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Parents can lessen report card trauma
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bringing home a report card regardless of the grades can be a traumatic experience for youth, but parents can help lessen the trauma by listening and communicating.
"If parents expect straight A's from their children and they only bring home average grades, youth feel they are disappointing their parents," said Louise Davis, family and child development specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
"Parents must know their child's capabilities," Davis said. "A C-average person shouldn't be pressured to do A-average work."
During a student's academic career, certain aptitudes are measured by achievement tests and by previous grades. Parents should be aware of their child's limitations and accept them, Davis said.
"If a report card is really bad, instead of it being a real negative experience, a parent and child might try to communicate about what the problems are; then together set goals for improvement," Davis said.
Guidelines such as developing good study habits must also be set for reaching the goals.
"Conferences with teachers are critical for students and parents," Davis said. "If the youth knows parents and teachers care, that in itself can be a motivational tool."
The teacher can identify if the student is really trying or not. In a parent-teacher conference, parents can recommend good ways to handle their child in particular situations, and the teacher can suggest ways to help the child at home.
It may be that the student is applying himself or herself to the fullest extent and average work is all the student is capable of doing.
Davis said parents and teachers should take every opportunity to express pleasure in improvements. If a report card is good, take the opportunity to celebrate. Let youth know you're proud of them and their efforts.