Every parent wants their child to excel at school. Seeing your kids doing well academically not only makes you proud of their achievements and abilities, but it also reassures you that they have a chance of getting into a good college, and having an excellent career.
It isn’t very shocking then that you feel disappointed when your child brings home a bad progress report. However, no matter how let down you might be feeling, as the adult in the picture, it falls upon your shoulders to take charge of the situation and handle it responsibly.
Sit down with your child and discuss the progress report with them. Feel free to show your concern, but in an encouraging and supportive way. The first confrontation is of the utmost importance. Don’t be angry at them or blame them. This will only make them defensive and prevent them from sharing their thoughts with you. If everything goes well, your kids will be able to pinpoint at least some of the difficulties that they have been facing.
When discussing the progress report, focus on the positive. There has to be some good thing in the report. Mention and appreciate that. Acknowledge the fact that they worked hard and express sympathy over them not getting good grades. Whether or not they show it, your kids already feel bad. It doesn’t do to make them feel worse.
Next, you need to make an assessment yourself. First, see if your kids’ performance has gone down after some major changes in their life, such as switching schools, losing friends, or even entering high school. If this turns out to be the reason, they will need your support to feel better again and be able to get back to work.
If, however, it is the course they find challenging, you need to find out if the problems they are facing are limited to one subject or not. If your child has gotten bad grades in specific subjects, that means they need additional assistance in those subjects only. If your child has overall bad grades, that might suggest they are struggling with issues such as time management, motivation, or a lack of basic understanding. You will need to address the specific issue they have.
It is always good to have a second opinion. Consult someone who you think would be able to provide useful insight. Comments on the progress report can often hint at the key problem. Your child’s teachers are some of the best-suited individuals to make a smart judgment. This means that you can have a conclusive discussion and safely rely on their opinion regarding your child’s shortcomings.
Sometimes, you might need to look for seemingly unlikely causes. It might be that the teaching method or subject never evoked your child’s interest and was not fun or challenging enough.
It might be something that your child is deliberately hiding. Problems like bullying and anxiety are often underestimated, partly because children are too ashamed and uncomfortable to talk about them. Addressing this means that you earn their trust and let them know how to comfortably communicate their problems.
Teach children to look at failure as an opportunity to do better next time, and to use it to see where they need to work. It is almost never advisable to ground or punish your kids on these occasions.
After establishing that you are on their team and willing to help in any way necessary, work together to set realistic goals and help them strive to achieve them. Give them whatever resources they need to succeed, such as the professional services of a tutor and check on their progress regularly. Be sure to give your kids positive attention when they meet some goals or requirements. Even simple praise can do wonders.