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Hi and welcome back to Coffee with Clare everything Thursday! I am so glad you are here today! 

Dear Clare:

My youngest daughter, Jenny, is 16 years old and is a junior in high school.  Up until about 4 – 5 months ago, she was a straight A student, had wonderful girlfriends and was in a photography club as well as a Spanish club.  Now, she has dropped out from these clubs, has started hanging around with some what I would call “undesirables”, and her grades are slipping.  We have put our oldest two children through college, and thankfully they both had partial scholarships. We are counting on Jenny to have a partial scholarship as well and financially need this.  My husband, Joey, and I are “banking” on Jenny getting a scholastic scholarship, but if things keep on, we are concerned this will not be a possibility.  We are concerned about her new ‘friends” as well as her dropping grades and disinterest in her clubs.  What can a mother do?

Signed – Frantic in Philly

 

Teenage Girl Looking Worried isolated on white background, sad teen close up

Dear Frantic:

I have often said when I was raising teenagers “can’t we just freeze dry them between the ages of 14 and 25???” (Just kidding, just kidding).

All joking aside, the teenage years are difficult, and it’s difficult for the kids at this age as well. But you can get through this, you did twice before. I would suggest some more “structure” for Jenny as it seems like she has a lot going on.  Sit down with Jenny and don’t accuse her, but see if she will talk with you about some of the things that are bothering her. 

At the same time, I would be in regular touch with her teachers through e-mail (and whatever other means) to help her get back on track.  Make sure she has a routine on school days where she can’t go out and must have “quiet time” to do her homework until she brings her grades up.  Meet with the school guidance counselor and see if he or she will devote some time with Jenny to find out what some of the underlying issues might be. See if you can talk to some of her old friends’ moms and see what they know about why Jenny may have stopped hanging around with their daughters.

You will get through this, but with all the changes and challenges of this age, it is day by day, moment by moment.

Readers – any suggestions for “Frantic in Philly”?

Thank you for stopping in today!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at: lifeainteasystreet@gmail.com   I would love to hear from you!

Until next time~

~Clare

Author
Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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6 Comments

  • A multi-prong approach would be helpful – Clare’s awesome tips plus hit it from other angles. I would schedule “exciting” road trips over Spring Break to multiple college campuses. Ask her to help you with researching which campuses will be holding open-house-type events for prospective students. Help steer her attention towards focusing on the future. Start organic conversations about the cost of living, what it takes to live on her own (rent, gas, electric, water/garbage, internet, food, car, gas, clothing, etc.) to help drive the conclusion that she needs a college education to get a great job that will pay the bills. And to attain this goal she needs to hit the books like before and pull in those A grades! When her attention is focused on school work, those undesirable friends will drift away.

    • Clare says:

      Smart and very practical tips, Denay, and we surely appreciate it! I love the idea of encouraging Jenny to do some of her own research on colleges, costs, household expenses! Wonderful tips! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Jenn Slavich says:

    I was one of those teens that found a new crowd and allowed my grades to slip. My advice is to love her! Be open minded and allow her to tell you how she is feeling and what her attraction is to this new crowd. Sometimes it is harder said then done when it comes to being open minded without judgement when you have your parent hat on. Times are really tough this day and age with social media being in your face. Be calm and be confident that you know what you are doing as a parent. If you’ve raised her to have good values and she know college isn’t an option she’ll come around. Good luck!!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, being open and encouraging two-way communication is key…. and a lot of us know how difficult that can be with teenagers and all they are going through! Yes, staying calm and confident as a parent is important…. boy I surely failed in the “staying calm” area lots of times raising teenage girls! 🙂 🙂 But I know they can get through this and I appreciate your thoughts and help!

  • Hannah Grace says:

    Oh boy. My view may be totally different than most. I have experienced this. It started about 5 years ago. I was concerned just like you and I did the things I’m seeing suggested. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough! I’m not trying to scare you or be a Debbie downer, but my advice is to INTERVENE! I don’t care how mad she gets. I didn’t and two years after it began I realized that drugs was behind the change. The changes were so subtle that I was concerned but not alarmed. My child was still in church all off the time and still talking about ministry school. Hopefully it’s not that serious for you. But if I could go back to those years, I would move mountains to for my child. I would do it at any cost…..love her unconditionally but dig till you find the root!
    I pray right now that God gives you insight, wisdom and courage.

  • Clare says:

    Thanks, Hannah! Sometimes we have to do tough love, too and intervene like you did! Yes, digging in to find the root and cause of the change and challenges is important for sure! I appreciate this insight and this should help Jenny’s mother and family, too! We appreciate your perspective and sharing what you went through, too!

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