Our family is at war - our daughter is really acting out and my wife and I don't agree on how to handle it.
I'm in the middle of a war in my house. My 10 year old daughter has been hidding failing exams, waiting to last minutes on projects and it feels like the more we take away stuff from her the more she does not care. My wife is in the verge of strangling her and all I hear is my wife telling my daughter that she needs to think for herself and study hard. I do admit that my daughter is very forgetful about things and she is not giving her best. We have taken her out of school activities because we want her to focus in school more and when she gets home she does her homework takes a bath and goes to bed. She does not really have too much time for herself to play expecially now that she was punished for hiding the failed exams. I know my daughter is scared of my wife and my wife feels that a child should be scared of at least one of the parent. I personally think that a child should not be scared of any of his parents, but when a child is failing in school what does a parent do?
Fear should never be used as a form of discipline and you're right that a child shouldn't be afraid of their parents. I'm sure that it's very frustrating for you that your daughter is beginning to show poor academic habits at such a young age. The first thing to remember is that you and your wife must show a united front to your daughter when it comes to discipline. It may be difficult for her to perform the way you want her to because she is conflicted on what is expected of her. Sit down with your wife and make some decisions as to how you will handle her academic and behavioral performance.
It sounds like you have her on a pretty strict schedule after school, and that's a good idea to keep it that way until her grades improve. However, you're correct in thinking that she needs to have some free time also. She's only 10 years old, and still needs to enjoy childhood. I would suggest using the weekends as a time for family and some relaxation. It might even be a good idea to create some type of reward system where she can earn something special on the weekend if she completes all her assignments for the week. Remind your wife that your daughter needs motivation to keep getting good grades. If she continues to get negative feedback from your wife and you, she will be less likely to want to improve.
It would also be a good idea to meet with her teachers to discuss her performance and what they would suggest to improve it. If you are still finding that things aren't improving, try talking to the school counselor to get insight on possible behavior changing ideas.
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This sounds like a difficult situation, but I think you are on the right track in thinking that a child should not be scared of her parents. It sounds like the problem is two-fold: on the one hand, your daughter is not doing as well in school as you would like. For this, I would advise meeting with her school counselor and discussing the problem. School counselors are there to help struggling students with anything from academic to emotional problems.
The second problem is that your daughter is scared of the reaction at home when she brings home a bad grade. I think that you should try making her feel comfortable talking to you and your wife about her problems at school. Make sure that you try to stay positive when she fails a test. Instead of becoming angry, say something supportive so that she knows that you are on her side, and will not yell at her. This may actually help her at school in the long run, as she will be able to relax a bit more.
Hope that helps!