Bad Progress Report? Don’t Strangle your Child Just Yet…

By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Director of Miracle Math Coaching

Hurray for failure! Yeah for F’s! Yippee for flunking!

You must think I’m losing it. But I’m not. It’s progress report time, and I want to share with you how a bad report can be a great opportunity for your child.

First, remember back to elementary or middle school, and then pretend to sit in your own childhood classroom. When your teacher handed you a progress report, did your stomach knot up? Did your heart beat faster? Did you groan knowing your parents’ reaction?

One of the best ways to help your child when he or she brings home a bad progress report is to first, breathe. Try to calm yourself, knowing that you can make a difference.

Next, think back to when you were in his or her shoes.
The last thing you wanted to hear from Mom and Dad was, “You’re not trying hard enough,” “You need to stop fooling around and study harder,” or “What is wrong with you?”

Kids already are discouraged when they know they’re doing poorly in class. Heaping on words of shame makes them feel worse. More important, it doesn’t solve the problem. It makes them feel powerless when you want them to feel powerful.

The solution lies in building students up instead of tearing them down. One way is to tell them that being great can start with failing. Economist and Journalist Tim Harford wrote a book called, “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.”

His field of study is entrepreneurs, but the same principles hold true everyone. He says, “Success comes through rapidly fixing our mistakes rather than getting things right the first time.”

It’s not about them having failed; it’s about them fixing the mistakes. To give very specific, results-oriented help, you must seek outside resources. Instead of grounding them or making them study longer, look to the experts for what really works.

I’m the mother of three with one in middle school who is having a hard time adjusting to the intensity of all of her classes, projects, homework and tests. I’ll admit that when she shutdowns, doesn’t reach out and fails to work hard to turn the situation around, I can get upset. And my first reaction is to want to yell at her.

But then I reflect on my parents instilling fear in my sisters and I of bringing home bad grades. It would have been even more effective if they also taken the time to coach, provide us with direct tools or strategize to help us feel more hopeful.

And sometimes, Mom and Dad using the old school technique of making your child afraid of bringing home bad grades might work initially. But if you are not empowering them by giving them guidance, you’re shortchanging them of learning valuable lesson through their mistakes. They need to realize that failure can lead to success.

Here is my advice: Use the “good cop/bad cop” routine. You and your spouse or another family member can team up to give your child a balanced experience of accountability. One parent can lay down the law that a bad progress report has consequences, while the other parent provides encouragement and gives them tools to improve.

I’m using this idea with my middle-schooler Ramiyah, and it’s working really well. My husband is old school, providing the discipline. And I’m the parent who understands her mindset and the troubles she’s facing. I am providing her with the tools to help successfully face challenges today and in the future. As a parent, I am thrilled to be able to help her take ownership of her education..

Parenting is a gift, but it can be tough at times. I am truly proud of the resources and help we provide our families at Miracle Math Coaching . If you are stressed about how to help your child get good grades as a mother of three and educator I encourage you to sign up for our FREE Learning Discovery Meeting. Just some of the solutions we will teach you include:
• How to master the parts of the Common Core your child needs help with.
• How your child’s learning style has everything to do with how well they do in class.
• How very specific, small changes in study habits can have a huge impact on grades.
• How to partner with their teachers to ensure they reach their full potential
• And much, much more.

No gimmicks. It truly is FREE. Please call me at 707-398-3474, ext. 2700 to learn more. I’m eager to share with you successful techniques that will help your child turn failure into success.

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