My daughter has to take final exams next Monday. She's never taken finals before. I've promised to help her study, which I've been doing the past 3 nights.
She is going to fail spectacularly....which is, certainly, a failure on my part, too.
She has this tendency -- this terrible, self-destructive tendency -- to completely shut her brain down when she doesn't get something. Which not only kills her chance to actually comprehend it, it causes her to stop remembering and applying what she already knows
. She checks out, and studying and learning are done.
I don't know what to do with her. I've already promised her that if she flunks those finals, her internet, her digital camera, and her cell phone will be taken away. I don't want to keep harping on that, for fear of freaking her out and scaring her worse, but I also want her to know I'm serious about it. I don't want to "parent via threat", but I also want her to feel an incentive to succeed that she doesn't normally feel.
So I don't know how it's going to turn out, but I do NOT feel good about it.
The thing is this: she's almost exactly
like me, in a lot of ways. I was a very good student, because it all came easily to me. I was mostly A's with some B's throughout High School and most of college...and, honestly, I don't think I spent more than a few minutes TOTAL studying. I did my homework and I listened (more or less) in class, but I didn't study or even review the material outside of class. Didn't need to. This will sound like boasting (although it's not meant to), but I have no doubt whatsoever that with the teensiest amount of effort, I could have gotten straight A's....in fact, I honestly believe that, had I actually cared about pushing myself (instead of bopping around like the ultimately lazybones that I am) I could have gotten every single question right
throughout my educational career. Yet, I didn't...because it didn't much matter to me. I never wanted to fail, but I never had any kind of drive to be above-the-crowd-successful, either.
That same tendency has, usually, sabotaged me at work, too. I know I could be much better at my career, but I never was much interested. Sad and (somewhat) embarassing to admit, but wholly true.
The way in which she resembles me is that I, too, avoid those things that are hard for me. I pretend they don't even exist, and I let 'em fester until they're beyond hope and help. So I understand exactly what her brain is doing; and if she's like me on the inside, the pressure and stress of this is eating her up inside even while she doesn't show it. I feel for her. I do.
Yet I need to find a way to motivate her to get beyond this, so she doesn't end up with so much
regret in her life (like I have).