Dealing with Poor Grades
  • | October 5, 2016
When the report card comes in the sticker shock can rival that of some luxury automobiles. Despite your best efforts, your child is falling behind and the report card isn’t looking so great. There are any number of reasons for poor scholastic performance and it can be a frustrating time for both child and parent alike.

Poor grades can make a child feel inferior to their classmates, can lead to depression, and even cause problems at home. Properly addressed, poor grades can be looked at not as a problem, but as a challenge that needs a solution. This can be a teachable moment for you and your child alike. Here are some things to keep in mind and some tips to try out if you find your child falling behind in school.

  1. React with concern rather than anger. Anger may not be the best choice of reactions. Anger immediately makes your child feel threatened or defensive. You won’t accomplish much with those kind of shields up. Instead, try to come from a place of concern and helpfulness. You catch more flies with honey after all.

  2. Don’t blame the teachers. It is probably not the teacher’s fault that your child is falling behind. Yes, there are certainly “bad teachers” out there but it is more likely your child’s grades are a relatively accurate representation of the amount of effort they are putting into the class as opposed to some inexplicable grudge the teacher is holding against them. If you have a legitimate gripe with a teacher, then absolutely take it up with them directly or with school officials but you should be the one to make that determination. Don’t just assume your child is telling the whole story when their reason for poor grades is simply: “oh she hates me.”

  3. Monitor homework time. Make a period of time each day designated as “homework time” and enforce it. Kids cannot always be counted on to tell the whole truth when asked about their homework so make sure they are hitting the books each day so they keep up with the class.

  4. Ask about extra help/tutoring. Many schools provide extra help or tutoring at no additional costs either after or before school hours. If your child is insistent that they are trying their best but still falling behind, then consider getting them extra help. There is no shame in needing a little extra tutoring and make sure your child knows that. Outside tutoring is a possibility as well.

  5. Explain the importance of good grades. Now is a great time to teach responsibility and work ethic. Poor grades can lead to poor placement in future classes. Poor placement in future classes can limit the number of colleges your child could attend which can in turn have impacts on career opportunities. No, one poor grade in 5th grade is not going to set off a doomsday chain of events that handicap your child for the rest of their life but teaching/helping them to get on the right path today will only help them tomorrow.

Poor grades can be difficult to deal with for children as well as their parents. It’s important to keep the best interests of your child in mind when dealing with their commitment to schoolwork and to always be as helpful and supportive as possible. Sometimes it will be necessary to lay down the law and be firm, however your children will thank you in the long run if you can help motivate them towards success.

Good luck.