Dear Mrs. C:

Our son, ‘Waldo’, just ‘earned’ all D’s for his first quarter grades. He is a nice-enough young man, but a bit lazy. In middle school he was on the honor roll, but now is slacking off. Do you have any suggestions?

Signed: Frustrated Parents of a Lazy Sophomore

Dear FP’s of a LS:

I hear you. And I hear little lazy vibes emanating from Waldo’s brain. Not sure why, but – for many kids this age – something goes goofy in their gray matter at this point. Good news: in about 6-months to one year, this condition should correct itself. In the meantime, I would suggest the tough love approach. “Waldo, dear one, your Dad and I love you, and are here to help you get back on the grade track that we know you are capable of. All D’s?

Disappointing! We need at least a B average, because we know you are capable of that, and more. B’s would be Better – Beautiful – Bountiful – Bolstering – you get the drift. Again, D’s are Done, Dopey, and … yes, as mentioned before, Downright Disappointing. How, you may wonder, do your Dad and I plan to help you achieve this? Well, YOU, son-o-ours, are the key player”. At this point in the conversation, try to ignore looks of ‘whatever’, rolling eyeballs, smirky lips, etc. Continue with verbalizing your plan.

“So, starting now (not then), you, your chromebook, Mom and Dad will be the new and improved Team Waldo. That has such a nice ring to it. Speaking of rings, which your phone sometimes does – those rings will be very infrequent (as in nonexistent) until you drag those D’s up to at least a B average. Not to worry – Mom and Dad will have your phone in PC (protective custody) mode. That is synonymous with ‘out of sight.’ The good news is that when you up those grades – and we know you are more than capable – phone floats back into your possession. A surprisingly simple concept, easy to grasp. So, let’s start right now by going to StudentVue and seeing exactly what assignments are missing from each class. Not to panic. We will give you a break for dinner. Between filling your tummy and bedtime, you will motor on through some more missed homework.”

At this point, you may hear audible groans from LW (Lazy Waldo). Do not cave. He will live, although he may experience some bouts of PRW’s (phone removal withdrawals). Not life-threatening, although Waldo may disagree. The ball is in his (homework) court; the phone could be back in his hands shortly. His call. If this approach doesn’t work, and if Waldo drives, that would be another carrot to withdraw until he gets with the program.

Hope this helps!

- Mrs. C

ELAINE CARLSON is a Buena High School counselor. Questions can be sent to her at

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