Am I Asking Too Much from My Daughter's Grades??

Updated on November 01, 2012
T.T. asks from Bristow, VA
64 answers

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.

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L.L.

answers from Orlando on

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

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

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

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.

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B.C.

answers from Dallas on

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.

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B.B.

answers from Portland on

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

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.

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V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

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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C.G.

answers from Detroit on

I think you should moniter her grades, however I think you may be a little hard. You can't excel in everything an may be the subject matter was a little harder than she could grasp. You don't want your children to rebel or get caught up into something that's far worse than receiving a B. If she has done her best and applied herself then you should respect that.

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J.K.

answers from Honolulu on

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!

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R.M.

answers from Topeka on

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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K.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

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!

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

Different grades, different teachers, different subjects can be harder or easier. In addition, kids' interest in subjects, feelings of capability, and other significant distractions can shift, even from one quarter to the next.

I've been in education in one way or another for a few decades. Some of my most important, satisfying work was tutoring at-risk high-school kids. None of those kids would have responded well to their parents demanding a certain GPA – they needed desperately to be seen and respected as the human beings they were before anything academic could even happen. Once they got that basic, caring respect, they brought their own grades up. Sometimes impressively.

I recognize that this isn't exactly the position your daughter is in, and that you are a more caring parent than most of "my" kids had. But the basic truth remains – if your daughter is locking herself away and crying over your disapproval of her very good grades, then at least in her perception, you're seeing her grades as more important than her emotional well being, or perhaps than her wholeness as a person.

The best motivation in anyone, child or adult, arises from inside oneself. Yes, a challenge from outside can stimulate a response and an effort toward excellence, but the basic drive, interest, and will still has to come from within. I'm sure you can think of examples in your own life where that was true.

Pressure for grades can become a destructive dynamic in the best of families. We so urgently want our children to succeed. We want them to be positioned to get into the best schools, and perhaps win scholarships. We want to take pride in their performance. But academics is really only a part of a successful life, which must also include self esteem and the respect and care of one's parents.

It's really difficult to guess at what the whole pattern looks like from your few words, but if you're yelling and scolding over one or two B's, my sense is that that's too hard on her.

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

I didn't read all the responses, so sorry if this repeats.

I am a teacher. You are being too hard on her.

I could go into my whole tirade, but the long and short is that your daughter is only in charge of how hard she works, she is not in charge of what grade she gets. Around middle school is when a grade is less measuring effort and more measuring production. I have LOTS of students who try very hard but simply can't get As because the material is too hard for them conceptually, they don't have the intrinsic interest in the subject, they had to make sacrifices in my class to do really well in another class, etc.

I think you should talk to her teachers in a non-confrontational way. Are they pleased with her grades? If so, then you should be too.

You should also monitor her work production in ways other than grades so that you know that she's really putting in effort. If that effort results in a B (or a C) you should praise her effort anyway. After all, the grade itself is fleeting, but the work ethic will last her whole life.

Finally, you want to quit this battle now before you get to high school where the stakes are even higher. If she's really working hard, that's all you can ask for. I've seen far too many students who are really trying and getting "not good enough" Bs simply throw in the towel and get Cs and Ds (after all, the students are already being berated, and it takes a lot less effort to get yelled at about Ds than Bs).

Good luck.

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K.U.

answers from Detroit on

I didn't read all the responses but overall I would say, yes, you are being too hard on her. It's good to have expectations, but my parents basically expected me to get A's and B's - they were not happy with C's, which I did get sometimes. One time I ended up with a D in chemistry for the marking period (not my final grade) and when I found out I was going to get a D, I wondered if I would be better off committing suicide. Is that what you want for your daughter?

In our school, they gave grades for academics, and grades for effort. If I ended up with a B or a C, but got an A for effort, there was nothing more my parents could say, because they knew I had tried my best. Also, there was an all-A honor roll, and an A-B honor roll. So getting mostly A's and 1 or 2 B's can't be all bad. If that's what my stepsons were doing, I would be thrilled, since mostly they get C's and seem to think that's just fine, and at times have been on the verge of failing (They live with their mom out-of-state so there's not much influence that I can have over them). And they aren't even taking challenging classes.

Also, many high schools offer AP, honors, college-prep classes, etc. and you need to ask yourself which is better - a B in AP English, or an A in Underwater Basket Weaving?

