of what is being said is more a sad commentary on the general state of education and how it is delivered in most schools public or private. For suggestions for the courageous parents who wrote about their concerns I would suggest 3 things: 1) Read and then have them read The Dream Giver 2) Talk with them about THEIR DREAMS and help them see how learning is integral to them achieving it, 3) Read Failing Forward. James thank you for bucking the "normal" trend and presenting "failure" as a potential positive-something neither my wife nor I had growing up and to this day-51 years young- we continue to work with the negative effects of focusing on failure. Children learn what we model. My wife and I are constantly striving to learn and improve A Fabulous life coach that has been extremely helpful is Richard Flint. Combining James and Richard has produced significant positive change which is then enhanced by her schooling.

Comment By : Carl in PA

I am glad I am reading this now. My son is 9 and is already showing an irresponsible/not caring attitude. Thanks for the links to the other articles.

Comment By : TnTmom

I too hope someone responds to my concern. I have a 16 year old granddaughter who lives with me. It doesn't seem to bother her that she may not pass 10th grade. She mainly blames the teachers, "they are stupid", "nobody likes him or her", "she really doesn't know what she is talking about" or "she is just boring". She has had consequences for not doing her homework; however, she really doesn't seem to think it's a big deal. I spoke with each or her teachers several weeks ago to see what, if anything she could do to raise her failing grades to a minimal passing grade. They were very helpful. BUT when I explained it to my granddaughter she didn't seem very interested. I am concerned, but at the same time I feel I have done all that I can. I would appreciate any feedback on how to handle the situation in a way that doesn't cause a major blow up with her and her attitude.

Comment By : help in MN

* Dear ‘help in MN’: James Lehman, author of the Total Transformation program discusses kids who use ‘Anger with an Angle’ in Lesson 1. These kids use their anger to get you to ‘back off’ or to not approach them at all. They train others to avoid making them angry -- making you ‘walk on egg shells’ so you don’t upset them. Don’t allow your granddaughter’s attitude to stop you from setting appropriate limits and house rules. Structure a specific study time for homework, and keep the house quiet and free of distractions at that time. Don’t schedule study time right before bed because you want her to be able to earn privileges that evening if she has studied. If she will not spend time studying, she has lost privileges that evening but has the opportunity to try again the next day. Also, ask her to study in a public place, such as the kitchen table. James Lehman says that kids who have failing grades have lost the privilege of studying ‘wherever’ and ‘whenever’ they feel like it -- but they can earn that privilege back by bringing up their grades. Call us here on the Support Line and let us give you encouragement and even more ideas on using the techniques from the Total Transformation program.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

This article does not seem to address the child with a very real problem that the teacher/school will not help with, thereby causing the child to fail. In our case, I had to bring my son home and homeschool him to see where the disconnect was because the school was convinced he just wasn't focusing well enough. After two weeks of watching where he stopped working, I asked him what he was thinking when that happened (instead of just telling him to focus better) My diagnosed dysgraphic son told me when he does a math calculation in his head, he loses the answer before it gets onto the paper, but he can verbally tell me just fine. His IEP stated that he was supposed to answer the questions verbally, yet the teacher insisted he had to write on worksheets. Should I have let him fail? I think not. As a parent, you have to figure out whether it's the child not doing what he needs to, or not being able to do what is asked.

Comment By : KP

* Dear ‘KP’: James Lehman would agree with you that parents should request that learning difficulties be thoroughly assessed so there is a clear expectation of the student’s performance based on what the child is capable of doing. Sometimes you have to be a persistent advocate for your child before he receives the accommodations he needs. In this article James is talking about situations where a child is choosing not to do his work. All children need to do their part. James says that it’s your job and the teacher’s job to ‘teach’, but it’s the student’s job to ‘learn’. If a child did not spend adequate time and effort on his homework, ignored projects that were due, or lied and misled his parents or his teachers, and as a result he failed, it can be a wake up call to the child that their actions—or lack of actions—have real world consequences. He may no longer be able to attend classes with his classmates or may have to spend part of his summer in summer school. Failing can also be a catalyst for the parents, causing them to contact the school to determine what help is needed and what the school can offer. What James cautions here is if your child has failed, don’t go to any lengths to bail your kid out by trying to get the teacher to change a grade or give make-up work. If you do, one of the lessons your child will learn is that he is not personally responsible—that his failing is something the adults should be fixing for him. Thanks for your remarks. You brought up some important points to consider. We wish you and your son success as you continue your work together.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

