8 Tips for Talking About Bad Grades
All kids have a bad grade sometimes. But if you’re feeling frustrated about talking to them about it, here are tips from our experts.
Every child brings home the occasional disappointing grade. Sometimes their own hurt or shame is enough to set them on the right path. Other times, parental intervention may be needed to make sure it’s not the beginning of a pattern. But when is the best time to talk? And what do you say?
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Here are some tips from pediatrician Courtney Nolan, DO.
Don’t let a bad report card be the motive for your first talk about your expectations. Discuss this each year with your child.
Although you want to address a bad grade when it occurs, take a break to cool down if you find yourself angry, Dr. Nolan recommends. Remember that what is important is what happens from this point forward. You can’t change the past.
Be sure your child knows that, while you dislike the grade, you love her. Keep in mind that although grades are important, they are just one measure of success.
“Uncovering the cause of the poor performance will let you address it before it becomes a bigger problem.”
You’ll want to know why your child got the poor grade or report card. Is something going on at school? At home? Did he simply not study? Were assignments missed? Is she spending too much time with friends? “Uncovering the cause of the poor performance will let you address it before it becomes a bigger problem,” says Dr. Nolan.
The teacher’s input can shed valuable light on whether there is a need for more help, or if your child may have signs of a learning disability.
Be supportive of school, regardless of your own level of education. If you make learning enjoyable, children will do their best because they love to learn. That’s a much better long-term motivator than fear of punishment.
It’s good to be a concerned, involved parent. But don’t encourage your child to compete with others over grades. “Children should compete only with themselves and do their best,” Dr. Nolan stresses. Pressure can result in depression, not sleeping and other significant problems.
Check your child’s organizational skills. Limit television. Provide a good study environment and establish homework times. Be careful not to over-schedule your child with extracurricular activities.