How to talk with your kids about grades

 School is in session and that means…GRADES!

Whether your children tend to earn A’s, B’s, C’s, or F’s, children often define “who they are” based on the grades they receive.

“I’m an A-student”

“I’m not very smart”

“I’m an average student”

It’s unfortunate when children identify themselves based on grades, as it can have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem, even for those with a consistent “A” average. This is because receiving an “A” grade may make them feel great about themselves, while receiving a “C” grade may cause them to feel down on themselves. This cycle can create yo-yo self-esteem, as we’ve noted in earlier articles.
The question then arises, how can we talk to our children about grades without having an adverse effect on their self-esteem? The answer lies in viewing grades as feedback.

Feedback is the result of an action taken, and it is simply a measure of how well a student has learned the material. Grades do not determine whether a student is “smart” or “dumb,” “good” or “bad.” They simply indicate whether the student has learned what they needed to know or not.By interpreting grades as feedback instead of as a reflection of who they are as individuals, children can deal with both good and bad grades without impacting their self-esteem.

So how can we put this into practice? Suppose your child brings home an “A” grade. Instead of saying something like, “You’re so smart. You’re an ‘A-student’!”, you could say, “Wow, you made some great grades. It looks like you really learned the material.” By doing this, you are providing objective feedback on the child’s work rather than labeling the child.

What if your child brings home a “C” grade? This is an opportunity to say something like, “It looks like you didn’t learn the material you needed to know for this test. Let’s work together to create a plan to ensure that you learn what you need to know to move forward. Otherwise, you may fall behind, and future tests will be even more challenging.” By approaching the low grade as a problem to be solved, you are enabling the child to focus on improving their grade rather than feeling bad about themselves for earning a poor grade.

This approach is also useful for homework. Work with your child to decide what grade represents a solid understanding of the material. Is it 80%, 85%, 90%, or 95%? Once you agree on a threshold, let your child know that any paper that receives a grade below that will need to be reworked to ensure that they understand the material well enough to proceed in class. When you take this approach, redoing the work isn’t seen as punishment; it’s viewed as striving for learning and excellence.

In conclusion, the most important takeaway is to teach children to view grades as feedback on their effort instead of as a label. This approach enables them to separate their self-esteem from their grades and focus on learning and improving their understanding of the material.

Have a great school year!

If you’re ready to help your child bust out of his shyness, click here for a complimentary consultation and we’ll map out a plan to help him create confidence and courage.

Jahseen Foster  is a certified WISDOM Coach and expert in helping kids discover who I am a certified WISDOM Coach and who can  help your child develop powerful mindset skills using:

  • Coaching stories
  • Engaging questions
  • Activities/Art projects
    visit us at: www.tenyourmind.comwww.coachjahseen.cominstagram@coachjahseen


Copyright © 2012-2024 Renaye Thornborrow, Adventures in WisdomTM. All rights reserved. 

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