When a child's grades start falling, it can alarm parents. While some teens simply stop paying attention in class once they reach a certain age, poor academic performance can signal a serious underlying cause in other individuals. It is important that you handle your teen's poor grades in a manner that will prevent him from completely checking out, while giving him the motivation to do better in the future. A parent's main goal is to find out why the student's grades are suffering and to devise a plan based on the underlying cause, according to social worker Carole Banks for the Empowering Parents website, rather than blindly disciplining the child based on these poor results.
Talk to your child. Before you can discipline the teen, you should learn why her grades are dropping. If you can determine the reason for her problems, it is easier to come up with a solution that works for both of you, notes Banks.
Set realistic expectations. Not every teen will achieve straight As throughout high school, since every child is different. If your teen is putting the effort into his schoolwork, but is simply not getting the results, disciplining him could have an adverse effect, suggest licensed family therapists Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott in their book "Positive Discipline for Teenagers."
Avoid taking things away from your teen as punishment. If your teen enjoys doing something and is good at it, removing it from her life will not motivate her. In fact, removing her hobbies could cause her to give up completely, which will further her academic problems, according to Nelsen and Lott.
Structure your home life. A common reason for problems in school is a lack of structure at home. If your teen knows that he must finish his homework before the television is turned on or before he can visit friends, he is more likely to complete this work, suggests Banks.
Allow natural consequences to occur. If nothing else works, allow your teen to fail. While this is difficult for some parents, it can lead to discipline in teens, notes the Nemours Foundation's website, KidsHealth. If the child is forced to attend summer school while her friends are enjoying their leisure time, it is likely that she will work harder in school the next year.
Every child reacts differently to parental intervention, so try multiple angles when determining a solution.
Drug and alcohol problems can often lead to poor academic performance, so keep an eye out for these issues.