Saturday, October 17, 2009

Don't Worry If Your Teen Is NOT A Good Student!

I'm not sure how I found Christine Duvivier, as one click of the mouse leads to another. But I'm glad I did. Christine is an expert in helping parents and teens recognize a teenager's gifts, and in teaching them to achieve their highest potential. As Christine says, a teenager doesn't have to be a top student to be a future leader and achieve success in life. Christine has come into my life at a time when I need her most. I've been struggling to keep my teenager in the good-grade zone, and it's frustrating work, let me tell you! Christine's work has helped me to relax and understand that my job as a parent is not to be the Homework Police, but rather, to help my teenager develop her unique talents and gifts. And later, success will naturally follow.

Please welcome my Guest Blogger, Christine Duvivier . . .

Listen in the grocery store, the gym, or the PTA meeting and you’ll hear what I call “the vocal minority” – the parents whose kids are getting good grades. If your teen isn’t a top student, chances are good you’re not bragging in the bleachers. You’re in what I call “the silent majority,” since the majority of teens are not at the top of the class.
If you read the newspapers, magazines or parenting guides, you’ll get bleary-eyed reading about the importance of good grades, good test scores, good colleges. You’ll read about “the best and the brightest” – meaning kids at the top of the class or those who go on to ivy-league colleges. You’ll learn all the ways you should “motivate” your child to do better in school or how to tutor, adapt, mold and fix him to get better grades.
Does it ever just exhaust you? Do you ever get frustrated trying to figure it all out? Do you ever wonder, “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my child? Why can’t we get it together?” If you answered yes to any of those questions, I have two pieces of good news: You’re not alone and it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I studied the gifts and strengths of teens who are not top students, I discovered that the reason they don’t do well in school is not because there is something wrong with them. It’s just the opposite. The reason they don’t do well in school is because they have gifts and strengths that conflict with the way they are expected to learn. It’s what is right with them that causes the problems in school.
When I looked at what is needed in our future economy, I saw that teens in the bottom 80% of their classes have strengths and gifts that are perfectly-suited to the future economy —and to world, scientific, and business leadership. The only question is how we help them to avoid feeling defeated by the time they finish school and allow them to develop the gifts and strengths that will serve them well in life. As it stands now, we leave them largely to their own devices.
In the past, some have argued that this is fine because we need to be sure we do a good job with the top students -- and if that means letting the rest of the group muddle along, that’s the price we pay. Here is the astounding fact about this argument: I found that we are doing a disservice to top students, too.
When you look at how we, as a society, have structured our approach to education, we are breeding anxiety and depression in teens at all levels of the class. I am not talking about a problem with teachers or with schools. I am talking about the system we form together as parents, voters, government, media, leaders and educators. It’s more complex than I can explain here, but if you’d like to learn more you can get a copy of my study by registering at
Here’s the bottom line for you as a parent: Do not worry if your child is not doing well in school. Do worry (and get help) if your child is listless, disengaged, anxious or unhappy. Understand that poor performance in school means that your child’s gifts and strengths conflict with what is being asked of her. Talk with her about this. Help her to get involved in activities that bring out the best in her. Be sure she understands that she is gifted for life -- no matter how she does in school.
© Copyright Christine Duvivier 2007-2009 All Rights Reserved

Read more on The Myths of Education™, Motivation, Daydreaming and Creativity, Preventing Depression and other topics. If you’d like to hear about engaging your teen’s gifts, call-in to Positively Gifted, Christine Duvivier’s radio program, on Tuesday October 20 at noon EDT.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Unknown said...

YAY! THANK you for this post, Lyn. I really needed to read it. It's sort of a "there, there", pat on the back to all the stressed out parents that are struggling with frustration at the lack of decent grades. My kids ARE doing well in school, surprisingly. But they are far far from getting GREAT grades.
This is great material.

Lynn said...


I am so glad you found this blog and that this post has given you peace of mind. It did for me, too. My daughter is an A/B student who flirts with C's now and then. I worry that if she doesn't keep it in the A/B range, then she won't be able to get into a good college. But she is also very talented and excels in other areas, so I am sure that colleges will see how well-rounded she is.