So your child didn't get an A or B in his/her end-of-term report. What now? As parents/guardians, we need to understand that this experience can be a golden opportunity to teach our kids about dealing with failure and the makings of a great come back. And this lesson is going to stick with them far beyond their school years. But first, let's talk about a few things that you should do in the meanwhile:
I know that you work very hard to make sure your kids have the best education and opportunities. And you expect that, "the least this child could do is get good grades." But please understand that this is only one grade and a drop in the bucket when compared to your kids’ entire academic career, far less their entire lifetime of achievements. Screaming at your child isn’t going to change this grade. Gather yourself and remember that you’re the one in charge, so you set the tone.
Do not insult your child.
You are both disappointed but please don’t insult your child. It will only cause much more pain and further contention or animosity between the two of you.
Take some time to internalize.
There’s no need to rush to review the report with your child. Take some time to go through your child’s report to get a deeper understanding. Use the time to compare last term’s report. Note the subjects that he/she performed well or not so good in. This is how you can ask specific questions in a later conversation with your child and/or child's teacher.
Have an open, honest discussion with your child.
Clearly communicate to your child that one bad grade isn’t the end of the world, nor does it define his/her intelligence. However, talk about the fact that we have to take pride in our work and always put our best foot forward. Ask your child specific questions about his/her performance in certain subjects. This should give you a better understanding and more context about what happened during the term and why they may not have performed well.
Make a plan for improvement with your child.
Based on your child’s report, you might want to get additional support in certain subjects but please don’t immediately enroll your child in lessons for every single subject that he or she did poorly in. It might be more helpful to consult with a trained educator to help you to decide what is the best course of action at this particular stage in their schooling.
Schedule a call with your child's teacher.
If you're unable to schedule a call with your child's teacher, be sure to write down your questions and queries to bring up in the next parents day meeting. It's important to find out if your child has shown any signs of learning disabilities so that any intervention can take place very early. Be open and honest in your discussion with your child's teacher. Remember that this person potentially spends more time with your child during the school term, so he/she will have very valuable feedback.
Use the holidays to relax and recharge.
I know that it’s tempting to use the holidays to catch up on school work and you think that you are running out of time. You do have time. Learning is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s been a long, hectic year and we all need rest.
One bad grade is not the end of the world. As adults, we know better so let's please not make this into a traumatic experience for everyone involved. It is a great opportunity to help your child to develop the mindset and skills to deal with failure which he/she will undoubtedly have to face in the real world. Stuff happens. We move.