### Why My Daughter Is Struggling Academically: Uncovering the Root Cause

My 14-year-old daughter, “Molly,” experiences significant anxiety and struggles to build friendships, making her existing connections all the more meaningful.

One of her close friends, “Tim,” is currently battling cancer, necessitating a break from school to focus on treatment. Tim anticipates completing his treatment by summer and has academic support to ensure a smooth transition back to school next year. My wife and I deeply appreciate Molly’s empathy and support for Tim during this challenging time. Despite her emotional turmoil, Molly remains a pillar of strength for Tim, although her academic performance is suffering.

Molly’s grades, particularly in French and algebra, are deteriorating as she dedicates extensive time to texting Tim during class or visiting him and other friends at the hospital or his home. While we commend Molly’s compassion, we are concerned about the impact on her education. Limiting her visits to allow for academic focus has sparked differing opinions between my wife and me.

We have addressed the importance of academic diligence with Molly, but she appears dismissive of our concerns. It is evident that Tim values Molly’s well-being and education, and we aim to strike a balance that supports both Molly and Tim without compromising either.

To navigate this delicate situation, I suggest exploring alternative academic support options with the school in case Molly’s grades do not improve. Additionally, engaging in an open dialogue with Tim’s mother to align on supporting Tim while guiding Molly’s priorities could provide valuable insights without undermining Molly’s trust.

Facilitating a collaborative discussion with Molly, following a structured approach like the 14 Talks by Age 14, may empower her to find a resolution. Emphasizing that Tim can be a priority without overshadowing her academic responsibilities is crucial. Encouraging Molly to make decisions that honor her values and well-being while supporting her friend reflects a valuable life lesson.

Ultimately, this journey is not solely about academic performance but about nurturing Molly’s ability to navigate complex decisions with empathy and self-care. By fostering a supportive environment that considers all perspectives, I believe you can guide Molly towards a balanced approach that benefits both her and Tim. Best of luck to your family and to Tim during this challenging period.

—Allison

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My partner and I are parents to a sensitive, clever, and very extroverted 6-year-old. She has the occasional sleepover with her godparents, Steve and Linda. They are two childless friends of ours who adore and love our daughter very much. Our daughter always seems to have a fantastic time. I’m grateful that they’re sharing their time with her, as my partner and I don’t come from large families and our daughter doesn’t have any local grandparents.