Just for the record, in spite of my occasional C's and the 1 D in chemistry in 11th grade, I went on to college, eventually got accepted to veterinary school, graduated, and have been a practicing veterinarian for the past 13 years. None of my clients ask me about my grades from middle school and high school. ;)

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K.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I teach 7th graders and believe me, this is such a common issue. Many parents barely recognize their kids after they hit puberty. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a parent say, "But s/he was so good in elementary school!"

I would certainly keep your expectations high, but I would also reevaluate what you know and/or understand about your daughter. I think all parents should do this with their kids at different stages. Is this who she really is right now or is this who she was a few years ago? Maybe she did get straight A's in grade school, but middle school is a lot tougher. Maybe a B is the best she can do? Is she working hard or does she seem to be goofing off more? In other words, really try to confront the situation honestly and go from there. So many of my students' parents continue to judge and evaluate their 13 year old child with the same set of eyes as when the child was 8 or 9. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. :)

If you really believe that she can do better and that she's just goofing off right now, I would suggest looking at how you're confronting her. Teens have an extraordinary ability to tune out that which they don't want to hear. Yelling frequently, while totally natural and understandable, isn't usually terribly effective in getting a kid's behavior to change. Again, that might have worked when she was younger, but now, she's smart enough to realize that getting yelled at for a little while isn't that big of a deal. I would consider consequences that hit a little closer to home (cell phone restrictions, clothing restrictions, etc).

Good luck!

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D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I purposely chose not to read the other answers because I wanted to answer from my personal point of view having been that child.

This is an honest question, not criticism: what are you hoping to accomplish with her by continuing the Straight A streak?

Some children are naturally gifted and excel no matter what. If she's like I was, she'll only have to learn to study when she gets into college. Then, reality will hit like a ton of bricks. Whether or not she's emotionally strong, she may put on a good show and secretly be suffering inside because of the continual disappointment, failure.

My mom wanted bragging rights with me, and the constant pressure to perform for her, not for myself, has really impacted me as an adult. I now feel like I can't do anything well and that I peaked as a high school student. It's an awful feeling when I should be celebrating life.

Not all subjects will come naturally to all kids. She's going to be getting much more social and having the desire to integrate with different social groups and activities. That can be as important to her personal development as the grades.

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I could do a lot of things over again. But, I can't. I would have focused less on my grades and more on developing lasting friendships. I would have been less competitive and more accepting of other people's flaws.

Not that she shouldn't be driven. But her drive really should come internally because of her own dreams and ambitions, not because she fears reprimand for being a consistently good, well above average student.

I hope my story helps you look at it through her eyes.

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R.R.

answers from Dallas on

I know you want to try to encourage her to work to the best of her ability. I've been there, done that. Didn't work for me, either. I have an absolutely brilliant daughter that isn't even sure if she's going to community college because all that's important to her is proving that at 18 she can be independent.

I do have a suggestion that will take the pressure off both of you. Sit down with her and discuss WHY it is important to get all A's. Ask her if she thinks she can do it. Then together, with her suggestion included, come up with a reward for all A's. One that she really wants but is also do-able. Then have a slightly lesser reward for grades that include a "B", but absolutly no C's. The reward can be given at report card times or at semester, or the end of the year. Whatever the two of you decide. The point is, if the two of you decide together, there is no need to rant about the grade. Just a very sad "Oh, I was looking forward to __________" It doesn't have to monetary, it could be a cell phone, a trip to an amusement park, a family weekend trip, a special jacket or pair of boots, whatever fits your budget and motivates her.

Good luck. Middle school is such a hard age!

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H.O.

answers from Anchorage on

Yes you are being too hard on her. Does she have to be perfect all the time. It is perfectly normal for grades to rise and fall a little throughout a school year. One quarter might be all As as you enter harder stuff in later quarters there might be lower grades. As long as they don't go below C you are fine I think. As long as there are no reports of unfinished homework..you are fine. She needs time to be a kid too not just study so try to see things from her point of view. If your mom harped on you constantly about your grades and never said "wonderful" "Glorious" even when there was improvement (even if it was higher than a B- but not quite a "A +" you should say "I'm glad you are doing better! Congrats for doing so well!" Or something. How about a little praise to go with all that criticism?

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T.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes you are.....I would recommend encouraging your child rather then confronting her. Confrontation is for more serious issues which I hope you don't have to face too often.

Blessings....

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

How about making an effort to find out why her grades fell? They can fall for any number of reasons.

