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How to deal with disappointing grades

Crumpled paper balls - how to deal with disappointing gradesThe day that your child’s report card shows up in the mail has become a hand-wringing, anxiety-inducing debacle that leaves everyone in your household angry and exhausted. She used to have such good grades, but in the last year, she has suddenly blossomed into a social butterfly and now spends more time texting, Tweeting, Facebooking, and rolling her eyes at you than hitting the books. Oh, the exciting and fabulous life of a child! In the meantime, all you can see is the dream of an Ivy League school slipping away and you don’t think she has any concept of the future she’s throwing away. However, verbally attacking and threatening your child is not an option, so you’re going to have to find another way to deal with her disappointing grades and get her back on track.

1.  Don’t panic! Remember, you’re the adult here. If you start freaking out, she’ll start freaking out (whether she shows it or just gives you one of those disgusted “I can’t believe you’re my parent” looks that kids have down to a science). You are the authority figure and you need to be calm and in control if you want to have any chance of getting through to her and staying on top of the situation.

2.  Discuss what went wrong. Turn off her cell phone, remove her ear buds, and sit down to have a serious talk about what has caused her grades to become so abysmal. Chances are good that she doesn’t like the situation any better than you…no child wants to show a report card to their parents and face disapproval. So simply getting her to own up to her part in the situation is a good start.

3.  Make a plan. As the parent, it’s your job to set parameters for kids to conduct themselves, and apparently your child is in desperate need of a lesson in self-discipline. Don’t blame yourself; we all want to give our children room to grow and sometimes it can be a hard process to observe. But now that she has shown her inability to monitor her activities and make responsible choices in time management, you’re going to have to implement a schedule for her to stick to.

4.  Play a role. Don’t just drop the bomb that you are now requiring three dedicated hours each night for homework and then leave her to it. Take an active role in helping your child improve. You needn’t feel like a jailer watching her every move, either. Have her do homework at the dining table or in the living room where you can keep an eye on her while you catch up on your reading, and be available if she needs help.

5. Offer rewards and impose punishments. If you simply can’t seem to get her on track, you’re going to have to pry the phone from her texting fingers and talk turkey. Most children respond well to either rewards or punishments (sometimes both), so start by removing the tools that started the trouble in the first place and return them or offer other incentives when her grades go up.  And remember, follow-through is everything (for both of you)!

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How to deal with disappointing grades was originally posted by Our Kids is Canada’s trusted source for information on private schools and summer camps.

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