T.T. asks from Bristow, VA on July 14, 2010
Am I Asking Too Much from My Daughter's Grades??
Hello. My daughter is 12 and going into 7th grade(she has a late birthday, but going from private to public school they couldnt hold her back). Her grades are mostly A's with 2 or 3 B's. When her grades drop from A's to B's I confront her. Yes, I admit to yelling and scolding sometimes. She isn't that fragile, a very strong child when it comes to emotions, but most of the time she says I'm "so hard on her about one B" that she cries and locks herself in her room. Am I being to hard on her about her grades? I know she can do better, she used to be a straight A student until middle school.
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So What Happened?™
Well, she switched from a public school to private. I've always hated the public school system here, but because we had to pay for my eldest daughter to go to high school(the same school she switched to) we couldn't afford anything else(its a very expensive school). Now that her sister has graduated, she is going to the new school for 7th. At public school she skipped a math grade, and the new school they don't let her skip, so she has to repeat it. After looking at her math papers(where she got most of the B's.) I noticed something in the teachers grading. It wasn't all her fault, a bit was the way the teacher was teaching. She would say "that's how she taught us to do that," when I would help her. I know that switching schools, especially after just being able to adjust to a new school a year ago, will be tough because of her going to middle school. The longest she's been to one school is 3years, switching back and forth from public and private. So I talked to her and we agreed that she can do better, and she promise me I will see a huge improvement in her grades. What I love about the new school is not only do they have summer reading, they do summer math, so her grade has a lower chance of slipping at the new school. It was 400 questions in the booklet, and she's excited to be able to keep her grades high, it's been a month and she has 100 question left.
Thanks for all the help.
L.L. answers from Orlando on July 15, 2010
Middle school is a HARD transition for kids! I ALWAYS got A's and B's. When I started middle school, they literally dropped to D's. It took me a couple of years then they went back up. B's are not bad!! You're daughter can't be "perfect" at everything. That is what an A is ... Perfect. There is no highter. Give her a break on the B's. You are going to push her away, or she will start lying to you about grades or trying to change them!! Be supportive.
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H.H. answers from Los Angeles on July 15, 2010
I think you are being too hard. In my personal opinion we are putting too much emphasis on scholastic excellence /achievement. Parents should be putting more emphasis on character. If she is working at it, leave her alone. My mother was a C student and so praised her daughters A's and B's. I look at my friends who's parents found B's unacceptable. They are driven all right, some of them even make a gang of money. But I don't believe one of them is better off in life overall in terms of their happiness, their character, and their quality of life.
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S.S. answers from Los Angeles on July 15, 2010
It really depends on teh reason for the B. Is she having a hard time with that class or is she just slacking off? If it's the former, that's really harsh to yell at her because she probably already feels bad. You don't want to teach her to get an A at all costs b/c her mom's gonna yell at her. Instead, talk to her about why she got the B. And at the end of the day, a B isn't going to ruin her life. You don't want her to struggle with having to be "perfect" in real life. And you don't want to worry about her losing out socially because she's trying to get all A's forever. Balance is key to true happiness.
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L.A. answers from Austin on July 14, 2010
We always asked our daughter at the beginning of the school year, "what are your goals this year?". Usually she would say all honor roll". "I want to be in the honor society.".. Or "I want to make sure I get to take".. whatever "classes" she was interested in..
We always told our daughter, she was in charge of her grades. We were there to help her in any way, but if her grades fell or if she felt she needed help, she needed to let us know. With our daughter if SHE was not happy with her grade, we would ask her how to solve the problem.
Did you study hard enough?
Did you do your best? If the answer was yes, we said fine.
If she said well I guess I could have studied more or, I really just did not get the concept, we would ask her "what will help you do better?"
"What can we do to help?"
" Do we need to get you some outside help? "
A's and B's are good grades. Is your daughter taking advanced classes? Is your daughter a good child? Does she get into any trouble? How is her behavior towards you and her father? Does she have other activities other than school?
