Lite98 Parent Talk
Did ya hear about the 11 year old who faked his own kidnapping to avoid bringing home a bad report card? OR how about the teacher who wrote this comment on a report card… “Since my last report, your child has hit rock bottom and started to dig.” Remember … it could be worse. It’s a report card, not a death sentence.
Don’t Panic! Give yourself time to react and respond. Breathe. Take 10 minutes, an hour or even more. Consider what your goal is for your child. Do you wish to have an honest child? Or do you wish to have a “successful by any means” child? Your response may influence how the child views him or herself, and his or her ability.
Take a look at your own expectations. Is your child truly capable of making all A’s? Remember that children have many natural gifts, and not all gifts will be academic in nature. Your child most likely has strengths AND weaknesses, just like you. Make sure you aren’t placing your own desired strengths upon your child.
Start a discussion, but end the discussion if it becomes a lecture. As the parent, you have the opportunity to assist your child in bringing up bad grades. A discussion with your child is a two-way conversation, in which the child and parent uncover the reason together for the faltering grades, and agree on a plan of action.
Offer a path forward. The wise parent will offer choices to the child, but the choices will be “parent-approved” , i.e. “It looks like the amount of after-school activities you have are cutting into homework time. Two activities have to go – which two are you going to put off until your grades come back up?”
Try to align consequences with the problem at hand. It’s easy to let our emotions rule our brains when we feel disappointed or anxious. Will this bad report card impact our child’s chance for college? Most likely, the answer is no. Will this bad report card impact our child’s first choice of college? Maybe, Maybe not. Talk to your child’s teacher to get an accurate picture of how important this particular report card is.
Don’t hold a grudge, and don’t expect every report card to be bad. If the bad report card is not a chronic issue, then treat it as a temporary setback. Remember, mistakes children make while they are young are EXCELLENT opportunities for learning a lesson.
Lastly, remind your child that bringing up poor grades is not impossible, but it is sometimes unpleasant, and that you believe in your child and his ability to overcome this setback. Fixing one’s own mistakes creates confidence and a strong sense of self.
Remember: Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a mistake, and a child can’t learn how to be resilient if they never make any mistakes to begin with.