Children’s grades are an emotional subject. As a parent, it’s tough not to worry that poor grades for your child at any age will not impact or indicate their success in life or their image in the eyes of others. If your child is struggling with their grades it can be deeply frustrating for a parent to see both their encouragements and threats or punishments not produce results.
It’s important to remember that grades touch your child’s emotions as well, though not necessarily in the same way. Emphasis on grades or school in general, can produce anger, particularly in young children because play and fun time has been taken away. If your child is struggling in school they may feel overwhelmed by confusing information even if they do not express it, not to mention an immense fear of being seen as stupid or not meeting the expectations of the most important people in their whole world; their parents.
Before your child can truly be successful in school, they must enjoy life and learning in general. If your child is currently struggling in school, make sure that they have something they are learning that is enjoyable to them, even if it is a sport or musical instrument.
Confidence is the key to improved grades, and success in life in general. If your child doesn’t know in their heart that they CAN succeed, then the battle is lost before it’s begun. Make sure your child experiences success repeatedly, even if it’s not related to academics. Then build in small academic accomplishments. These accomplishments could come from school, such as a single home work assignment, or it could come from home study worksheets that you provide. The source doesn’t matter, what matters is that your child has repeated firsthand experience with their own academic success, no matter how small. These are success that you will build on, both in terms of actual grades and assignments and emotionally in the form of confidence. Make sure that each success is recognized by both parents and the family in general.
Discipline is more important than intelligence when it comes to grades; this is actually true in almost every pursuit in life. Disciplined children and adults repeatedly outperform intelligent ones. It is rare that a lack of intelligence can be sited as the primary source for poor grades. Unless your child has a SEVERE learning disability, then the source for poor academic performance will lie either in inadequate discipline, poor self confidence, or a lack of understanding of the rules or areas that teachers places the greatest emphasis and reward. Discipline, like confidence or any other skill, must be taught. For more ideas and information in building discipline for your child, please see the article titled ‘Discipline for kids’.
One of the most over-looked reasons for poor grades develops in children who are not allowed, or able, to excel as deeply as possible in the academic pursuits that truly interest them. Imagine going to personal trainer with the goal of losing weight. You love to run and know that in the past it has helped you lose weight quickly. However, your new trainer tells you that running isn’t very important and instead you need to sit on a stationary bike, then attend a step class, then lift weights with the muscle-heads. It would be easy to lose your interest in fitness in general if you weren’t allowed to pursue the thing that you enjoy the most and had the most success in, wouldn’t it? Encourage your child’s exploration in any academic pursuit, even if it isn’t something he or she is currently learning in school. If your child is not allowed to excel in what they are most interested in, they will soon lose the desire to pursue anything else.