Handling Your Child's Report Card
It is the end of the school year and parents await reports cards that will tell them how their child performed during the term and the recent promotional exams.
Parents however, do not really need to wait for a report card to tell them about their child’s progress. If parents are doing as they should and paying attention to the child’s progress during the school term, they will know how the child is doing at school.
If a parent depends on the report card to tell them how his/her child performed during the school term, that parent might not be paying enough attention to their child’s education during the term and they might get a bit of a shock when they see a report card that is not too pleasing.
What makes the end of year reports a bit different is the results from promotional exams and parents are usually a bit anxious as they wait to find out the promotional exam results and if their child was promoted to a higher class.
It is important to remember that the report card is an indication of where your child is in his or her studies and it tells you if the child needs some help or if he is handling his studies well.
If the report card is good, congratulate the child and have a chat and let them know how proud you are of them. If there were one or two bad grades, focus on the good grades and encourage the child to work harder on the rough patches.
Handing over a report card can be an incredibly intimidating and scary moment for a child that did not do too good during the term and the exam and parents should try to handle this moment to allow the child to know that while the report is bad or not good enough, it just means that they have to work out a plan for improvement.
A report card should never be used as a tool to punish or humiliate a child. Whether your child has one bad grade or an entire report card of bad grades, it’s important that you demonstrate to your child that you still care about him.
For some parents, an easy response to a bad report card is, “You not for real, you can’t be showing me that.” or “You wasting my money?” But every negative comment hurts the child and it does nothing to motivate a child who has just demonstrated that he needs motivation and help.
Instead of focusing on one bad grade or even a report card full of bad grades, try to point out the positive aspects of your child’s report card. Look for something, even if it is a comment that says he is a well mannered child or that he is always punctual, take the negative and congratulate him on it.
Children may get caught up in endless repetitions of regret and recrimination, going over what they did or failed to do and how they might have done it differently.
This is the appropriate time to chat with the child and let him know that you understand how he feels and how hard it must be to have to go through this moment. Plan a time to sit down and work out what you would both do, to do better next term.
Talk about his feelings, what he likes, how he feels about his school and any particular concern that he might have and let him know that everyone fails at some time, but the important thing is, getting up after failing.
If the experience has been too stressful or their results were not what they hoped for, young people may feel like giving up as an immediate reaction. You may need to guide the child firmly and let them know that everyone fails at some time and tell them about how you overcame some difficulty.It is very important that you recognize when a traditional education is not working with your child and the situation might call for getting some extra help. You might need to have him or her evaluated to see if there is a learning challenge but by no means do nothing.
You might also want to look at activities that the child likes and use these activities to motivate the child during the summer.
Look at the home environment and see if that contributed to the child’s poor performance and if that is a possibility, you have the summer to work on that as well.
Parents must also bear in mind that we cannot force what we want for the child on him, we must listen to the child and be guided by their dreams and their likes and dislikes.
Whatever pose they put on, your child cares deeply about their results and about your attitudes towards them. Encourage them to talk and reassure them that you are behind them and love them whatever the results.
Put things into perspective. Everyone loses out at some time or other and failing an exam isn’t the end of the world. They can repaeat the year or sharpen up on what they failed in during the summer and return to school motivated and prepared to do better. What is important is for you to look for positive ways forward, to consider all the options available and to be behind them 100%.
Anticipate underlying problems that might have been put on the backburner during the exam period could suddenly emerge once the crisis is over. You may need to acknowledge what has been simmering under the surface for some time and address it, head on during the summer.