We always told our daughter we would rather she made B's in an advanced class than all A's in a regular class, because then we would know she was being challenged.
To give you an idea.. Our daughter was not in the top 10% of her graduating class. She is a National Merit Scholar and applied to 9 top tier colleges and was accepted to all of them with Presidential Scholarships.
She always took Advanced Classes and Many AP tests, but her grades were A's and B's.. She was a well rounded student with 100+ of hours of volunteering each year. She was in clubs.. But grades were not her life. As long as she felt she was happy with her grades, we were fine.
She always attended Public schools.
Yelling and scolding for A's and B's, to me, just does not make sense. Those sound like excellent grades.
I know I was never an all A student. I was never a perfect employee or a perfect mom. I cannot expect my child to be a perfect student. I would never put that pressure on her.
I am sending you patience and clarity.
11 moms found this helpful
B.C. answers from Dallas on July 14, 2010
Uh, yeah. Yelling about a B?? If you're concerned, then spend more time with her on her work. I used to get yelled at because of B's too. I was a great student and I only got a B b/c I couldn't get an A or I was having a bad month. Girls and boys go through so much at this fragile age developementally (puberty, crushes, hormones, etc.) and a B isn't anything to sneeze at! If you'd like to encourage more A's, then perhaps give her an incentive. I used to get $5 per class for an A, but nothing for a B.
How many times in your life have you gave your 100% and somebody yelled at you and said "that's not good enough"? If she's failing from being lazy, that's another story, but she is getting great grades and needs to be supported.
10 moms found this helpful
B.B. answers from Portland on July 14, 2010
When I was in middle school and got a B, my parents always said, "you can do better" rather than encouraging me. I felt like I wasn't good enough if I didn't get an A. They didn't scold me but just the comments telling me to do better made me stop trying. I went through high school with a C average because I never had the positive encouragement and I thought "why try" if they will always want more than I can give. When I left for college with plans to be a nurse, my mom said I didn't have enough compassion to be a nurse and to pick a different career. Her words dug a deep hole in my heart and I quit after 1 yr of college. Now 12 years later I am fulfilling my dream of becoming a nurse because I have a family that encourages and supports me. To this day I have a very strained relationship with my parents. Please don't scold your daughter, encourage her, help her, make her feel valued. The teen years are so hard at school and made even harder if they have to come home just to be made to feel not good enough.
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L.G. answers from Washington DC on July 15, 2010
You said it yourself: "She used to be a straight A student until middle school." So I think you know that expectations change and content becomes harder and more complex as you move up a level.
Would you rather that she not be challenged? As an educator, I am appalled by parents who have no respect for gaining knowledge and instead place all emphasis on grades.
The fact that she locks herself in her room and cries is very disturbing. Celebrate her strengths; don't berate her for Bs. Working hard is what counts.
8 moms found this helpful
V.W. answers from Jacksonville on July 14, 2010
There is a BIG transition going on with her. 1) elementary to middle.
2) hormones kicking in. 3) Private to public.
We went through some of this with our son last year. He had always been in private school, and started public in 6th grade. Some of his grades fluctuated a little from "normal"... but his grades have always been in flux... some A's some B's a C here and there. He is a great kid, not always a totally organized student. His "normal" class size had never been bigger than 16 kids... EVER. For the last 2 years before public middle school.... he had 12 kids in his class. And that was the entire 5th grade... not just "his" class.
I would continue to hold high expectations for her... but cut her a little slack. It is a huge adjustment for kids at her age to make new friends at a new school, all with raging hormones, and girl cliques that go on (girls can be REALLY mean to other girls sometimes) AND middle school transitions in general. They become responsible for a lot more of their own organization. Some kids have never changed classes during the school day before the 6th grade.
She will probably even out this year as she won't be the "new" kid any longer, and she feels more at home at the school. And she'll be familiar with more of what is expected of her and of what she is exposed to daily (let me tell you... public school is a whole new world for her!).
