It happens to everyone – a child just cannot understand the material, they underestimate how much studying they need to do, or they just have a bad day at a bad time. When your child brings home bad grades, they are in a very vulnerable place that you can use to shape them into better students, better children, and eventually better adults. Here are a few ways you can respond that will bless them for years to come, and help them do better in the future!
1. Stay calm
Remember you are probably not the only person disappointed in this situation. Take the time to breathe, and make sure that when you address the issue with your child you are able to stay calm. There is research that shows yelling is really bad for children, leading to aftermath ranging from bratty behavior to depression, even in otherwise warm and loving homes. Take the time to discuss the situation with them kindly and calmly, and listen to what they are telling you.
2. Have honest conversations about what happened and why.
When you know your child to be smart and capable, it is easy to just assume they were being lazy or they do not care enough. It can be just as easy to blame the teacher and think the deck must be stacked against your child. Attend parent-teacher conferences and ask about your child’s behavior and work, and see if you can identify some common themes that are preventing your child’s success.
3. Work with your child to make a success-focused plan for the future
Once you have fully understood the situation, try to take the focus off of the previous mistakes and instead focus on how the future will be better. Take a look at the decisions that led to the bad grade(s), and talk to your child about how different decisions can lead to a different result! Praise them for their courage to overcome setbacks, and let them know you don’t expect them to be perfect. Don’t let them get themselves down, and remind them of times and ways they have succeeded before.
Now that you have these strategies, you can go into the school year with the confidence that, when your child makes mistakes (as every child does), you will be able to help them do better moving forward!