1. Remember that the grade is your child’s grade, not yours. It does not say anything about whether you are a good parent.
2. Let your child know that the grade does not affect your love for her. You are on her side, are very sure she can do better, and are there for her when she needs you.
3. Listen to your child. Find out what she is thinking and feeling about the grade. Do not criticize even if you don’t like what you are hearing. Let her know that all her feelings are understandable. Mention that those feelings can help her figure out how to do better the next time.
Listening is another way to say, “I care about you. Your thoughts and feelings are important.” This love for and belief in your child is what helps her believe in herself and have the confidence, energy, and motivation to try to do better.
4. Help your child understand that this grade is a stumble and not a disaster. She can learn from this stumble and end up a better student than ever before. We all learn from making mistakes – in school, at home, at work. The challenge is to figure out what went wrong and what has worked better at other times and what can work better in the future.
5. Trust that your child will figure out how to do better. If you trust her; she will more likely trust her own abilities.
6. Stay involved. Once you understand how your child feels and what she thinks went wrong, stay involved, but not more involved than what is needed. Give her as much independence as she is ready for, allowing for the fact she will still make mistakes and when she does, she can learn from them.
7. Figure out what your child needs. Some children just need a cheerleader. Others need a coach that will help them plan better learning habits. Others, especially those with learning challenges may need an assistant who will guide them and be a connector between them and teachers.
When you keep your feelings in check, let your love for your child be obvious, listen, and don’t criticize, you will be in a good position to judge what your child needs.
8. Pay attention to what is working. After some time, if you need to change your approach, do so. After all, trial and error is essential to all of parenting.