I have tried all of this before. What about a kid who doesn't care about failing, continuously repeats behavior that leads to failure,doesn't believe as a parent I have the right to be concerned nor do I have the right to have any expectations whatsoever of him? There obviously is a problem with him not caring about anything anymore. He is 16 and feels he can do and come and go as he pleases. Up until abot a year ago I had done everything imagineable to assist him, rescue him, teach him. I finally wanted him to take some responsibilty and believed he finally was feeling the effects of his actions. Unfortunately, the failure just gave him a pass to accept it and have an "oh well" attitude. Now he has become insolent, rude, disrespectful, and downright mean. This is not my son. He wasn't like this. I am at a loss. He should be starting his senior year of high school, enjoying and experiencing all the wonders this age has, but at this rate he will ever see a college application, a senior retreat, prom, play senior baseball- nothing. He will have nothing. If you believe that repairing his outlook and esteem, bringing him back from the scary path he is on is as simple as following a few steps, I challenge you to try on him because nothing has worked so far. I am desperate and heartbroken.

Comment By : momslaw

* Dear ‘momslaw’: You’re right. It’s not a simple matter to make changes. Although the steps can be simple, implementing them can be hard. It can take time and repetition for new behaviors to set-in, especially if you are changing long-term habits. Teens often get the idea in their head that they are too old now to be told what to do. But they are wrong, of course. (Adults have to follow rules too.) Because of the way teens think, it can be pointless spending time to convince them to see things your way. Instead, just state your house rules. Don’t change the rules simply because your son is not happy with them. You might say, “I see that it’s frustrating for you. How can you help yourself pull this off?” You mentioned that until last year you were rescuing him. Sometimes we start rescuing our kids because we don’t want them to feel badly. It’s hard to bear it when our kids are distressed but that’s not a good reason to rescue them from the consequences of their choices. Plus we could be teaching our kids that ‘if you’re helpless, someone else will solve your problems’. Or worse, that you rescue them because you don’t believe they’re capable of doing things on their own. When it comes to school work, there are parts of it that a teen is completely responsible for and parts where parents play a role. The teen is in control of ‘learning the lessons’ and the parent controls the ‘structure’ around homework time. Don’t be influenced by his comments that you have no role in how he behaves around homework and don’t be discouraged that he ‘doesn’t care’. We all need to learn to do what we’re supposed to do--even if we don’t feel like it. Call us here on the Support Line. We’d be glad to continue to talk with you and give you more ideas on using the techniques in James Lehman’s Total Transformation Program.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

The issue I am having is that my son is a victim of domestic violence. Many of the behaviors he exhibits are that he witnessed by his father. I have tried all of the consequences, taking things that mean something to him. Nothing affects him. In March he saw his father after 10yrs. He was told that his father did not wish to see him or have contact with him-or his 11yr old sister. Then he spiraled out of control. The summer went by and he seemed to be doing better. He even started the school year off right. Then his father contacted him via Facebook a week after school started and he is a mess again. He has missed 8 days of school and is only allowed 18 for the year. And that is only the full year classes. This is his second year of the 11th grade. He has been in and out of counseling but I can't find someone that he is willing to work with. I am at a loss. And quite frankly sometimes it is easier to just "let things go" then get into a fight. He is bigger and stronger than me. He has even had what I believe close calls with getting into physical confrontations with me. I am exhausted.

