Should distance learning change your academic expectations for your kid during quarantine?
Well, that's what we're talking about today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm
a licensed marriage and family therapist and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families
live happier lives. I lead two organizations, the Group Private Practice Teen Therapy Center
and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills,
California. Every Wednesday at noon, I answer your parenting questions. In fact, if you like
these types of questions, on November 11th, Wednesday night at 7 p .m., I'm leading a parent
workshop, quarantine edition. It's only open to the first 10 parents who register, where you
bring your quarantine -related questions in and you leave with answers. It's all online over
Zoom. You can do it from the comfort of your own living room. If you're interested, please go
to the body below with the text and register today, because we do have
spots filling up fast. Anyways, let's talk about these questions. Let's jump into today's
question right away. Here we go. My teen is a freshman in high school, an honor student, and maintains
grades any parent would be proud of. He goes to a big public high school. Classes are all virtual
now. Both parents work. And our teen, however, has been missing classes, at least one each week,
sometimes more. He says he falls asleep or forgets to log back in sometimes. Yeah, right. We
are firm believers in letting kids experience the natural consequences of their actions.
We don't call a school to clear the absences, but there don't seem to be any consequences. What
should we do? Are we negligent parents if we decide not to do anything? If he was actually ditching
school, we would be furious. Is this different? Is it different? No, ditching is ditching.
But yes, it is different. We're in a quarantine, right? It has made a lot of things different.
There's a lot of ways to go with this. By the way,
no, you're not negligent parents. And there's a lot of positives to work with this because obviously
this kid is motivated. He has a history of being a good student and pulling good grades and studying.
So there's a lot to work with here. First I would talk to him. I would sit him down. Not because
he's in trouble, but more because you want to collaborate with him. You want to make sure that
he's feeling supported and he feels like he can make some choices in all this. So, here's the
thing. He's missing classes, but still doing well in school, and the teachers don't seem to
be that concerned about it. So, do you need to be that concerned about it, right? I understand
why you might be, because it could be setting a bad precedent, right? Does it turn into missing
three classes this week, and four classes next week, and then ten classes the following week,
until eventually he's skipping so many classes that his grades start to suffer? And this is
what you may want to sit down and talk to him
about this risk. I'm also going to assume that this young man has aspirations to go to college
one day, and maybe has aspirations for a certain prestige of college. Maybe that's true. And
if it is, stay on and say, listen, if you keep going down this path, and it goes too far, and your
grades drop, and that's what separates you from getting into the college you want to go to, whether
you don't get accepted, or you do get accepted, but you don't get the scholarship money, so we
can't send you there because we can't afford it, right? Is that a risk willing to take? Are you—
Is YouTube in the moment, or TikTok in that moment, worth the risk of falling short of that other
college? Now, of course, he's gonna say with his fortunate mind, yeah, I cut it down, no problem.
And he may need to say, okay, you know, and allow him to stumble through this. Because again,
it really doesn't matter what college he goes to, if he wants to be successful, he has all the
tools he needs, right? Doesn't matter
if you go to CSUN or Harvard. Again, not that CSUN's a bad school. CSUN's an excellent school.
But since it's our local school, it kind of gets downplayed, right? And also, I want to say that
online learning, distance learning, is really boring. I don't have one client who's interested
in it, who likes it. I don't think the teachers like it either. And I think the teachers are really
trying hard to be as creative and as engaging as they can, but they're handcuffed because it's
over Zoom. It's hard enough in a class of 35 kids in class who are half paying attention, but over
Zoom, it's really challenging. And I think teachers really deserve a round of applause for
what they are trying to do to just keep the education going. And that may be why the teachers aren't
giving a lot of consequences for missing classes. Because it's just not worth fighting for.
So, if the teachers aren't fighting for it, maybe you don't need to either. And that's where
you may need to talk to the teacher as well
to find out, you know, how is this impacting your son's ability to do his assignments, write
his essays, meet homework assignments, do tests. You know, if they're not worried, maybe you
don't need to be as worried either. But I think it's important to keep the conversation going.
I don't think you need to go into big things of, well, we're gonna put in more restrictions and
more limits. You could do that and he could go and be online and log in every time and then go on
YouTube and not pay attention and just have the class on there. So you're not gonna force him
to pay attention because you're not gonna be able to be there and watch him because you're at
work too. You're working from your office at home, or you're actually going to work somewhere
depending on your availability your ability to work so let's rely on his sense of Priority of
what he wants for his education where he wants to go for his future and again if he makes some blunders
his freshman Year, it's not the end of the world
makes for a great college essay You know most likely he will bounce back if grades and learning
are important to him I don't think this is the hill worth fighting for. I really don't if he is
maintaining grades now again The problem is he may start faltering and that's when you may need
to keep on the grades and say hey We noticed that your a in algebra is now a c -plus. Are you okay
with that? Do we need to you know get back in class and pay attention more? Have that as a conversation
let him have some ownership of this whether succeeding or failing let him have some ownership
They're not your grades. They're his grades. Let him have ownership of that Now if he was in the
physical school and ditching the school probably would come down harder So since they're not
coming down as hard, you know, maybe we don't have to either but again It's a conversation to
be had you don't need to come down with an edict, you know Keep exploring it be flexible be patient
connect with your kid The more you
connect with your son The more he's gonna be responsive to you and take in consideration what
you are saying. That is our question for today Thank you for your question. Keep them coming.
Again, for quarantine -related questions, November 11th, 7 to 9 p .m. over Zoom, I am leading
the Parent Workshop Quarantine Edition. Please register. We have a few seats left. Then down
and below in the text, you can find the link to our page and you can pay. It's $30 for one parent,
45 for a couple. And the seats are registered first come, first serve. So please register now.
And thanks again. And if you want your question answered on Tips on Teens, you can email us at
tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. Thanks again, guys, and I'll see you next Wednesday.
Should distance learning change the academic expectations you have for your kid? How do you keep them motivated during quarantine?
“My teen is a freshman in high school, an honors student and maintains grades any parent would be proud of. He goes to a big public high school. Classes are all virtual right now. Both parents work. Our teen, however, has been missing classes. At least one each week. Sometimes more. He says he falls asleep, or forgets to log back in sometimes. We are firm believers in letting kids experience the natural consequences of their actions. We don’t call the school to clear the absences. But there don’t seem to be any consequences. What should we do? Are we negligent parents if we decide not to do anything? If he was actually ditching school we would be furious. Is this different?”
Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live. He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!
Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE! Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/
If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.