We battled constantly with our sons about working harder at school, you can try saying '' Do you want to work in a horrible dead end job all your life or do you want to be able to choose?''
Mine all ended up doing pretty well and going to university but for a long time it was hell just keeping them at school. We did move one who hated his school on the grounds that if he chose the school he would make more effort and he did. A lot depends on the friends, if the friends work they work too. It is hard to encourage the sensible ones as your liking your childrens friends tends to turn your children off them!
It is , so , not easy but you have to persevere, it does come to an end and is worth the effort
"The behaviors and habits your kid picks up at school are way more important to lifetime success than their standardized test scores. Even bright kids turn into dirtbags when their school is full of dirtbags. Parents who care about their children care about keeping them away from that." Motivation Man
I work at a Grade 7-12 School and see this all the time.... Some smart, nice kid transfers in and starts hanging with some lowlifes, next thing you know they are talking back, cutting class and being a dick. Tell your friend to get his daughter in a nice private school. It will be worth the tuition.
Lots of teenagers have a pretty bleak outlook on the future of our economy. Kind of a "why bother" attitude.
I explain to mine that that's the exact reason why you had better try to make yourself stand out.
my son is almost 13...wait, that can't be right...anyway, what we do with him is make it plain that bad grades=loss of fun stuff. which is pretty much the same equation he'll have later in life. we don't really harp on how his effort now will make his life later better, but rather how it will make his life now better. his horizon is summer vacation at this point. that and lots of support and help with schoolwork is our strategy.
Could it be that they are just not keeping up with the material and are having difficulties with it?
At 13, it's hard to look far into the future and see how important school is. I know I didn't give a damn about school at all, because I couldn't look into the future and see that I would be breaking my back 6 days a week for minimum wage, 0 Benefits and little to no opportunity for advancement. I couldn't see how knowing the Square Root of 97 would ever help me in my future endevours (which at the time was either firefighter or HazMat tech)...
I turn 18, I've been out of school for 2 years at that point, and when I wasn't trying to find a job I was nipple-deep in a pile of garbage sorting comingle or on my knees in the dirt pulling weeds or something for cash (and working as a handyman, which I did enjoy despite the fact one of my customers didn't think she needed to pay me)
Turned 19, got a job at a plywood mill, best job I ever had, miss it, loved it almost as much as I loved my girlfriend (and she was a curvy Goth girl, just the way I likes'em, so that's a lot) but after 3 blissfull months got laid off. Was unemployed--save for swinging a hammer--for a year until I got the job at the flooring warehouse.
The reason I'm babbling like an idiot is to show that kids need to see exactly how school ties into their future. This girl might not ever need to know the square root of the cosine of an imaginary number known as X in her chosen career field, but she will need to know it to pass her tests and get good grades so she can get into a good school and get a good education and can get a job that will help her support herself and that she will really enjoy.
Thinking about this later it occurs to me that as you say that the problem may be that she has fallen behind and her attitude is a defense mechanism.
I always hesitate to give advice as I have to say we seemed to get a lot wrong in the parenthood business but it is vital to keep the lines of communication open.
It is vital that there is trust between parent and child, my wife was always better at it than me but we always sat and ate together after the day and they were encouraged to discuss everything at the table between themselves and with us and we often swallowed our tongues at some of the stuff that came out. We used to say to each other that it was better we knew what was going on even if we did not like it.
I think that we don't really teach they why we are teaching what we teach as well as we could. Part of it is so you know how to do x or rather you will be able to relearn it faster when and if you need it and second it teaches you how to learn and gets you used to learning. Learning take actions, actions take practice. Also the why do I need to know this is a hard answer when the real answer is that you will be combining bits of everything you learn to do your job when we break it out into subjects.
Beyond spelling out the economic facts and forcing a clear cause and effect on grades vs freedom / access to fun. I don't know what can be said. The problem is the message leaders they have are not talking about hard work = success nor about creating opportunities for success.
Some of what I have done is to take one of my sons to the fields where people were working picking lettuce, we parked there and I made him watch them work for a while.
I told him that if he wants to be uneducated he will wind up working stoop labor jobs that do not require an education, but they need fast hands and a strong back.
After this I took him to the farm owners house and asked if he would allow my son to work there free of charge so he may know what it is to have to live like this, the farmer said he would be willing. His grades came up shortly after.