Comment By : rothfan71

* Dear ‘rothfan71’: We’re sorry to hear that your family is going through this. It’s pretty tough on kids growing up in homes with domestic violence but it’s important not to excuse your son when he behaves inappropriately. Regardless of how tough it was for him, it’s not okay for your son to use intimidation and anger to manipulate you. Author of the Total Transformation Program, James Lehman, calls this using ‘Anger with an Angle.’ James says that these kids use their anger to get you to ‘back off’ or to not approach them at all. They train others to avoid making them angry—making you ‘walk on egg shells’ so you don’t upset them. But don’t allow your son’s attitude or intimidations stop you from setting appropriate limits and house rules. There are two articles that may be helpful for you: "Anger with an Angle": Is Your Child Using Anger to Control You? http://www.empoweringparents.com/Anger-with-an-Angle-Is-Your-Child-Using-Anger-to-Control-You.php and How to Give Kids Consequences That Work http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Give-Kids-Consequences-That-Work.php We thank you for your question and send our best wishes to your family.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

These comments are right on for my 9tyh grade son except that he is not failing, he is just not reaching his full potential. He is getting a few C's and we feel that privileges should be allowed when he gets all B's or better.. he loves XBox and we feel that if his test scores and homework scores are not at B level, then he should spend less time on the screen and more on school work. This is the first time we have held him accountable with B's. In junior high we were ok with C's. Should we monitor this and not allow screen or should we just tell him that if his grades drop below a certain point, then he losses privileges? He is in sports and he has to have a C average for sports..Are we pushing too much to hold him accountable at a B? He is very angry that we wont let him be responsible for himself and leave him alone. At what point do we just let him figure it out? I feel like we are micromanaging him and he might just shut down..yet, on the otherhand, I do not want to be intimidated by his anger when we take away privileges.

Comment By : mammak

Our son (age 17) is in similar situation as others described here. We are allowing him to make his own academic choices this year, and he is doing as little schoolwork as possible. I agree that teens cannot always care about the future, and parents suffer more at this point knowing that these teenage decisions will limit future choices. Our son may drop out at the end of this school year, knowing that he'll pass the GED easily. The natural consequences are not easy for parents to allow, but at 17, our son does understand that these are HIS choices and HIS consequences.

Comment By : Diane

* Dear ‘mammak’: You do want to ask your child to ‘do their best’. Whether for your son ‘doing his best’ means getting “C’s” or getting “B’s” should be determined by understanding his capabilities. If you’re having difficulties determining what level work to expect from him, ask his teachers for their assessments. If it is reasonable to expect him to get “C’s”, he’s doing his homework and maintaining a “C” average, there is no need to micro-manage his homework. James Lehman would say that he has figured out how to do his homework on his own. If he is not working up to his potential, set up a homework structure that requires him to spend time doing homework each day before he earn privileges. Read this article for information on how to structure homework: Homework Hell? Part II: 7 Real Techniques That Work . We hope this was helpful and invite you to keep in touch.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

Our adopted 24 yr old daughter is currently on welfare, had two children by different fathers, has a criminal record since high school and can't keep a job. She is extremely intelligent, maybe "too intelligent." We've been in and out of counseling most of her life. All of the comments sound just like what we've been through, and sad to say, nothing worked. Now-here comes our 2 1/2 yr old grandaughter, who is now living with us. Preschool tells us today that she is hitting and screaming. Here we go again.

Comment By : Frustrated Grandma

* Dear ‘Frustrated Grandma’: It sounds like your family has certainly been through a lot. It is not at all uncommon for 2 year olds to hit and scream, whether it’s directed towards adults and other children. James Lehman felt that children act out because they lack the skills it takes to solve their problems effectively. A 2 year-old quite likely lacks the skills to talk about and express frustration appropriately, or to verbally communicate with another child that she would like that toy back for example. I would like to refer you to an article by Dr. Joan Simeo Munson about aggression in young children. I think you will find it very helpful. Also, try not to assume that this behavior means that your grandchild is going down the same path as her mother—your granddaughter is so very young and needs help learning how to handle her anger. Try your best to take this one day at a time. We wish you the best.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

How about when you find out your child has not done numerous homework/papers for the last 9 weeks? He's been able to hide the assignments from us regardless of us trying to keep him on track. He also uses the "I did it at school and handed it in" story. He's even used the "After the teacher called you, she found my paper" story. I've learned that's all lies. So, when a teacher called me last week to let me knwo my son did not hand in any papers for the last 9 weeks, she also stated he'll still pass with a "C"! So he thinks why do them? Now I'm making him write the papers because I know, but how do you convince a teen that they should do school work even though the teachers will still pass them with an average grade? That sure has not helped me keeping him accountable.

