DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like such a failure. I thought I was paying attention to my son’s grades and school schedule, but I just saw his transcript, and he has been late many times and absent way too often. To my knowledge, he had not taken a sick day or stayed home. I work, so I’m not home all day, but I’m shocked by this. His absences are bringing down his grades. Plus, he was doing better at the beginning of the year compared to now. What can I do to help him? -- Student in Need
DEAR STUDENT IN NEED: It’s never too late to step in and try to figure things out. Start by talking to him. Do your best to be even-toned. If you scare him or threaten him, he may clam up. Ask him what’s going on and why he has been absent and late so often and what has caused his grades to slip. You want to find out if there are any emotional issues or relationship drama that he’s dealing with.
Contact his guidance counselor and ask for input that the school may have, and find out why you weren’t informed earlier. Plead with the school to partner with you in supporting your son. Find out if he can do any makeup work to improve his grades. Learn about summer programs that may support him. You should also look into counseling for him. Talking to a therapist about what’s going on may help him to address the underlying issues.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)