Among my five children, there are some who get good school grades easily and some who don’t. That’s why I’m so glad someone gave me this great advice: “Worry less about the grade at the top of the page and more about how your child got it.” Here’s how it works in real life: One of my children brings home a C. This child studied very hard. This child gave it his best. I am not going to get upset about that C. Another of my children brings home a B-. This child didn’t study at all and she didn’t try her best. That B- warrants a chat.
Worry less about the grade at the top of the page and more about how your child got it.
With school grades, it really is about the big picture, like work ethic, good study habits, and organization skills, but sometimes seeing a bad grade sends parents into a tailspin. This is especially true for parents who had high expectations placed on them as kids. If you need a hand reacting the right way to your kids’ grades, try these 5 steps.
1. Assess yourself.
Before you talk with your child, look at yourself and see what your motives are regarding your children’s grades. Answer this question: “Why do I want my child to make good grades?” Do you want your kids to make good grades so you can look good in front of their teachers? Do you want them to make good grades so they can go to a prestigious college? Once you can identify what’s behind your desire for them to make good grades, consider if it’s a legitimate reason and remember that your children are not their grades.
2. Look for the good.
Look beyond the grades and remind yourself of all of the wonderful qualities your child has. Is she doing well emotionally and socially? That’s a huge A+ right there. Is he kind and responsible at home? Does she try really hard at school? Start from a point of praise and move on from there.
3. Take a deep breath.
If you need to cool down before you talk to your child, be sure to take the time you need. You don’t want to swoop down on your child when you’re angry, tired, or irritated about something else. Breath deeply and pray.
4. Speak with love.
This is your child you’re talking about here. You’d give your life for this person, so give him or her your love. Don’t name call or generalize. Think about the impact your words are going to have on your child. He or she likely will remember what you say for a very long time.
5. Take action.
Before you’ve talked with your child, investigate plans of action. If you’re going to implement new study rules or hire a tutor, have those ideas in place so you can present them to your child at the end of your talk. Give your child hope, understanding, and love.
What’s your approach for responding to grades?