What to Do When Your Child Brings Home Not So Good Grades?

There’s more to life than grades – let your child know you love him for who he is.

A mother of a primary school child went to great lengths to fight for the three marks which she felt her daughter deserved but did not get because of a technical glitch. She argued endlessly with the school authorities to justify her argument. However, the school could not oblige her request.

Many parents today do just about everything to fight for their children’s grades. They are obsessed with their children’s test scores. As such, many children grow up in an environment where everything else in their lives matter more than themselves.

The father of a 14-year-old is trying to communicate with his son but is unable to get in touch with him. The boy, who is away on a scholarship, refuses to respond to his e-mails. Why? The father wants to talk to his son about his grades. He is worried that his slipping grades may cause him to lose the scholarship. His teenage son is probably yearning for a father-son conversation that focuses on something else other than his grades.

Our children want to be loved and respected for who they are, apart from their school grades. They are, first and foremost, children whom we have brought into the world. Before they started schooling, we loved them for their smiles and their very existence. What happened to us along the way?

There are parents who live vicariously through their children’s success. They get emotionally involved in their children’s activities.

When the child so much as loses one mark, the parent reprimands him. The parent’s love is conditional upon how well the child performs or meets goals. Children who want to please their parents will work towards these goals. The last thing any child wants is to lose his parent’s love.

When teenagers are pushed beyond their abilities, or if they fail to live up to their parents’ expectations, they may seek affirmation elsewhere. They may also yield to negative peer pressure because they have low self-esteem. Their parents cannot fulfil their needs, so they turn to others to fill the emotional emptiness in their lives.

We should strive to keep a balance in our lives. Are we doing too much, or too little, for our children? They need our support, in their interests and studies. They want to be acknowledged for who they are – not how well they perform in school. Our love for them should be unconditional.

Although good grades are important, acknowledging our children as individuals is more important. We want our children to be successful. Instead of nitpicking on one or two points in their test scores or scolding them for their careless mistakes, parents can help their children learn to cope by teaching them problem-solving skills and offering proper guidance so that they can make good decisions.

Today, we are fortunate to have all kinds of resources and information to help us raise our children. There are so many ways for our children to succeed in life. A child’s learning is not confined within the classroom walls.

Our enriched lives should make us more tolerant and compassionate towards others, especially our children. We should not force them to do what they are not ready for or pressure them to score well in exams. We should allow our children time to grow and learn. We should also help them to discover their talents outside school.

Each child’s learning process is different. Some children have talents that can be measured, while others do not. But these children may have talents that are non-academic or can’t be assessed by standardised tests in schools. Children have different gifts and talents – we must appreciate these. Then we should help them achieve their goals, not ours.

We should make every effort to show our love to our children; our affections should not have to be earned.

If you want to communicate well with your child, make requests instead of demands and you will find that you will succeed in bonding with him. A child knows that he has a choice in how he behaves. When his parents request good behaviour, he knows they recognise that he has the ability to think and make decisions. He feels good that he has control over his behaviour. He will eventually learn to take responsibility for it.

In communicating with your child, ensure that he realises that he is far more important than his grades, even though grades matter. Your child should never feel that he is only worth the marks he gets. He will do better when you assure him that he is loved and trusted.