Waiting to receive your child's school report can be much like waiting to see if you have won the lotto! If you are already aware that your child is struggling at school, you may be preparing yourself for a no-win, while hoping that your fears will not materialise! In so many cases, the report card is feared and the anticipation of perceived failure is a source of extreme anxiety and stress for the parent and the learner.
Take a deep breath
Panic will open doors to actions that you may regret later. Remember, whether your child shows it or not, he is most likely going to be fearful, embarrassed or ashamed. Some learners may be gearing to defend themselves by crying foul, blaming teachers or others and behaving badly. In that moment, it simply is what it is. The fact that a problem exists has been made clear. An angry or emotionally negative response will not change the results. There is only ONE thing that you can do and that is to seek positive solutions.
Take the report card seriously
Academic results give you powerful clues as to how your child is coping at school. Poor results are often an indication of a greater problem and all results need to be taken seriously. As people, we aim at achieving what we believe we deserve and what we believe we deserve is based entirely on the sense of self-value and self-esteem. Learners who have poor self-esteem and low self-confidence tend to spiral downward when it comes to academics. Every child cares about his ability to achieve success – whether he is willing to admit this to himself and others or not!
Struggling learners inevitably 'bash' themselves. This inescapably damages their sense of self-worth. Poor academic results require intervention, not punishment. Punishment simply reinforces the child's negative self-worth and is defeatist! Choose, instead, to find positive solutions which will motivate, inspire and build your child up - this is what he/she needs!
Be honest, but kind
Your child will appreciate your honesty when you explain that you are concerned, and even unhappy about the results in the report card especially if he/she feels that you are on their side and that, together, you will find a solution.
- Ask your child what he/she thinks they could have done better. Find out from them what they think may have gone wrong. Discuss what changes need to be made in order to learn more effectively. Decide if extra lessons may be a consideration.
- Discuss realistic goals for the following term. If your child has achieved 23 percent in Accounting, for example, aim at 50 percent. This is achievable.
Visit your child's teachers
Teachers want to help a child succeed and can offer some valuable advice.
- Enrol your child into an after-school tuition centre if necessary as this will give them the personal assistance they may need to help them achieve their goals and grow in confidence and skill.
- Send your child on a study course in addition to after-school tutoring and remediation. The combination of practical study skills and emotional intelligence skills ensure that learners develop a love for learning once again.
We all make mistakes and our children will most certainly fall from time-to-time. Remember, it is how we choose to pick ourselves up that ensures success and, a happier, more fulfilled life. Teach your children to value themselves by showing them how YOU respond to challenges in their lives. We cannot build anyone up by tearing him down, and THAT, is the bottom line.