Q:

What I can do to help my teenage son? He used to be an A student, but since he started high school he has been only a D student. He's been getting into arguments, says his teachers hate him and has school detentions at least three days a week. He is late to class almost every day and never has his schoolwork done on time, or it's always incomplete. My son is a very popular kid in school. When I ask what's going on, he says, "Nothing!" -- Seeking Help

A:

It's great that your son is well-liked by his peers. However, more than "nothing" is going on here. You need answers to these questions: How much time does your son spend on homework every night? Does he have the study skills necessary to handle his schoolwork efficiently? Does he have too difficult a course load? Is he obviously substituting popularity for schoolwork? Why is he so angry with his teachers? What is his disposition like away from school? Is there a problem with substance abuse?

It sounds like your son's life is falling apart at school. Don't delay in setting up a conference with his counselor that you and your son attend. Get some answers to our questions in order to define what his problems truly are. There are reasons for his behavior and drop in grades beyond the transition into high school, which can be difficult for some students.

Try to decide together with the counselor and your son how to turn his grades and attitude around. Consider the possibility of curtailing his social activities until a change is noted. It is possible that your son might need some counseling beyond what the school counselor can offer in order to resolve this situation. Try also to improve your communication with him.