We are half-way through the school year. For little children, middle school aged children, high school kids, and last but not least, college kids, the Spring semester is a time of transition. The college kids have their first quarters and semesters under their belts. They get their first set of grades and you may or may not hear the results. If the first year of college is not turning out as you and your child envisioned, you are not alone. Moving from the academics of high school is not an easy move for some kids. A student with high school academic struggles can bring them to college. Even the high school’s academic champions can have problems. If your student is a top drawer student in a high school of 1000, and goes to a college with thousands upon thousands of fellow geniuses, your child may land at the bottom of the totem pole. A child might be getting low or failing grades. This will mean academic probation. This can be devastating to parents and children.
First, remain calm and do not rip into your child like a big cat on a zebra. Trust that most kids are humiliated and scared. Talk to your child calmly to assess the situation. It could be any number of issues. If you go in with emotional guns blazing, you will more than likely turn off your child’s desire to confide in you. Remember, you are not privy to their grades and legally not entitled to any information about them as they have reached the age of majority. If you want to know, you are relying on them to tell you. If they are worried the hammer will come down, they may clam-up for lie.
You want to find out if it is a struggle of intellect, an overwhelming class schedule, participating in college sports, a romance, a job that takes time away from studying, poor study habits, too many on campus activities, or too many extra curricular activities, drinking, drugs, or something equally as dangerous. There are a multitude of reasons. If you can, arrange a visit to speak to your child in person. Once you have an answer to the big question, you must address the issue with your child. Let them know you are there for them without judgment. As hard as it may be, you have to remain encouraging. Based on the answer you receive, you can seek advice in how to proceed. If it is a matter of working just a little harder, help them find campus resources. College is big pond and even the most skilled swimmer many need a life vest. No matter what the answer, let them know it is OK to ask for help.
IF YOUR CHILD IS SHOWING SIGNS OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, VIOLENCE TOWARD SELF AND OTHERS, BLACKOUTS, SYMPTOMS OF MENTAL ILLNESS, PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS, SIGNS OF DRUG OR ALCOHOL ABUSE, GET MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY. THESE ARE HARD AND SCARY ISSUES TO DEAL WITH, BUT THERE ARE DOCTORS, THERAPISTS, AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE ASSISTANCE IN ALL OF THESE INSTANCES. AS OVERWHELMING AS IT MAY BE TO FACE, FOR YOUR SAKE AND THE SAKE OF YOUR CHILD, DO NOT SWEEP THESE ISSUES UNDER THE RUG. NONE OF THE ISSUES HERETOFORE ADDRESSED WILL JUST VANISH.