Your Child’s Report Card – With Love

Here is a different way to handle the “talk” about your child’s report card: Try “asking” about the report card rather than “talking” about it.
  1. Start with her highest grade: “I see you got a B in history. How did you do that?” Listen to the reasons  without giving your ideas. Instead,  say you are glad the reasons worked. Before going to the next subject, take a moment to smile and enjoy that success. (If your child answers, “I don’t know.” Try, ” You can think about it a minute. What would you guess a reason could be for the B in history?”)
  2. Go to the child’s next highest grade: “I see you got a B- in Language Arts. How did you do that?” Again, make no comments or suggestions about the reasons. Instead indicate you are glad he figured out a way to get that grade. (For example, “Good work. I’m glad you figured out how to study for the tests.”)
  3. Go to next highest grade: “I see you got a C in Math. How did you do that?” Without your own ideas or suggestions, indicate something you are glad about, “I’m glad you passed.” Or, if  reasons include what will happen in the future, “I’m glad you have a plan for how to handle Math in the next grading period.”
  4. Go to next highest grade: “I see you got a D in Science. How did you do that?” Indicate something you are glad about, “I’m glad you went to class every day.” Ask if he wants some help and let him know you are willing to help or find someone else who could help him. If help is not wanted now, indicate you trust that he or she will let you know. Indicate you will touch base in a few weeks to see how things are going.
  5. Finish the conversation with thanking your child for talking with you about the report card. Indicate your love for him or her. “I am glad you are my kid.”  “I am on your team”  “I am always here for you.”
  6. IMPORTANT: The purpose of this conversation is to show your children that you are on their team and love them no matter what their grades are. Therefore, It is important that you have the same attitude, tone of voice, and expression on your face when you ask about their lowest grade as you did when you asked about their highest grade. This can be difficult. It may take some practice. You may want to practice several times privately before you have the conversation with your child..
(From WE (January-February, 1992) by Jean Illsley Clarke)


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