How to Deal with a Bad Report Card

By Huntington Learning Center

How to Deal with a Bad Report Card

During your child’s elementary school career you may be faced with a less-than-stellar report card. Although bad grades are upsetting, as a parent, the best thing you can do is to remain calm and take the opportunity to demonstrate to your child how to overcome difficulties. Speak to your child about his or her grades, but try to do so while maintaining a positive attitude. Let your child know that when he or she falls, you will be there to catch him or her, and help him or her get back on track with his or her school work.

Here are some tips for parents dealing with a child’s disappointing report card:

  • Commend the positive. Find something on your child’s report card to praise. Your child is most likely aware he or she was not doing well. Your first comment should not be negative. Set the precedent that your child can come to you with problems and you will help your child address them, instead of berating your child for poor performance.
  • Discuss the bad grades rationally. Alert your child to the fact that your expectations were not met. Once you know that your student understands that he or she has underperformed, discuss potential reasons behind the grades. These causes could be forgetting to do or hand in homework, or lack of focus in the classroom. Pinpoint the problem areas so that you can form a game plan together.
  • Strategize how to do better next time. Set goals for the next report card and strategize how your child can achieve them. Brainstorm ways to help your child. Perhaps your child requires more homework help, or a quieter environment. Would changing seats in the classroom help? Sometimes small changes can produce the desired results.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher. Teachers are with your child during the school day, and should be able to provide more insight into your child’s academic difficulties.
  • Provide the necessary resources for your student to succeed. Whether you sit with your child while he or she completes homework assignments, or seek the help of a learning center, it is imperative to find a way to get your child back on the road to success. For example, a professional reading tutor specializes in teaching children who are struggling with comprehension or word recognition. By utilizing the skills of an expert in the subject with which your child is having problems, you may be able to accelerate progress and help get your student caught up and thriving again.

A bad report card does not have to be a catastrophe; it may just be a small road bump in your child’s education. Your child should understand that failure is not necessarily to be feared, and can be a learning experience. Remain calm and give your child the necessary resources to get back on track if they stumble at some point in their schooling. 


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