Didn't understand the homework/project/assignment
Afraid to ask for help
Trouble with friends and she's distracted
Too many activities and can't complete her homework.
She is overwhelmed

She just completed 6th grade - give her a break! 6th grade is a HUGE change from 5th. Maybe she had touble balancing it all while her mother is yelling at her for not doing better. Plus, she's in the midst of puberty. Her hormones are on overdrive and everything seems worse than it actually is. Remember those days?

I think you could do yourself and your daughter a favor by being her ally and backing off a bit. Be the calm in the storm for her. Instead of accusing her of slacking off, ask her what happened? If she doesn't know, she doesn't know. Ask how she can change it. Extra credit? Asking for help when she needs it?

Good luck.

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K.H.

answers from San Diego on

Wow, yelling and scolding because she gets a couple B's. It happens! Time to do some self reflection to see why HER grades impact YOUR self esteem. AND before you scoff at that idea, ponder it for a while. Because school will become more challenging and your daughter needs to be able to do the best that she can(not the best that YOU want her too) and know that she will be accepted by YOU when her grade(s) reflects the best that she can do.

Check out the book- Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Edward Runkel (you can probably get it at your local library). I think you will benefit greatly by reading this book.

Good Luck!

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

Yes, you are being too hard on her. Middle school is a whole different ball game compared to elementary school. You should not expect the same grades from her. By expecting straight As, you are essentially asking your daughter to be perfect. She is too young for this kind of stress to be placed on her, and she may eventually crack under the pressure. What you can expect is for her to try her best. If that's what you would like her to do, stop focusing on the letter grade. Talk with her more about effort, and be encouraging. Yelling and scolding doesn't work. It will only drive a wedge between you and your daughter.

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K.K.

answers from San Diego on

Hello, I know that you want your daughter to achieve, but middle school is a big adjustment. I wouldn't yell at someone who is getting most A's and a B. Maybe there is a reason. There are a lot of classes to keep up with.
Good luck with your precious daughter.
K. K.

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T.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

The only question you need to ask yourself is, "How would I want someone to treat me? With patience and understanding? Or with anger and yelling?" Your daughter is a valuable, intelligent person, just like you.

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T.F.

answers from Dallas on

Yelling is a NOT at our house, most especially over a B grade. COMMUNICATION has been key from day when she was a baby.

You would be shocked to hear what my 15 yr old told me today about the "thing" the current baseball team does to "be team". Most parents would not know that gross little detail but open lines of communication enable me to LISTEN and not judge or talk.....just LISTEN. AND NO, I NEVER repeat what she confides with me...uness it would happen to break the law or put someone in jeopardy.

We have been in public school by choice with a trigger finger ready to put her in private if needed. However, she is thriving with the diversity of students, not sheltered or over protected, and it helps that she is a black belt in Tang Soo Do.

Our daughter is heading to 10th grade, all honors classes and expected to do well (It is her JOB), and she manages to be a captain of the cheer squad, and be in the higher level orchestra.

We do compensate her for grades above and beyond at each 6 week period. She does not work outside our home, her job is her school to prepare for college and her asppirations are quite high. We are ready for that and fully support it emotionally and financially.

It takes work, cooperation with family, money, and WIDE OPEN lines of communication. We make sure our daughter knows that we support her and her decisions.

We never demand all A's although that is great, however, she is gaining many social skills through her cheer with outside volunteer work, orchestra with cmpetiting for awards, and community service for her National Honor Society. SO, yelling for not getting all A's...............NO because she is well rounded, still has no grade lower than B, she is a leader and a very good kid.

We support our daughter in her goals, whatever they may be. Trust that you have raised a good kid............it is HARD to let go.

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M.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

If the school is handing out lots of A's, you are in a mediocre school. Isn't the goal knowledge, not grades? Talk to her teacher's and remember you are supposed to encourage and support. This is someone you want to have a lifelong relationship with. Crying and locking herself in her room should tell you she isn't seeing you as a comfort but someone to turn away from.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I teach Middle school. I wish all parents cared the way that you do about grades! Although, I think that it's really important to remember that middle school is a huge transition, and it is normal for kids to struggle through this time. Not only are they dealing with a change in venue, but hormonal changes and social changes make this time in your child's life very challenging. So she may not seem fragile, but don't be fooled. Now is the time for extra care and attention. Self esteem can take a nose dive in these preteen years, and even the most beautiful, graceful and well adjusted girls can feel awkward and insecure. Take some special mom and me time, get your nails done together, let her know that now, more than ever, communication is wide open! Good luck!

