How to React When Seeing Your Child’s Report Card

Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.

My oldest son Benjamin is a very smart kid, but I’ve noticed for a while now that he’s been all over the place with his school grades. During one marking period, he’ll bring in mostly A’s, and in the next it’ll have some C’s and even a D. I know that he’s a teen and that life is starting to change for him. My husband and I don’t want to be too hard on him when he brings home a bad grade, but quite frankly, I’m freaking out! If anything, we want to encourage him so that he can go the extra mile knowing that his parents are behind him with support, but don’t want him to think that those low grades are acceptable. Are there any tips for how to best react when he gets what I would call “bad” grades?

Seeing Your Child's Report Card

We’re sure that you can remember being a child, bringing your parents your report card and either being afraid of those low grades or happy to show off your high marks. How did your parents react? Now that you have kids of your own, how are you reacting when less-than-stellar grades are recorded on their report card? How about when they show major improvement? At Rice Psychology Group, we have a few tips to help you gauge a reaction to several different scenarios that we hope will be beneficial for both you and your child.

How you react to your child’s successes or shortcomings is important, and if you’re having trouble figuring out what you should do, then our licensed psychologists in Tampa can provide some guidance.


Failing Grades

Get a discussion going about your kid’s failing grades instead of a lecture or berating session. Click To Tweet

No parent wants to see failing grades on their child’s report card, but there may come a time when you will, and how you handle the situation is very important. Firstly, STAY CALM and don’t lose your temper without hearing your child out. You may not know what issue she/he went through during that grading period that resulted in those grades.

If there are any grades that are above failing, focus first on those and ask how your child achieved them. In fact, focus on whatever you can that’s positive. Then it’s okay to explain that you aren’t happy with their failing grade, and ask why your child believes it happened. Get a discussion going about your kid’s failing grades instead of a lecture or berating session. Is there a specific subject they’re finding too difficult? Is he/she having trouble with friends? Have you noticed any behavioral signs? What is your child’s perspective of the teacher in that class?

Tell him/her that you believe in them and their ability to do better (if this is in fact the case). Consider if they’re going through anything outside of school that’s interfering with their education, and if so, let them know that you both can work together to improve their situation. Focus on your child’s strengths, what they’re doing that’s working and how they can use their strengths to perform better. This has proven to be more effective than focusing primarily on areas of weakness and failure.

Somewhat Improved Grades

Remember, even the smallest amount of school grade progress is still that – progress. Click To Tweet

If a grading period has passed and you’ve noticed that your child’s grades have improved slightly, but not to the level you were expecting, don’t come down on them for not doing better. Remember, even the smallest amount of school grade progress is still that – progress. Ask your child what he/she did differently to get better grades and encourage them to continue doing that. And tell them that you’re proud of what they’ve accomplished, even if it was something little. This will show your child that you’re looking at the entire picture, not just the negatives.


Significantly Improved Grades

If your child brought home low marks during their last grading period but surprised you with A’s and B’s during this one, then be sure and express your happiness with their results. Be cautious with your praise, however. You don’t want to say something like, “See? If you try harder, you do better.”

The issue with this is that perhaps your child did something differently to score those high marks instead of doing the same thing with more effort. This goes along with our previous point. Maybe what they did differently was easier for them. By doing the old thing with more effort, it can be harder for them to achieve good grades. Instead, you can say, “Great job! Keep up the good work and keep doing what you did last time to get these scores.”

Fantastic Grades

If your child brings home straight A’s, then be the proud parent that they deserve. Click To Tweet

If your child brings home straight A’s, then be the proud parent that they deserve. Congratulate him/her on what they’ve achieved and be sure to avoid language that can instill caution in them. “This is great! But you better keep these scores up or else!” is something your child doesn’t need to hear. “I’m so proud of you, I knew you could do it! With grades like these, you’re paving a great road to the future that you want for yourself.” is much more appropriate.

A Game Plan

If your child’s grades have yet to improve after several grading periods, then don’t be afraid to reach out to his/her teachers. Perhaps there’s a topic that’s much too difficult for them, or maybe your child is exhibiting a behavior that he/she disguises at home that the teacher has noticed that’s been causing their poor grades. Whatever the case, it’s best to sit down with your child and ask what they feel needs to be done to get better grades. Don’t be afraid to include their teachers as well to develop a game plan to ensure that the next report card will be one you’ll be proud of!

Here for You and Your Family

Our licensed psychologists in Tampa want nothing more than to see your child be successful, just as much as you do. If you feel that you need some help in guiding your son or daughter to do better with their academics or address a personal issue that’s affecting their school life, then contact us today to schedule your appointment.

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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