Try to be supportive, but without saying that grades don't matter. They do matter. But her emotional well-being does, too. It's hard to switch schools. I had to do so in 10th grade and it was very hard. My son and daughter did it last year... but my son is a magnet for friends and has switched schools before and adjusts very quickly, socially. Middle school seemed like the obvious time to do the transfer as all the other kids are coming from various elementary schools feeding into the middle school. But that also means that the campus has 1200 students there each day, instead of 200 that he was accustomed to.
Give your daughter a hug (while she'll still let you) and tell her that you know it's been hard on her. You have faith in her ability and you know she'll make the adjustment in her own time. Tell her it's okay to not be totally perfect at all the changes all at once... but she'll get there. That you're proud of how well she has adjusted so far this past year.
Good luck. It's hard on us parents too.
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K.C. answers from Philadelphia on July 15, 2010
I actually don't care what grade my kids get as long as they're doing their best. If their best gets them an A - Great!!! But even if they get less than that, as long as they truly did their best, I'm happy. It's entirely possible that the expectations of straight A's will lead her to burn out faster. You should put more emphasis on whether she's putting forth her best effort rather than her letter grade. If she's doing her best and getting Bs, and you can't accept that (although, I don't know why you wouldn't, Bs are very good, especially if she gets mostly As otherwise), maybe it's time to get her some help, like tutoring or something. And yelling at her for getting a B instead of an A is a bit much, IMHO. Middle school is hard, high school will be harder. And, correct me if I'm wrong, she's started public school after transferring from a private school? So she was also dealing with a new type of school culture, possibly much bigger classes, kids who've known each other since K and she's the new kid? That's a lot to handle. You don't want her to start hating school, or dread report card time. As she gets older, she needs to get good grades for herself because SHE sees the value in good grades (and again, a B IS a good grade), not because she's scared mom will yell at her if she doesn't. So I'm with your daughter...cut her some slack or offer her some help. Good luck!
7 moms found this helpful
J.K. answers from Honolulu on July 15, 2010
I have to say, in my opinion, you definitely ARE being way too hard on her if you're yelling at her for getting a "B". A "B" is not a bad grade at all! Most schools have an "A" honor roll and a "B" honor roll, giving the indication that a "B" is also worthy of a child receiving honor or praise. Her reaction should give you a clue that she feels extremely under pressure about her grades, and that she feels you expect her to excel academically in order to receive any praise. Give her a break! As I recall, 7th grade was my hardest year, and one time I actually got a "D" on my report card in history class. I felt devastated totally. I'm 56 yrs old now and have my Masters in Psychology (earned at the age of 50 after my children all left home), but I still feel really bad when I remember that "D". Start praising her for her character attributes and put less emphasis on her grades, and she will probably be a happier and more emotionally healthy young lady. God bless!
7 moms found this helpful
R.M. answers from Topeka on July 15, 2010
Yes I think you are being unrealistic in your expectations and from your daughters reaction I think that she would agree with me!! First of all I see that she went from private school to public school...my guess is that the class room sizes are larger, which means less individualized attention...also moving into 7th grade is a huge adjustment if she is going from a class room setting where she had one teacher in one class room for a majority of the day!! Now she is moving around from class to class, adjusting to different teaching methods and styles...plus she has the added distraction of all of the different students that she is meeting in this new setting!!
My goal with my children ( who are all accomplished and well educated adults at this time...one is a lawyer, one teaching college and one a marvelous Mother to her 6 month old son!) was that they do their very best at all times. Sometimes that best was an A...sometimes that best was a B...and sometimes it might have even been a C...but not very often!!! Aren't there things that you are more accomplished at than others in your life? I struggled with English Grammer my entire life....it just never made sense to me when we started diagramming those stupid sentences and I could NOT understand why on earth I needed to know it ?? Was I going to get a job diagramming sentences?? Doubtful!!! Don't make the grades the ultimate test...ask yourself if she is doing her best, let her know that you are available if she wants help or guidance...and then just let her know how proud you are of her!! Children change and evolve as they grow...so you can't expect everything to stay the same!!!
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