Comment By : sick of the lies

I am in a similar situation, where my 12 year old daughter has not turned in work, slept through tests, and refused to participate in class. this has been going on since she was in the 2nd grade. I have (and continue to) remove 'rewards' and have also made sure she has a counselor to speak with over her anger issues; however, I am being repeatedly told (in front of her, no less) that my removing her tv/playstation/game/phone access is 'violating her private and personal rights to deal effectively with her anger.' and her school has passed her every year, against my objection that she should only pass if she has completed the standards required, which includes turning in homework and classroom participation. What do I do to instill natural consequences and a sense of personal responsibility if my every attempt seems compromised by the very ones demanding I teach and instill these same values? I can't allow her to keep passing and reinforcing the lessons that she can talk and slide out of responsibilities.

Comment By : learning through failures

* Dear ‘sick of the lies’: This definitely sounds like a frustrating situation. It sounds like a “C” is perfectly acceptable to your son, and that skipping out on doing his work is unacceptable to you. The hard part is you can’t convince your son to do the work, so to speak. It will not be effective for you to try to change his attitude about it—focus on the behavior, not the feelings, as James Lehman would say. It’s important to simply assert that whether his grade is fine or not, he is still responsible for doing his job as a student. Hold him accountable for doing the work anyway, as you already are. Break all this overdue work down into smaller pieces and have him work at it each day. Put his privileges on hold each day until he’s met his responsibilities. This article about homework will give you more ideas for setting up a daily structure around homework that might help you move forward from here. We wish you luck.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

* Dear ‘learning through failures’: It can be so difficult when you feel unsupported by those you typically look to for help and partnership. Different professionals and counselors often take differing approaches to challenging behavior issues, which can be frustrating and confusing. If natural consequences are simply not happening at school, then it is best for you to focus on what you can control. You cannot control what the school does or what the counselor says, but you can control your reactions and how you choose to parent your child at home. A sense of responsibility in a child is something that often takes time to develop and it comes from establishing a culture of accountability at home. I wish I had an easier answer for you. Hang in there and take care.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

Iam like the last couple of parents above. I have struggled with the school for many years, daily calls stating my son(1st grade and up) wasn't doing his writing assignments and was misbehaving. We ultimately changed schools. I went into the schools system for troubled families, took Boystown parenting classes, sent my son to psychologists and psychiatrists- who all assessed him and said there was nothing wrong with him. But yet the school psychologist who never met him said he was ADD. SO, we medicated him- against my better judgement- although it did help me better parent him as well. I was a single mom. About the middle of 4th grade, still daily phone calls for missing assignements and me standing on my son and taking away, vitually everything he loved, he showed me his report card adn said- apparently mom, you are the only one upset that I am not doing my homework- as you can see- the teacher is giving me B's. I won't say that I gave up, but I did stop stressing over their phone calls and told the teacher, if she gave me grades that reflected his lack of effort, then I would be more than happy to work with her in resolving this issue- adn was told, that as long as he shows his knowlege of the subject in the test, she can't fail him. Like I said, we have a new school with an old time teacher- and homework or missing assignments were never an issue again!

