How to deal with a disappointing report card

End-of-year-report-time can make both parents and children anxious. Here are some tips to deal with receiving a ‘bad’ report card.

It’s almost the end of another school year and most of you are anxiously waiting to receive your child’s report card. The year has been full of assignments, orals, tests, and exams. Some of you may already have had meetings with your child’s teachers, especially if your child has been battling academically.

The most important thing to remember is although your child’s report card is important, it’s just a piece of paper. Receiving a negative or disappointing report may make you anxious about your child’s capabilities and academic performance, but there are far more important factors to consider. 

For instance, your child’s emotional well-being.

They are just as anxious as you. All children want to feel like they have made you proud.

Here are 5 ways to deal with a disappointing report card. 

1. Take a moment

Upon receiving your child’s report, read through it carefully, note the positives before you lament over the negatives. Let all that you are reading digest, mull over it a little. Take a moment to reflect on all your child has achieved this year. Whether it be in only one subject, sports, cultural activities or his/her emotional development. 

2. Praise without judgment

It’s important to verbally praise your child in all that they have achieved in the year. Your child needs to hear that you are proud of them. By hearing words of affirmation you are building their self-esteem, solidifying their belief in your unconditional love for them and paving the way for a fruitful conversation about how to tackle the gaps in their academic performance.

3. Discuss the challenges

The word weakness has a negative connotation. Children hear that and automatically believe that they have failed (or are failures). In truth we all have weaknesses, none of us is perfect in all we do. Our achievements take time, effort and consistent practice. Be open with your child. Point out in a loving way where they might feel challenged. Ask questions about which subjects they found difficult, what they think they can improve on and what this success might look like to them.

4. Pave the way forward

Just because your child may battle academically does in no way mean that they are unsuccessful. Yes, academics are important, but (in my opinion) are not all that life is based on. Your child may experience excellence in many other areas. That being said, they do need to be educated. If your child is struggling to be proactive in their academic development, investigate ways in which to help them, partner with their teacher in developing a program that will help them. You’ve done the hard part, you have faced the reality that there might be a problem, but all problems can be solved. It’s just a matter of figuring out how.

5. Provide unconditional support

Now that you have assessed the situation, delved deeper into understanding it and put in place a plan of action, you need to be consistent in your support. There may be times when disappointing marks come home, take a breathe and start the above-mentioned process again. In the long run, your child will remember and cherish your committed support above anything else.

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