*Dear Tamara:

My son just brought home another report card with straight Ds and Fs, all except for the B- he got in physical ed. I am at my wits end with him. My wife and I have done everything we know how to do. We have grounded him, taken away all of his things, but nothing seems to make him take school seriously. He is in the 8th grade and is hopefully going to make it to high school next year. There is no way he is going to get into college with these grades.At My Wits End

Dear Wits End:

It can be a struggle getting children through school, I know because I have four of my own! My oldest is in college now and getting her through middle and high school was a great challenge. To add fuel to the fire, she is a Division I athlete which means we had several guidelines and benchmarks we had to reach and comply with along the way.

But let me ask you this…“have you ever had your son tested for a possible learning disability?” The reason I ask is that I had a similar problem with my daughter. After several years of struggling with grades, punishments, taking away privileges, and just plain ole’ getting upset, (me and her, because believe me, this can be just as stressful and upsetting for your son as it is for you) I had an “ah-ha” moment. My daughter couldn’t possibly be performing this bad in school on purpose, nor did she like the consequences I was dishing out. But for some reason, she couldn’t change the behavior. That’s when I realized, it must be something else!

As parents we want the best for our children and we want them to be the best! It can be hard to admit and/or accept that our child might have a learning disability. For some reason we think it may be a negative reflection on our parenting or something we didn’t do correctly, especially if there are other children who do not display the same behavior. The truth of matter is, we are all individuals and we learn differently.

I had my daughter tested at a facility that specializes in learning disabilities. We found that she did indeed have issues. Issues that we were able to get help with and manage. She is now in her second year of college and doing well. Once we found the root of the problem we were able to work with the school and take advantage of extra academic programs put into place to deal with learning disabilities. And on top of all of that, my daughter learned a lot about her learning style and preferences and ways to be a successful student and develop successful study habits. It has also built up her confidence, which is major part of student success.

Get to the root of the problem!

Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.