How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?

A bad report card is the biggest nightmare not only for students but also for the parents. In a world of competition, it is challenging for an individual to compete, survive, and emerge victoriously. For a child, the struggle is even harder. Poor or low academic performance can stress out a child. The way a parent handles a bad report card can be a defining factor. So, how to deal with bad grades?

Children are innocent little beings looking to gain the love and approval of those around them. They are constantly in competition with their peers to impress their teachers with good scores.

What starts as an innocent rivalry turns extremely competitive by the time the child reaches the higher class. More and more focus is on the child’s academic performance rather than the talents and hobbies.

Parents and teachers start raising their expectations with each passing class. The complete attention is on the results and the report cards of the child. The child’s performance is considered good by the parents only if s/he scores distinction.

But what if the child is unable to perform well and ends up with a bad report card?


Most Common Reasons for Poor Performance


Various reasons affect the performance of the child. I have listed a few of the most common reasons for poor performance:

1) Ill Health

If a child falls ill during an examination, his performance can be affected depending on his illness’s severity.

2) Stress and Blank Outs

The pressure to score well and meet everyone’s expectations can be extremely stressful and mess up the study cycle. A student may have blank outs and forget everything he studied while writing exams because of this.

3) Difficulty to Understand

Some concepts or subjects are tough to understand, and a student may find them difficult while learning. He may skip these concepts. If these concepts are asked in exams, the students’ scores may drop if he fails to answer them.

4) Burn Out

Too much studying will burn out the child, completely affecting his sleep and food cycle. This can affect the child’s exams the next day.

5) Lack of Motivation

Lack of motivation depends on the child’s connection to the subject. If the child has a favorite subject, he will enjoy studying it. But if the child hates the subject, he won’t have any motivation to study it.

6) Emotional Unbalance

A child may be emotionally weak due to some unforeseen or unfortunate circumstances affecting his performance in exams.

So, How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?

The way a parent handles a bad report card can be a defining factor in a child’s life.

If a parent mishandles the situation and goes about insulting the child, it can scar the child mentally and emotionally and may drive him to take some wrong step.

I have come across various parents who pull their child’s ear or insult the child in front of the teacher and the class during open houses or parent-teachers’ meetings.

This not only embarrasses the child but also affects his future performance and social interactions. A child’s confidence can take a big negative dip.

Having a good parent-teacher relationship can help your child perform better and build confidence gradually.

Five Tips For Handling A Bad Report Card

There are some sensible and empathetic ways of dealing with bad report cards. Here are some to deal with bad grades, which I suggest the parents follow:

1) Stay Calm

Firstly, and most importantly, stay calm. Don’t burst out or get angry at the child. If you are short-tempered, try not to read the report card. Let your spouse check the report card instead.

Before saying anything to the child after reading the report card, take three deep breaths, and count to ten. If you still feel angry or believe you will lash out, delay talking about the report card to the next day when you will be calmer and accustomed to the situation.

2) Find the Reason

Secondly, find out the reason why the child’s low academic performance. It can be due to some unnoticed learning disabilities. Sometimes, it can be parents’ fault itself where they have provided the child with ample free entertainment time during exams resulting in bad performance.

Another reason can be the difficulty level of the subject.

Subjects like Mathematics and Science are something that most students find tough. If this is the case, get a tutor for your child. Sometimes, the child may be ill or emotionally unstable during the time of the exams. If this is the case, find out the exact reason.

3) Talk to the child

Spend some time talking to your child. Be calm and let the child explain what went wrong.  Find out the reason for the poor academic performance. Maybe the child failed to understand the question or could not complete his paper on time resulting in bad scores.

The best way to deal with bad grades is to let the child tell you why they scored less. Have a welcoming approach so that the child is freely able to share all his concerns with you.

4) Find out the positives

A report card is not completely bad. Even a bad report card has some positivity in it. Find out where the child has performed well and appreciate the child for it. Use motivating and encouraging words when talking about the bad scores. This is the best motivating way to deal with bad grades.

5) Understand the grading system

Each school and each teacher has their own style of grading. Some teachers give more emphasis on classroom participation, whereas others give more importance to written exams. You need to understand where the child has scored less. This will help you understand why poor academic performance in the report card.

6) Provide support

Lastly, provide constant support to your child.

Try to help your child perform well by devoting some of your time to their studies. Encourage the regular practice of the subjects where the child is weak. Come up with a game plan so the next report card won’t be so bad. This means setting realistic goals for the next quarter and helping your child brainstorm ways to meet these goals.

At all times, keep an eye on your behavior as well as the child’s behavior. Don’t play the blame game. Be supportive. Talk to the school teacher if you have any concerns.

This can improve their grades and help them feel pride in their schoolwork, and do a lot to build good self-esteem.

Final Thoughts,

Bad report cards don’t mean a bad future. Parents should be cautious when you handle a bad report card. Remember, a child can achieve all the worldly successes with support and encouragement. Hence, motivate your child to follow their dreams and passion.

Don’t judge the child solely based on their poor academic performance. Rather, help the child understand and learn from their mistakes and grow. Low academic performance can be improved. However, harsh words, once spoken, can’t be taken back.

How do you deal with bad grades? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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More useful tips for students to perform well:
Felicia Nazareth
Felicia Nazareth is a full-time teacher and a writer with a keen interest in lifestyle and music. Watching her favorite sitcom 'Friends', and singing are the hobbies that she enjoys the most. Not to mention, she also loves writing and expressing her thoughts to the world around her.

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