"The most frustrating group of underachievers are the bright kids who are disappointing — disappointing their parents, their teachers and themselves," said Yvonne Jones, a certified educational planner with the Seattle-based Education Advisory Group. Often a kid will wake up and engage his studies when he gets to college and realizes it's in his/her best interest to do so. But what's a parent to do until that day arrives? "High-stakes testing, stringent college entry requirements and lack of high-paying, entry-level jobs make it more important than ever for parents to get involved right away when they see students performing below their abilities."
Stephanie Dunnewind, Seattle Times staff reporter, writes a helpful article on the subject of underachieving students. Your child is one of many teachers are working with at school whereas for you he's your "one and only." There is a lot parents can do to help their children reach their potential but, as the article points out, it is a balancing act.
In her article on underachieving students, Dunnewind quotes Ruth Peters, author of Overcoming Underachieving: A Simple Plan to Boost Your Kids' Grades and End the Homework Hassles, as saying, "Students underachieve mostly because they don't give a hoot." Ruth Peters is a child psychologist and an advocate of incentives to prod better performance. She's also the author of Laying Down the Law: The 25 Laws of Parenting.
On the other hand, Dunnewind warns against becoming too dependent on incentives for schoolwork because at some point, the rewards might not be great enough. "'Kids start to see school as the parent's thing,' said Anne Rambo, a child and family psychologist and author of I Know My Child Can Do Better: A Frustrated Parent's Guide to Educational Options. 'They start upping the ante. They don't want to go to the park, they want a Nintendo. It can become a way to blackmail parents.'"
This is a great article on the subject. And to top it off, Dunnewind gives us links to further resources:
Do you have a story of an underachiever you would like to share with us? How did it turn out? Did the person finally get motivated enough to start putting out his/her best? What turned the corner for him/her?