Comment By : Andrew\'s mom

I agree with the point of this article and have never done my daughter's homework or projects for her. I do however, constantly hound her to make sure she is studying and completing her assignments, which clearly creates friction. The difficulty in simply letting her fail and "feel the discomfort" is that she seems not to care if she fails. The only thing that motivates her to try at all is that I might not give her as much grief if she gets Bs & Cs as if she gets Cs, Ds & Fs. Clearly even that isn't working as her grades (and her effort) have consistently dropped over the last 3 years. She definitely lies about work being completed and making her show us the completed work always fails for 2 reasons: 1) We have two other children (ironically, both very responsible and self motivated) and busy lives and just don't check every night until we eventually realize we haven't checked anything in weeks. 2) Even when we are diligently checking against her assignment/planner, we have no idea if she is actually writing everything in there. Actually, its quite obvious she isn't, but what can we do? She is now in high school and it isn't her teacher's responsibility to make sure she is writing down and completing her assingments. The only things she cares about are her friends and her appearance. It is a struggle to get her to eat an appropriate healthy amount of food each day. We can't seem to get her into any extra curricular activities and don't want to force her for fear of giving her another reason to resent us. She is selecting the "cool" kids as her friends. By definition this does not include anyone who might be perceived as a good student (aka - a nerd). We are worried about her ultimate path in life, it seems to be mirroring that of my older sister who ended up running away, on drugs and has never able to hold a job. She is disrespectful and lazy and just sees my wife and I (especially me) as an annoyance. I don't expect or want to be her best friend, I'd just like to be able to say anything to her (especially something positive) without her saying "are you done?" or "can I go now?" She so desprately wants to get away and back to her texting and Facebook account that asking for 15 seconds of her time is seen as a horrible injustice. I can't remember the last conversation we had about anything that was longer than 1 minute and/or didn't end in a fight. I definitely lose my temper with her and can tell you that screaming at her (like I did this morning, simply because she was not ready for school and might miss the bus) isn't the answer and isn't going to make her want to talk to me. I'm just really stuggling to break my bad habits and regain her trust. She doesn't need to agree with me or even like me all the time, but she should not be afraid that I might blow up at something minor and feel that I'm always disappointed in her (which I'm not). For now I will continue to read these articles and redouble my efforts to implement behavior changes for myself and hope that it will rub off and create a more peaceful home and a more successful and happy teenager.

Comment By : worn out

Grounding doesn't work when they're bigger than you .... the reality is you can't keep them there unless they want to. We are having the issue of "not caring" too but I think it's that he does care and is afraid to fail if he tries so we'll just fail by not trying even though that doesn't make sense to me! I would also say there are appropriate times to fight for your kids at/with the school -- not getting grades changed necessarily but for help if it's needed and extra attention,etc. When a teacher says I have 100 students and I don't have time to email you about one that's struggling -- there's an issue!! praying for everyone on this list and myself! The book "Losing Control and Liking it" is great as well, looking forward to reading more on here too

Comment By : TimsArmyWifey

What about if is not a 16 yr old boy, My daughter is 10 and is failing in her school. She doesn't seem to care or understand the consequences of her actions. I was raised the old fashion way. I knew well since little you didn't talk back to a teacher let alone let your self fail. I was never good at math but i tried and manage to pass. My mother couldn't help me with my homework because she didn't speak English, yet I looked for ways and people to help me. My daughter waits till whoever is helping her get frustrated and gives her the answer at the end. I have tried tutors and even took her to special places to get help in school. Her teachers have given her so many one on one time but she doesn't care. She's not a bad girl. She behaves but in school is another story. Her problems are never disciplinary, they're always academically. Please help!

Comment By : Laura C.

* To Laura C.: It's hard to watch your child do poorly in school, especially when you have overcome your own academic struggles by yourself. We recommend talking with your daughter about her school performance, and what she can do to help herself do better in school. You will want to talk with her about specific things she is willing to try, such as talking with a teacher if she doesn’t understand an assignment, or working on her homework at the kitchen table each night. We also recommend giving her an incentive to try these new things. For example, if she states that she will work on her homework for an hour each night at the kitchen table, when she does that, she might earn a little extra TV time that night. It is going to be more effective for you to focus on changing certain behaviors, such as studying each night, than focusing on getting her to care about her schoolwork. I am including links to some articles I think you might find helpful: Sinking Fast at School: How to Help Your Child Stay Afloat & End the Nightly Homework Struggle 5 Homework Strategies that Work for Kids. Good luck to you and your daughter as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My child does very well in school, it is her negative personality and her emotional sensitivity that have me on guard most of the time. I am glad I read this article, and I am rethinking my approach with her. I am hoping that by letting her fail (allowing her to have an emotional breakdown over little things or miss out on enjoying something because of negativity) that she will eventually see that her approach can be changed and make her life a lot more rosy. I am at a crossroads where I feel like I have to decide between protecting her and protecting the mother/daughter relationship. In other words, I am realizing that my attempts to shift her towards a more positive perspective have stifled her and strained our relationship because she is only seeing that I want her to take my approach. Time to let the failing begin, I suppose. SIGH

