My son came home with his first grade in high school. My soaring aspirations for for straight A's came to a screeching halt when the paper was placed before me. A C- was not what I expected. "I did really well on the test though. It's the beginning of the school year. I will do better." His words were reassuring for just a moment.
Again he approached me. "I got my test back in English. I didn't do as well as I thought." Strike two. "It's funny how my science teacher grades. He picks six questions out of 15 and grades those. I got 5 out of 6." My aspirations wain as each portion of information arrives. Strike 3. "Five out of six is not good son." I help him realize. "Why are you so critical?" he replies.
Lately, I feel desperate to go back to fifth grade where grades were under my control and finishing assignments was something I monitored. Consequences stung when work wasn't completed and lackadaisical attitudes were unacceptable. I could check every paper, and accepting help from me wasn't an option.
Although these things still hold true,the approach is different. I have less control. The weight is now on our son. Our 15 year old has taken responsibility for himself. Checking his work is now more difficult. I cannot hold his hand through high school. He doesn't want his hand held. I have though, made it very clear, that discipline is a must. The consequences are great: no varsity football games, loss of phone privileges, Facebook and other social networking on hold. He nods. He agrees. The grades must improve. We wait.