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D.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 12 year old daughter that will be in 7th grade come September. I too noticed her grades dropped in middle school last year. She got a few B's but all the rest were still A's. At first I too got upset but then I realized that classes are harder and having 8 classes/teachers is a big change. I then just asked her if she was doing her best and I did talk with the teachers to see what could be done and they said she was doing her best. Also at the middle school they don't grade on curve, straight percentage so that is the other problem. My daughter would get 87-89% on stuff and that was a B so it ended up being a B. Good luck.

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

My mom used to yell and GROUND me for getting Bs. Once I was grounded for a whole semester because I got a lot of Bs on my freshman report card. She said it was because I was capable of getting As.

You know, grades are ONLY a test of how well a child can take tests, not how they function in the real world. Yes they can help one get into a good college or offer college scholarships, but I think the focus on grades is too much in this society.

All that yelling over Bs did nothing more than create resentment between my mother and me. What could have been a time when I was close with her was a time of distance and anger. I would have appreciated understanding, help and encouragement. Middle School and High School can be tough, not just academically but also socially.

Even with all my Bs and the occasional C I got into a great college on scholarship and graduated with honors. I didn't enjoy school until college when my mom and her daily pressure for As went away.

After college grades don't matter unless one wants to be a doctor or something. My friends that got mostly As in high school are now no better off than I.

And all my middle school and high school memories are tainted by the constant pressure of grades from my mom...on top of the pressure I put on myself. I'll have that always.

Don't do that to your daughter. You're not helping her in any way.

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M.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes. You are being too hard on her.

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L.M.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Yes you are, I am a middle school teacher, the transition from elementary school to junior high is one of the hardest things for an adolescent to do. Especially 7th graders. Your most important job as a parent is to be your daughter's cheerleader, her support, her rock. Please, Please don't bring her down for a B. She may just need a little more time to adjust if you stay positive and talk to her calmly, perhaps ask her if she needs help or if her workload is different than it was in elementary. Which it almost always is. At this time in her life she is also dealing with more social pressure. Middle school or junior high is often difficult. If your daughter is how you say and very capable of straight A's she's more likely to continue to achieve them through high school and college if she sees the value in achieving them on her own, you don't want her to try to achieve them because if she doesn't her Mom will be pissed at her. Please just be supportive in this hard time, and try to make her understand why trying her hardest is the most important, not a letter grade. If her grades continue to drop also talk to her teachers we really like parent support and welcome it.

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T.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

We have 2 kids - one going into 7th and 1 going into 4th. The thing we have always emphasized with them is that it's not the grade we value - but their effort. Now for our household with gifted kids, it's trying to keep them making an effort when they are bored. However, No effort and a A vs lots of effort and a C - I give kudos to the kid with a C. =-)

Also, based on input from other parent with kids in middle school/past middle school, this is a big transition time for them and I hear 7th grade is typically the worst. =-) I would look to see what has changed. Sometimes for kids where elementary was easy, middle school is harder and requires
other skills that it may take them awhile to grow into.

I would be more concerned about how she is doing as a person. Her body is changing , her friends are changing, school had changed - she needs you to be the constant in her life. The one who believes in her, who is safe to come to when things are hard. Help her through this time - rather than giving her a hard time about her grades - especially yelling. No one is going to care - in the big scheme of things- how she did in 6th grade social studies, or whether she got an A on her 7th grade math exam. They will respond to her though if she is a confident young woman. I don't mean throw the grades out the window..but I would use it as a conversation opener that you know she used to get A's in this subject. Has it gotten harder? Is there anything you can help with? Be engaged before the report card comes home and alert to what may be holding her back. Help her become a person interested in making an effort - even when it's hard.

A good book which may interest her: The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen.

Good luck!!! I will be thinking of you as we embark on 7th grade as well this year. T.

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R.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I would try not to yell at her, but I don't think you are being to hard to expect an A...she can't always get an A...but if she puts out the best effort she has, then that's good enough. My kids are seeing me go through my masters and see my personal disappointment at anything besides an A...so they are starting to get that same drive. Public and private schools are very different. When my sister was in hs, her best friend went to the local private hs and wanted to switch. She had a 5.0 at the private school (because of all A's in all AP classes) and dropped down to a 3.5 at public school. So she switched back. But maybe try to be more encouraging rather than yelling.

