Sometimes I really can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to parenting. Especially when I am in new territory. For the first time ever, I have a ninth grader. We have been waging an uphill battle for the past two semesters as he tries to get out of the hole with bad grades. Several different factors have contributed to his struggle with grades. First, he has to learn to keep track of when assignments are due and then to actually turn them in on time. But he also has had some health issues that have caused him to miss a lot of school. We have also discovered that missing school, even when you are ill, is a much bigger nightmare than it is for his younger sisters. Duh, I know. Keeping up with assignments and tests when you have been sick is so frustrating. As my son says, “It is kind of like they are kicking me when I am down.”
Finally, I had enough. I didn’t know what else to do to help my son. My mother (who has already raised 6 teenagers) told me it was time to see the guidance counselor. I had never met my son’s guidance counselor. Frankly, I had been skeptical that she could really help with the problem. It had also never occurred to me to even visit the guidance counselor. I only ever met with my guidance counselor in high school once a year when I was planning my schedule for the next year. But I was desperate and I ran down to the high school and met with the counselor.
I can’t even express how helpful she was. Turns out my son had one class as a Freshman he didn’t need to take for another year or two. She let us change the class to something more manageable. Turns out there is also a program to help kids who are under the care of a doctor for health issues. My son’s health issue happens to be migraines. If he continues to miss classes because of migraines I can meet with the school and teachers to set up better guidelines for makeup work.
Perhaps this is a little thing. Perhaps all you parents of high schoolers already use the guidance counselor as an aid in your child’s education. Perhaps not. All I know is that I was overlooking a vital resource to help in my son’s education. My mom’s advice made a huge difference in my life. It helped eliminate some anxiety. But what I think she really told me was this: I am not alone in mothering. There are people to help. I just need to ask.