Set the stage now – work with their teachers to let them know you want your teen/ their student to know what their grades are, so that they can intervene as quickly as possible, if and when needed. And frankly, ‘knowing the score’ almost always inspires anyone to want to do a little bit better!
So maybe, when you and they see those grades, take a minute or two to ask – “How do you feel about that?” - PAUSE, WAIT FOR REPLY – then, as it may fit – say “is there anything I can help with to help you build it?” It’s a subtle way to show that you’re paying attention, want to help, and encourage their focus and attention.
Oh, one more thing – do this REGULARLY.
The more and earlier you know and can guide your student – the less harsh you will ever need to be.
Keep score – and succeed!
On another note: Harshness breeds the same
There’s one on-line post I see frequently regarding dealing with teenagers in which the writer (“expert”) is constantly advising parents in applying harsh, overpowering techniques to address bad behaviors – refusal to do homework, disrespect, etc. – but his approach is ALWAYS very harsh. While I can’t disagree with most of what he says, it just seems to me that most young people are inherently pretty good kids – they’re just searching and exploring alternate behavioral choices – and need just a little re-direction, guidance and reinforcement.