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C.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Don't turn her into me... Perfectly capable of getting A's, but just not caring enough to do it. Reward her for the good grades. Punish her if she really deserves it (i.e. failing a class). Stop freaking out about the B's. Really, a B isn't the end of the world.

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S.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

You are being too hard on her. You are setting her up to have low self esteem and think that she will never be good enough in your eyes. She will also feel like she has to be a perfectionist and will probably be reluctant to take risks if she doesn't think she will do well. How about taking some time out to speak with her and be encouraging. She could also take the route of a good friend of mine and stop trying all together because she felt like a failure. It's time to check yourself and ask why you are really mad at her. Is it because that is how your parents treated you or because you were a poor student and don't feel like your life turned out the way you wanted to and think now it would have been better if you had gotten better grades.

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

It looks like you have already gotten a lot of very good/useful feedback, but I couldn't help but respond. Middle school.... remember middle school?? It is the most difficult period of time in a child's life, and she is going to need all the support and encouragement she can get from you. Middle school isn't all about academics... it's a huge emotional and physical developmental time period in one's life. If people can emotionally "survive" middle school, they are going to most likely do very good in high school. The emotional development should be focused on more than her grades right now... she still sounds like an excellent student, and she no doubt understands the values her family holds regarding grades and doing your best. Focus on what is most important during this time period and the grades will work itself out. In the end, the difference between an A and a B right now (or in highschool, or in college), means absolutely nothing in the big scope of things. Your relationship with her and her relationship with her self... well, that is priceless. I admire your courage to even seek out advice about this, it shows that you are open-minded enough to change something if it makes sense to you. Good luck and hang in there.

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P.W.

answers from Dallas on

Yes, i think you are being too hard on her. Personally I hate when someone tells a child to do their best. What does that mean? Do you clean your house to the best of your ability? I certainly don't.

I believe in balance. Help your child to do well. Share with her why good grades will help her, but let her know whatever she does is good enough. I believe knowing she is good enough will help her to go much further in life than straight A's.

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C.C.

answers from Little Rock on

Hi I say this in the up most respect to you!..... But you really need to CHIL-LAX.. She is a good student and a good person right...... so have convidence in her that she will do well in everything she does... Beside you raised her to be that way.....

My daughters have always been straight "A" students but this year they had advanced classes and they were harder and they too received "B's" They were harder on themselves than I was. And I seen this so, all I said was just to watch those classes and or ask for extra correct if the teacher would give it . Plus I talked to the teacher and we agreed if "SHE" or "HE" felt that there was going to be a problem they would call me and tutor them on thier free time. If the girls felt there was a problem they came to me. My 8th grader took upon herself to get help on her AP CALC in the morning on MON-WED-FRI. I was very proud of her. Because she realized that she was struggling and need help.

Plus you don't want her NOT FEEL CONFORATABLE enough to come to you when she is having a problem. She may feel that you won't understand and put more pressure on her. ........ Do you know what I mean???? The last thing I would want is for my girls fail at something cuz of me!!!!

Well I hope I helped you in a good way and DON'T WORRY she WILL DO FINE..... Just let her know you are there for her!!!!
To a mom from another
CindyC

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R.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Yes, you're being too hard on her. You YELL at her and scold her about a B? Wow.

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P.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think your being much too hard...a B for goodness sake ...good grief, woman...give the kid a break. Is she a good kid....does she try hard? Obedient..what more do you want. NO ONE ever asked me my grades and I am a successful professional......don"t create a real issue here....
How about instead of yelling and creating a mess? A little "good job". Might do! "Do your best......I have to tell you my girlfriend pushed her kids like crazy.....not good. I only expected my children to : give me your best shot...
Both successful...my friend's kids...NOT!!!!! They could not live up to her expectations! and are miserable!

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C.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

This is tough, because we want our kids to do their best, and sometimes it seems like the only way to get through to them is by yelling. But, yelling isn't the best thing, I think you know that because it doesn't seem to be working. More importantly, the problem isn't tht she's not getting A's, it's why. So use some tenderness with her while you try to figure out what is going on. Maybe the new material is difficult, or maybe there are some social/emotional factors that are preventing her from doing her best. She may need to get some tutoring, or maybe review key concepts that she isn't getting in class. Take the summer to review, assess her weaknesses and help her. She may seem strong on the outside but she's little on the inside. If she cries and locks herself in the room, she's frustrated and doesn' t know what to do. So try to figure it out for her and give her some practical srategies to help her.

