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My Daughter Is Failing Her Courses. I Suspect I Know Why.

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Pricey Care and Feeding,

My 14-year-old daughter “Molly” is fairly anxious and has a tricky time making associates, so she’s actually near the buddies she does have.

One in all her associates, “Tim,” has been battling most cancers. He’s taken a depart of absence this yr to endure remedy because of the period of time he’d must be out of faculty. He’s anticipating to be finished with remedy by the beginning of the summer season, and he has tutors to assist him keep on the right track for persevering with faculty subsequent yr. My spouse and I are very pleased with how thoughtful and compassionate Molly has been with Tim. Molly has been crying so much and been typically very emotional at residence however is at all times there for Tim when he wants it and tries to not let a number of her worries present. We’ve gotten calls a number of occasions from Tim’s mother simply to inform me how great Molly is and the way comfortable she is that Molly and Tim are associates.

Nonetheless, I feel she’s going a bit too far. Molly’s grades are slipping dramatically—to the place she’s vulnerable to failing French and algebra—as a result of she’s spending sure class intervals on her telephone the entire time texting Tim, or she isn’t getting any schoolwork finished as a result of she’s spending the afternoons together with her different associates within the hospital or at Tim’s home visiting him or simply Facetiming him. I wish to restrict Molly’s visits in order that she’ll have time to deal with her schoolwork, however my spouse thinks that’s merciless. We’ve talked to Molly about preserving her grades up, however she simply dismisses us. I feel, having identified Tim for some years now, that Tim is a superb child, very considerate and type, and if he knew that Molly was throwing away her training to spend time with him, he’d be upset too. We’ve tried that angle with Molly as effectively; it hasn’t labored, and I don’t wish to intervene in my daughter’s friendships in that manner. How can we assist Molly by supporting her buddy whereas ensuring she prioritizes herself?

—Hate to Be the Dangerous Man, However…

Pricey Hate to Be the Dangerous Man,

I feel there are just a few various things you are able to do to string this needle. The primary is to name the varsity and see what choices Molly has if she does certainly fail these lessons (summer season faculty, unbiased research, and so on.) and whether or not there can be any extenuating circumstances they’d contemplate granting her. The second is to have a heart-to-heart with Tim’s mother the place you affirm unequivocally that you really want Molly to maintain supporting Tim by his remedy however that you just’re going to attempt somewhat course correction with Molly concerning faculty, and also you don’t need Tim to be damage or confused. Tread fastidiously right here—Tim’s issues are manner greater than algebra and also you don’t wish to give the incorrect impression, however you may study so much from Tim’s mother about what Tim wants and how one can regulate Molly’s time in a manner that isn’t detrimental. Maintain these conversations to your self—it may backfire if Molly feels you went behind her again on a fact-finding mission. That is only a manner so that you can be extra knowledgeable.

Then contain Molly in a collaborative dialog about how one can transfer ahead. The guide 14 Talks by Age 14 supplies an excellent formulation you may observe. On this dialog, underscore that Tim is allowed to be Molly’s precedence, however to not the detriment of all the pieces else. Additionally emphasize that you just don’t want her to be on the respect roll—you simply want her to move her lessons. The 14 Talks formulation will information you thru a dialog type the place she will be able to counsel methods to deal with the issue, and also you reply, ultimately attending to a spot the place you attain a consensus.

Quite a lot of this actually isn’t about algebra in any respect; it’s about serving to Molly study to make selections that align with each her morals and her wants. How can she present up for a buddy in a time of want whereas nonetheless caring for herself? It’s a state of affairs she is going to face many occasions in her grownup life. Should you and she will be able to maintain that purpose in thoughts, I hope you’ll discover a path ahead that everybody is comfy with. Good luck to you all and to Tim.


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My associate and I are dad and mom to a delicate, intelligent, and really extroverted 6-year-old. She has the occasional sleepover together with her godparents, Steve and Linda. They’re two childless associates of ours who adore and love our daughter very a lot. Our daughter at all times appears to have a incredible time. I’m grateful that they’re sharing their time together with her, as my associate and I don’t come from massive households and our daughter doesn’t have any native grandparents.