Kids failing in school? You're not alone!Oct 28, 2020
If you look at the image above, you will see a copy of each of my 4 kids current transcripts.
There are lots of all letters of grades from A’s to F’s. From 4’s to 1’s. (In the early elementary school system here they give the kids a number grade. 4 is excellent 1 is needs a lot of improvement)
Recently I joined a couple different parenting groups on Facebook. Kids and grades were the hot topic in these groups. Parents were ANGRY at their kids. They called them all sorts of names and labeled them a lot of different things.
Their kids are too lazy.
Their kids are sitting around on their butts.
Their kids can’t get their work turned in no matter what.
Their kids are (list all kinds of swear words here) and can’t be controlled.
Parents are frustrated.
Kids are failing.
I wanted to cry out to these parents - “ Please STOP!!! Never let your kids grades get in the way of your relationships!” Your kids need a loving parent who will listen, understand, not judge and help them come up with solutions to their problems.
LET THE GRADES GO.
This year is NOT ideal. There is record levels of anxiety. Kids are learning an entirely different way of doing school. Some kids are all digital. Some have a hybrid schedule. Even for those who have in-person schooling, things aren’t normal. There is a lot of pressure on keeping spaced apart, wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, avoiding high touch points and being safe.
Some kids are not digital classroom type learners. It is hard for them to learn in a virtual classroom setting. That’s why we don’t teach that way to begin with.
Whatever school looks like for you, we know it’s the way it has to be for now. We all just want to stop the spread of this terrible pandemic and be able to get back to a more normal version of life. I don’t think anyone here isn’t advocating for a return to normalcy as quickly as possible.
"I am advocating for more emphasis on the mental well being of these kids. I am advocating for this to be a time of letting go of the emphasis on letter and number grades and focusing on the life skills that we have an opportunity to learn right now. Lets learn to be resilient. Lets learn coping skills. Lets learn what to do with emotions like anxiety and loneliness. Lets use this as a time to become closer and have better relationships, not push each other away because of a letter or number on a paper."
Most teens don’t have coping skills. They haven’t had enough life experience to learn them yet. And even with more life experience many adults need help developing healthy coping skills.
Looking back, the grades from 2020 may not look great. There may be a huge drop in GPA’s around the nation. And I say BRING IT ON.
I am doing some research on what teens are struggling with the most right now.
As I interviewed one of my teens he held back tears as he talked about the pressure he felt. Pressure from his peers, pressure from himself, pressure from his teachers, pressure from colleges. He didn’t know if he could live up to everyone else’s expectations they had for him. He does a lot. He has really challenged himself at school. Here’s his current transcript.
He says he knows he’s looked at as the “smart kid”. But with emotion in his voice, he said he didn’t know if he could keep up with all those expectations this year. He feels like he’s drowning.
As his mom, my heart ached for him. As a coach, the red flags signifying other warning signs went up. This is a kid who doesn’t need any more pressure from his family. He needs a family who loves him and accepts him no matter what happens this year.
I have coached many teens through anxiety. It’s commonly a learned emotion. Parents are anxious about their kids grades. They are anxious about their kids performing in school, sports, religious activities, social situations, dating, and their future. Because their anxiety levels are high, their kids adapt the same level of anxiety in their own life. They feel like they have to do all the things and do them well to be loved and good enough. They feel like perfection is the only option.
Here are the grades from my youngest son’s first few years of elementary school.
They are ALL OVER THE PLACE. He is great at some things, not so great at others.
Spelling is hard.
Focusing on the task at hand is hard.
He doesn’t love reading.
His handwriting is terrible.
But, this child of mine loves life. He loves it more than anyone else I’ve ever known. He loves everything about the world around him. This mama is not going to take that away because of a letter on a paper. He can get all the F’s and D’s and C’s that he gets right now. I believe his emotional development is the most important thing. Learning to be a good student, good friend, good reader, and the importance of doing his best is the best thing I can teach him over time. I’m not going to get after him for every low grade he gets. He doesn’t need to be perfect to be good enough. If he tries and fails every stinking spelling test, that’s okay. It’s elementary school! As he learns to read and spell he will catch up with his classmates.
It. Will. Be. Okay!!!
Here is the transcript of my pre-teen with a couple learning disabilities.
He has a short term memory problem in his brain. and his brain processes very slowly. He was in special education programs for several years in elementary school. He has had IEP’s and 504’s.
He is now in his first year at a junior high. He’s asked me what good grades are for him.
I’m not pressuring him to get A’s. If he is being respectful in class, learning, enjoying his classes, being kind to other kids and figuring out what makes him unique, that’s great. He may not have the same capacity to get all A’s or even half A’s. His education will look different than any of his siblings. He is unique. He tested very high in abstract thinking. He is very good at problem solving. Those qualities will really benefit him later down the road.
As long as he knows he is loved, accepted, and good enough, he will end up fine. That is worth more than all the stinking A’s he could earn.
Here is my last kids’ transcript. I am so stinking grateful he got 2 A-’s his freshman year. Praise the heavens! He won’t feel the need to be perfect. He will be able to allow himself to be the best he can be without having to get the straight A every single class every single time. He has different talents than his brothers. He is more sensitive to his friends needs and taking care of others. When I interviewed him yesterday He talked a lot about how many kids are lonely and isolated at school. He is so aware of the difficulties new kids in our town have fitting in. He sees the cliques in the groups of friends and worries about those who can’t find a place among other groups. His focus is different than his brothers and I’m so grateful for that!
One objection I see from a lot of parents when it comes to their kids schooling is worrying about the future of their kids education.
What about college?
What about scholarships?
What about awards and recognition?
My husband and I can’t pay for all of our kids schooling. So far, the 3 older kids have been college bound. Scholarships or no scholarships, they have worked hard, had jobs, looked for opportunities to save, and been so blessed.
God has allowed for miracles in their lives. Job opportunities have opened up that they needed. Inexpensive housing, grants and sometimes scholarships have helped pay for schooling. One of them lived with a family member for a year in a different state. They find a way to work things out. They figure out their own paths. God has been good and I’ve learned to trust Him to help my kids when they have needed it most.
Parents, things will work out. Your relationships will endure much longer than the faded grade on a piece of paper.
Value your kids for who they are and their talents and strengths. Get help when they need it and let go of your own expectations.
I left those Facebook parenting groups I joined. There was way too much negativity, stress, and drama. Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s much easier when you have the support you need.
Keep thriving, my friends!
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