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S.J.

answers from Denver on

I disagree with most everyone, I don't think you are being too hard on her. My parents were sticklers about having great grades - A's. It never caused any rebellion, resentment, etc on my part or my siblings with our parents then or even now as adults. We excelled in school and college and only looked at it as...our parents knew what we were capable of and had high expectations of our abilities. They were pushing and encouraging us to do the best!

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Y.C.

answers from New York on

I do also expect A's from my daughter. I don't get mad if she gets B's but I do push her to get A's.
This is my mentality, why she couldn't have A's? At 12 years old she doesn't have a job, she have few task at home, no boyfriend.
So all her time at home is for do her shores at home and take her school things.
So why I shouldn't expect A's?
I have told her that I understand that as she gets older other things will come to her life, and will be difficult to keep the A's.
I expect her to have A's all until High school, at that point she will have more shores at home maybe a boyfriend, so B's will be well accepted, and by Collage, well, if she is paying for her collage I will be ok with even C's, but if I am paying she should do good too and B's and C's will be ok.
A few years ago, my husband told me that I was to hard on her, so I decide to try and let her be, soon after that some C's and few D's came home.
It wasn't because it was hard, it was because she didn't felt any pressure and I barely saw her study.
When she get's A's I ask her how she feel, and she feels proud, but she complains is too much work, but true is, all good things in life you have to work for one way or other.

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L.C.

answers from Washington DC on

Personally, I don't think you are not being too hard on her. If she is capable of an A, you expect her to put forth the effort to get one.
When my kids bring home a B, they are confronted. They are asked if they think they did their absolute best. 99% of the time the answer is NO - that they think they could have tried harder, studied more, or paid more attention in class...
Ask the questions - when you do, tell her you want her to think long and hard before she answers.
YMMV
LBC

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T.B.

answers from New York on

Something similar happened with us. My daughter transferred schools in elementary school. Her grades dropped (A+ to B+/A) and while people might think that's not bad, it was in a way for her because her grades were always 95-100 in every subject on every test. It was nerves and shyness. By the third semester she picked up to where she left off when in the private school. This year, she maintained a 93-96% average, but had to be "nudged" to study. Part of the problem was the lack of homework and I feel this started to make her lazy, so I supplemented with educational websites and workbooks. I think another reason is the age. It is a time of transition--from going into JHS to puberty to peers. I always tell her "You're smart. You can do it. Remember how you felt when you saw a grade you didn't like? Don't let laziness get in the way." Most parents feel they are hard on their kids because #1) We love them and want what's best and #2) We feel if we are not hard on them, who will be to get them to strive to reach their greatest potential.

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B.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes you are being too hard on her. Middle school is a time of huge transitions: emotionally, socially, physically, hormonally, and yes, academically. Please try the supportive approach with her: "Is there any way I can help you with your math?" "Is everything going ok in class?" "Getting along with your teacher?" "Is there anyone you want to invite over to study with?" Think of the message you are sending with your words (and your yelling & scolding). "You are such a great student and I am wondering what might be going on that brought about this B?" (Support, and I am interested & want to help you). Or, "Why isn't this B an A - you can do better than this!" (You may be using different words, but this could be one translation in your daughter's mind.) You sound like a mom who wants the best for and from her daughter - that's great. Focus on keeping her strong. Don't turn her into a young woman who is over critical of herself, or of you for that matter. Encourage her in a positive & supportive way; it will be great for both of you. Peace to you both. B.

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C.C.

answers from Fresno on

I am hard on my kids about their grades, too. It's their job to study, and we work hard to provide them the support they need to be able to do so - we provide a quiet, well-lighted place for them to do homework, we provide healthy food, enough time to play and be kids, and if they seem to need help in a subject, we offer that to them. A child with a high IQ should get A's. I don't care what anyone says, school IS easier now than it was when we were kids. By the time a child finishes high school these days, on average they have been expected to know less than we were expected to know. (And we were expected to know less than our parents did in the 1950's.) Exhibit A would be that half the kids in our school district are not able to pass the high school exit exam - and it's 8th grade math and 9th grade English that they have to know! I mean, really?!

