My son has been in summer school the last three weeks, taking a class he failed during the school year. I realized quickly that it wasn't going to be any better this time around, and that I needed help, since of course this is the one class I'm not capable of staying a paragraph ahead of him and helping him learn it. Unfortunatly, it took me a week to find someone, but she's been working with him for a week now. I think he is doing better, but of course I don't have all his grades yet. Tonite they were studying for the final and he had a tantrum(some people use the term "meltdown" but I call a spade a spade, and even though he is 15, not two, it looked and sounded like a tantrum). He has been having them regularly lately, particularly when overwhelmed by school. Of course, that takes valuable time away from studying. He came home with a long study guide today and I told him I'd pay for each right answer. Unfortunately, there weren't very many of them.
I have a coworker dealing with kid problems too--problems with an adult kid. It struck me that the thing driving us both up the wall is our lack of control. When the kids were little we could physically control them if nothing else. You can make a toddler pick up even if it means taking her hand, putting it on the toy and leading her to the toy box. Try that with a teen and the result will not likely be good. It is so hard when you see kids making such a mess of things. You know exactly how to fix the problem, but there comes a point where the kid has to want to do it, and if he doesn't, then all your help is in vain. I don't think my son wants to fail, but I do think he has decided he can't pass, and isn't putting forth enough effort to pass.
I've decided that I'm going to control what I can--I found and paid the tutor, and will adopt a serene attitude about what I can't control--like how well he does on this test. At least I talk a good story.