Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Five Signs That Your Kids May Be Settling For Just Okay in School

Let me start out by saying that there's little I dislike more than those parents who unfairly and needlessly push their kids to excel beyond reason or their normal capabilities, apparently trying to live vicariously through the successes of their offspring.

These parents are pretty obvious most of the time. They demand the best teachers and coaches, the kids have no social life and their children can rarely do enough except to be perfect.

However, on the other hand, some children will have a tendency to just get by, do the bare minimums, live on their natural abilities but not be the best they can be. They get decent grades, receive general praise from their teachers but may not be working up to their abilities and thus will need a nudge, challenge or even ultimatum from mom and/or dad depending upon the circumstances.

So let me suggest five signs you might look for that could be indicators that your child or teen needs some encouragement and direction from you or someone to get moving again.

They rarely talk about school in a positive way. Sure, lots of kids when asked how their day went give the classic response, "Fine." But over time kids who are trying hard, working their tail off and sincerely trying to do their best will talk about their successes and/or struggles because they want to do better. If you never hear anything about school, especially on the positive side, check things out.

Their grades and accomplishments don't change much. They get the same marks, do the same kinds of projects and write similar kinds of papers. While they're not doing terribly, you never see much improvement in their writing, mathematical thinking, musical skills or athletic prowess.

Homework is an afterthought more than a priority. Yes, kids today love their phones, video games, music and all that. That's normal to a point. But if you rarely hear them talk about homework or they always say, I did it in school, I wouldn't buy that and would check with their teachers. Some kids can get by on talent but that's rarely enough. 

They don't dream as much or talk about their special goals. Maybe the older kids used to discuss being an engineer or doctor or starting their own construction business but now they have more of a whatever attitude. Or the younger ones, not yet thinking seriously about careers, still rarely talk about what they could be someday even if it's unrealistic.

They don't seem to think they excel in anything anymore. At one time they thought they were an up and coming musician, ballplayer, artist or Lego builder but now there's nothing that captures their attention or purpose. So they just get by doing the average, same old things they know they can do pretty well but that's about it.

If your son or daughter seems to exhibit three or more of these tendencies you might have a talk with them and/or their teacher, mentor, coach, etc. No, the answer isn't to put the hammer down and demand that they now become a superstar in something. 

Instead, help them think about some goals, begin to go after them and remind them why having a direction and desire to keep doing better matters in life.  If you sense there are underlying issues that aren't being addressed then pull in a quality counselor who can likely get to the root of their insecurity.

Remember: a little change now can lead to huge results later!

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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