Comment By : I really love my kids

My comment come from a very sadden heart. I don't know what to do. My 17 almost 18 year old daughter has decided that playing around in life is more important than school and the school lets her get away with it. Every time she gets in trouble of some sort she pulls up her grades and is on her best behavior for a few weeks and then wham back to sneaking around with the boys. Grades, attitude go to complete shit. Me and her step dad have asked her to stop with the boys and start worrying about school. We have had several meetings with the school and nothing gets done about. here we are 60 days before graduation and she is still failing, both me and her step dad beleive that the system has failed her by passing her along every year and not holding her accoutable. now it is to late. The school system is saying, "Just get her to graduation, you only have 60 then she will be done with school." Really that is not the point, the point is that the school system will be graduating a stupid child. My husband wants to pull her completely out of school, I don't necessarily agree with it and am totally torn on what to do. She doesn't care about school except for the play classes, TV producation class, and drama. All the core classes are so not important to her at all. I agree with the fact that I don't think that she has earned her high school dipolma at all. and that she should be held accountable. I am so physically sick right now I don't know what to do. Yes my husband is harder on her than I am. She has threatened so many times that as soon as she turns 18 she is moving out. She has no place to go. I am scared that if we pull her from school that she will run completly away and never come back and that I will loose her to the crappy society that is out there. I know she has to learn conseqences for her actions but dont know if pulling her from school is the best answer. My husband says that his heart and the guidence that he is seeking from God tells him otherwise. I will back my child 100% but cant back her bad decision making that she is making. she is making bad choices. We give and give and give and get totally shit on all over the place. Please someone help me!!!!! My in laws have asked my husband, why pull her out, why not just let her fail. We both (my and my husband) know that she will not fail because the school wont let her fail. :0(

Comment By : Very sad mom, not knowing what to do!!!!!!!!!!

* To 'Very sad mom, not knowing what to do': You are in a tough situation with your daughter right now. She is failing her classes, yet the school continues to pass her along and not hold her accountable. What might be helpful with your daughter is looking at what you can control, and figuring out what your main goal is. Is it getting her to care about her schoolwork, or having the school hold her accountable by not letting her graduate? Is it having her learn that actions have consequences? Removing your daughter from high school is unlikely to be effective in making her care more about her schoolwork, and could have additional consequences. You cannot control your daughter and her feelings about school, and although it is frustrating, you cannot control what the school decides to do about her behavior there. You do, however, have complete control over yourself, and how you choose to respond to your daughter’s actions. In addition to the problem solving discussed in this article, you can also hold her accountable for her behavior, such as sneaking around with boys, through giving effective consequences. I am including links to some articles I think you might find helpful: Throwing It All Away: When Good Kids Make Bad Choices & Is It an Adolescent Phase or Out-of-Control Behavior? Part II: 8 Ways to Manage Acting-out Kids. Good luck with you and your family as you work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My 16 yr old son currently has 3 F's and a D. His privledges were X-box, computer with internet, phone and spending the night with friends on non school nights....all in exchange for C's or better. This worked with him for 4 months, and then when grades came in they showed a D and he lost his internet connection (which was a "big deal" to him at the time, 2 months ago). Since getting another D, he then lost his X-box and the computer itself. He also hasn't been allowed to go to friends house. Hmmm... he absolutely didn't care. He doesn't care about the x-box, computer or internet. We had a discussion in which I pointed out to him that his grades are his responsibility and if he wanted any of these privledges back, then he had to prove he was doing his assignments and turning them in by having his grades written down by each teacher every Friday. He called me a b***h. That got his phone taken away for a week and only after a sincere apology, did it get returned. His grades have NOT improved and have gotten worse. I have had to watch him walk thru the door, get something to eat, and then proceed to watch television for HOURS, while he has F's and D's in school...because he DOESN'T CARE. I talked to my husband and asked him to have the phone turned off and to remove the remote controls to the t.v. and hide them. He was resistant because he didn't think that this would be effective, and I agreed with him, but was at a loss as to what else to do. Come to find out, my child is completely against the way our society is run. He is convinced that the world is going to end and that our current financial system will collapse...therefore, why does he need school, when he's not going to be able to get a job and function in our society. He is for the "barter" system (which is a valid point to me) and really thinks "non-conformist" (as I did at his age) and thinks the "American Dream" is for the birds. HOWEVER, he still has a job to do...and that is his school work. We tried to get through to him in his terms. Him doing his work (school work) is payment for his living expenses and privleges....a barter system. We just discussed with him tonight that we need to re-think the consequences he has been given, and to implement an incentive system. One in which, if he gets all C's and B's then he will earn $100.00, at the end of every semester. However, for every A he gets, then he earns an additional $10.00. For every D he gets, he looses $10.00. This means that if he got all D's, he would still get $30.00. Now I know that it seems like it's rewarding him for substandard work, but at this point, what else is going to motivate him to AT LEAST pass these classes? Of course, along with this "deal", we had a long discussion about work, and how it is necessary in the CURRENT society we have to work to provide for yourself. When you barter...you are still working. You must work to provide a product or service that someone else wants or needs and has something that you want or need as well. It all comes down to WORK, and right NOW, at home, his work is his schoolwork. We will see how it all pans out. It concerns me how worried he his about our current financial crisis/situation (in the nation). Unless, of course, this is just an excuse to not have to try. He may be afraid of failing, so if he doesn't try then thats better than trying and failing. We made a point to tell him that trying and failing is perfectly fine (unless, of course, you never learn from it and keep repeating), but to never try is unacceptable and not okay, and in itself is failure. Have no real idea if any of it will make a difference or not. His dad and I will be checking with the school by calling each teacher on Thursday for a call back about assignments on Friday. I dunno, we will see how it goes. Wish us luck.

