Home > Teens > Teen Social and Emotional Issues > Emotional and Mental Health > Former "A" Student Now Unpopular and Failing

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Former "A" Student Now Unpopular and Failing

Gifted and Talented Expert Advice from Noreen H. Joslyn, LISW, ACSW

Q: Our 16-year-old daughter used to be self-motivated and got straight A's all through eighth grade. She is also a gifted musician who plays three instruments. She is, however, in the unpopular group of kids and has felt alienated and picked-on by the popular cliques. Ninth grade was a nightmare for her and she got D's and F's.

She is now in tenth grade, is still intensely uncomfortable in classes, and is ruining her chances of better grades by not passing in work or passing it in late and by "tuning out" in class. She is begging to be homeschooled, but her psychiatrist is against it (so am I). I have taken away her Internet privileges to help limit distractions, but I don't know what else to do.

A: It's heartbreaking to see a child who was doing so well have so much difficulty now. I also am opposed to homeschooling in this situation. Homeschooling is a great path for many students, but I suspect your daughter thinks that staying home would permit her to psychologically withdraw even more. You mention her psychiatrist, so I assume your daughter is receiving help for her problems. She sounds depressed and anxious. Is she receiving medication, and if so is it the right one for her?

I hope her counselor has experience in working with the gifted. Gifted kids in trouble can be very skilled in convincing us how their problem is caused by others. In truth, your daughter must learn to deal with -- or ignore -- her detractors and go forward, focusing on her strengths and interests.

Taking away too many privileges will depress her even more. Why not offer a certain amount of Internet time in exchange for completed homework or extra study time? The focus right now must be on intensive counseling for her. She will not respond effectively if she is too depressed. I am referring you to the national organization SENG, Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted. They have helpful information for kids in your daughter's situation. Good luck.

More on: Expert Advice

Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks


3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!