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The Competent Parent: Goofing off in class

Headshot2011Welcome to our weekly online series on parenting advice with Annapolis, Maryland, expert Dr. Deborah Wood.

Goofing Off in Class

Dear Dr. Debbie,

My son is not doing so well with his grades this year. He’s in eighth grade. His teachers say he spends too much class time on getting the other students to laugh at his jokes and antics. Previously he did well academically and everyone feels he is not working at his potential. How can we turn this around before his “permanent record” starts next year in high school?

Mom of the Clown

Click here to read last week’s article about kingergarten readiness.

Dear Mom,

This problem should be tackled with better use of out-of-school time. He could probably use some more time to be with friends who enjoy his company. Friendships and popularity are extremely important for this age, and the students who are assured of their social status can focus better on classwork. Have him invite a classmate for a weekday dinner at your place or a day trip for when there is no school. If other parents reciprocate your son will be gaining even more time to secure peer approval – and not at the expense of paying attention to classwork.

Good friendships will hold him in good stead in the coming years of high school, and your alliances with the parents of his friends will be an important strength for managing typical teen-age issues.

Dr. Debbie

Deborah Wood is a child development specialist in Annapolis. She holds a doctorate in Human Development from the University of Maryland at College Park and is founding director of the Chesapeake Children’s Museum. Long time fans and new readers can find many of her “Understanding Children” columns archived on the Chesapeake Family Magazine website. You can find her online at drdebbiewood.com.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments or submit a question to Dr. Debbie at Betsy@jecoannapolis.com.

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