my parents keep hassling me about my grades

dear heather,

My parents expect too much from me. I’m an A student but this year I started at a new school in 9th grade and my grades have been falling back. My parents keep on hassling me and taking away all of my privileges. For example, today was my one year anniversary with my boyfriend and they didn’t even let me see him. They’re driving me crazy! My boyfriend is mad at me, my friends won’t talk to me anymore because they say I’ve turned into an outcast and I hate my parents. What should I do?

I’m sorry you are finding this year so difficult. You are not alone. It’s quite common for people to get lower grades in school when they are undergoing a “transitional” period like moving from elementary to middle school or, in your case, going from middle school to high school. What your parents (and you) probably don’t realize is that these downshifts in grades are usually temporary.Your folks are so used to seeing you making good grades that they are probably in panic-mode right now and may not know what else to do except to make you stay in and study. They might be surprised to know that getting involved in extracurricular activities and connecting with other students in new school environments have been shown to actually enhance student performance. But there is a balance that must be achieve between studying and social activities.

Since there is so much tension between you all right now and you are deadlocked in a struggle, you might try calling a truce. Sit down and talk to your parents about this head-on. If you take the initiative to say “Hey, I know there has been shift and I’m concerned about it, too. I want to figure out what to do about this,” they may approach the situation very differently. Think about it in advance and come up with a few things that might help you–like getting tutoring help or talking to a school counselor, who is used to helping students through this kind of transition. Once your parents see that you are actively working on the problem, they will likely loosen up.

take care,

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