After years of socking away thousands of dollars into my daughter's college fund, imagine how I felt when she started 8th grade with two Fs and barely passing grades on her report card. The thought flashed to me, that she may never attend college and worse, may not even graduate from High School. Then what?
My Tiger Mom tactics didn't work. Our family was miserable. How could accomplished and sane parents produce such a brilliant yet disorganized, unmotivated and defiant teen? She didn't need a tutor, she is perfectly capable of understanding the work. A psychologist? She is not mentally ill, or even traumatized. I swift kick in the butt? It only made her butt harder. I found SOS for Students online where they talked about helping kids with "executive function" and that resonated with me. My bright daughter was having a personal management malfunction and needed a coach and confidant who could help her reason her way through her inner conflict and take action. She certainly didn't take stock in what I had to say. Maybe a savvy outsider could win her trust.
I reached out to SOS for Students. It was not cheap. But I had that college fund which was in danger of never being used. I made the decision to tap into it to help my daughter get a grip in what she wanted and how to get there. The only wrinkle was that we do not live near the Bay Area, but when the option of a video session via laptop came up I knew this could work.
Once a week my daughter and her coach Shira would spend an hour talking, and I'd get a detailed report about what was covered. Change is never easy, but slowly, as dread was overcome, and grades improved my daughter established some momentum and began to confront her tasks rather than avoid them. I could see her initiating her homework rather than claming she didn't have any.
About ten sessions later, we started seeing results. Her last report card had an A in a high school level class, high Bs in two academic classes and a high C. There is room for improvement but the trend is in place. When she playfully got in my face threatening me with straight As this last trimester I knew I made the right decision.
The frequency of the sessions has taped off with the vast improvements, but I plan on keeping my daughter in touch with her coach and SOS for Students to head off any problems before they get out of control as she navigates her way though High School.