Discussing first report cards with your children

    submitted by MKPlus,

    First report cards are showing up for most students.

    Parents are already attending back to-school nights, and parent-teacher conferences and are faced with having to react to these first school reports.

    Following are some strategies for talking to children and adolescents about school reports.

    *Never forget that all students want to be successful in school!

    *All students, whether elementary, middle or high school is sensitive to their parents’ responses to their report cards. Students want parents to think of them as being successful in school.

    *High school students, in particular, are keenly aware of their standing as it relates to their peers. They understand the impact of their grades on college choices. 

    *Do not mistake displays of irritation or indifference by your students as apathy about their grades. 

    *Every student knows at some level that grades matter.

    *If receiving a positive report card, parents should compliment the achievement. Parents might praise the behaviors of their child that contributed to this result. Parents could call out for praise the child who regularly does her homework; diligently studies for tests; cooperates in school; and takes pride in her achievements.

    *If the report card is mixed or more negative, take time to first examine your own feelings. For example, are you upset, worried, or frustrated? Think in advance about how to address these feelings before speaking with your son or daughter.

    *Students can be disappointed that they did not get better grades.  Acknowledge their aspirations that their work should have resulted in higher grades. 

    *Talk to each child alone, not with siblings present.

    *Initial conversation should be no longer than 10-15 minutes. 

    *Start with positive things. End with an expression of encouragement. A hug never hurts.

    *Ask questions about the circumstances of school life, for example, go through their school day is like (friends, teachers,)

    *Consider whether any changes in family life are affecting school performance?

    *Be sure to inquire of teachers, coaches, and supervisors of extracurricular activities to get their input about your child. 

    *Be patient, progress happens slowly. Remember kids want to succeed and appreciate your support. 

    *Tell your children you love them and are proud of their efforts.