Q:

My eighth-grader has a very high IQ and has always found school to be extremely easy. She used to get top grades - all A's - but now she's satisfied with getting B's without doing any work whatsoever or at the last possible minute. All her time is now devoted to talking on the phone, visiting with friends and watching television. How can I get her to make an effort? - Seeking a Change

A:

Middle-school students might abandon their studies for an all-consuming social life. There's absolutely no reason, however, to let a bright student drift through school, not doing any work. Doing so can lead to problems in high school and college, as the work increasingly becomes more difficult.

Because your daughter's social life is so important to her, limiting it until her grades improve to a certain level is likely to turn things around. You might want to cut out all television, computer time and phone calls after dinner. Privileges can then be restored as long as her grades stay up. You should not insist on straight A's.

It's important to try to rekindle a desire to learn in your daughter. Are there Saturday programs for gifted and talented middle-schoolers at local colleges? Is there a new skill, from learning how to play tennis to building a Web site, that she could learn with her friends? Consider also investigating summer programs for the gifted and talented.

Has your daughter visited a college campus? Doing so could fire a desire in her to do well in school so she would be prepared for college. It might also be productive for you and your daughter to have a conference with her counselor and several of her teachers to discuss the child's current attitude toward schoolwork. Investigate the possibility of enrolling her in more challenging classes.