Comment By : soultosoul

Its one thing to fail a test, but its another thing when they fail a grade. Some failures are life changing and letting them experience this is no better that doing nothing and watching them fail. Your advice is bad, and I'm being nice!

Comment By : m

What this does not address is WHY the child is failing. If they are failing because they did not do the work, and no one at school tells the parents the child is not doing the work, letting the child fail is useless. If the child is failing because the teacher changes the homework turn in basket location every week and your child doesn't know where to turn in his homework, yet when he asks the teacher will not tell him where the basket now is, then you need to step in with the teacher. For some kids, failing only makes a kid feel like a failure, so why bother trying.

Comment By : FredFred

I'm curious if you think the age of the child matters, especially with respect to homework. The homework for our 3rd and 1st grader is mind-numbingly boring but we are told that it is our job to make sure the kids do it. On top of that, they are supposed to complete reading logs and read at least 30 minutes per night. The school believes it is important to establish these habits early and so we have been making our kids do the work. But there would be no natural consequences in terms of school--they are already reading far above level and more advanced than the other kids in the class who can barely read. The homework is the "least-common denominator" work and I don't blame my kids for not wanting to be bothered with it. But I want them to develop these habits now so that when they do encounter challenging work in the upper grades, they have not coasted along for too long. So how do you square that with a natural consequences approach?

Comment By : BostonDad

* To BostonDad: You ask a great question. Sometimes the natural consequences of an action (or inaction) are not immediately applied, as with your children refusing to do homework. If your children refuse to do their homework now, the natural consequences of poor study skills may not take place until much later on in school. There are other, more immediate natural consequences however, such as the discomfort of knowing the assignment is not complete, or an unpleasant interaction with the teacher when explaining why the homework was not done. We recommend focusing on solving the problem of getting tasks accomplished, even though they may seem pointless or boring at the time. If your children are having a difficult time staying motivated to do the work, you can work with them on offering incentives at home for getting their homework complete. We find that with younger children, behavior charts can be very useful in helping kids to stay on track. You can find more information in the article Child Behavior Charts: How to Use Behavior Charts Effectively. Ultimately, it is your child’s responsibility to learn and get their work accomplished. James Lehman, in his article Homework Hell? Part I: How to Turn It Around, talks about how important it is to develop this study structure early on, and we are encouraged to hear that you are starting them off on the right foot for their future academic career. Thank you again for writing in, and we wish you and your family the best.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

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