So in my humble opinion, no, it's not too much to ask for a child to get straight A's. If my kid takes a really hard class, works really hard in it, and still gets a B, I'm okay with that. But if she's spending time goofing off when she should be studying, and gets a B - yeah, all hell breaks loose and privileges get taken away. (Because I'm a mean mommy and that's how I roll... LOL)

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H.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know you probably don't need any more responses, but I thought I'd share my experience briefly in case it helps at all...

My son was a straight A student in elementary school, nothing was ever even much of a challenge. But then junior high, 7th grade, was a totally different story. Not only did he get a C for the first time in his life, but he had a lot of anxiety too. At first I was hard on him, knowing he could do better. But over time I realized in that particular year, in that particular situation, he was doing the best he could. Remember that hormones are off the charts at this time, and not only is it distracting, but it does also affect their ability to think straight! (Think pregnancy brain, remember that?) 8th Grade was much better and he went back to straight A's. But then high school came along and he was never had straight A's since. Freshman year he was so stressed that he was having panic attacks. Again, he worked it out, got past it, and he's done fine, but nothing like what I expected his grades would be in high school. He has places where he excels and places where he struggles. But in the end I had to adjust my own expectations, and as long as he was working hard, that had to be enough.

Sounds like your daughter's had some significant changes in her life, on top of the normal hormone craziness. Nothing wrong with keeping high expectations, but like anything, there's a balance. I would just suggest that you make sure you're keeping in mind all the factors. It's important to teach them to work hard, keep trying, and challenge themselves, but not at the cost of their mental or emotional health. They can't be expected to always perform at their peak any more than we can. And all the "success" in the world means nothing if you're not a balanced person. Hope all goes well in this next school year for you!

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A.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

B is not a bad grade to encorage you child to do well not by yelling but by praising he every time she does well make her feel good about herself youwant her to do well in school but also to be a happy well roung=ded girl good luck i raisedd 4 and noe have 7 grandchildren A. no hills

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J.B.

answers from Denver on

Yelling and scolding for B's?? Seriously? My mom used to do stuff like that to me when I was growing up. For some f*cked up reason she thought it would motivate me to make better grades. All it motivated me to do was to secretly hate her and myself. I felt like I was NEVER good enough. Maybe you should try praise for the A's and "what can we do better next time?" for the B's.... I hope I'm not the mother my mom was. I couldn't imagine making my daughter feel the way I felt.

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S.F.

answers from Minneapolis on

I go through that with my boy to. I find myself getting angry at him because I know he can do better. But sometimes they get tired of it to. I find that if I really make a big deal about the A's and just ask him why does he think he got a lower grade in another subject then he has to tell me what is wrong. Then we hit on that subject a bit harder and it all works out. Hope this helps!!!

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M.S.

answers from Toledo on

I did have to work very hard to keep my grades up. Just remember B's are better than C's. Perhaps, the way she understands how this teacher explains a math problem is not how the teacher thinks the children will understand it. Sometimes when a problem is explained in a different way it becomes more clear and less confusing. Yelling and scolding is not the way to get the results you want. And if you think for one second your child is a strong child when it comes to emotions, THINK AGAIN. My parents thought the same thing about me. Yet their scolding about math grades, and other subjects too, has stayed with me my entire life.

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K.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

In short, yes... you are being too hard on her. Middle school is vastly different and more difficult than elementary school. Class sizes are bigger, the workload is harder and the teachers dont have as much time to offer assistance. Instead of getting angry with her, why don't you ask her where she is having problems? I'm assuming you meet regularly with her teachers. Have they expressed any problems with her or noticed any areas of weakness? Keep the lines of communication open with your daughter and her teachers. Yelling and scolding will only serve to distance your daughter and make her less likely to come to you with problems. Be patient and calm, and talk to her respectfully.

If you think it's hard now, wait till high school!

W.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,

You got a ton of responses!!

My son did poorly his first year of middle school, I imagine it was so different from elementary - all the new freedom and new responsibility .. but with MUCH persistance on mine and my husbands part (yes, lots of yelling, restrictions, etc..) her pulled it together and finished off 8th grade with a 3.6 and 2 trimesters on the honor roll.

I don't care for people telling you about being too hard on your kids. We are responsible for how the turn out. School is HARD work. We have to teach them to push and push. If we don't, they turn into video game playing, lazy couch sitting, unmotivated, unsuccessful, unhappy grown-ups .. sorry, but it's true.

I am amazed by the things I see in todays youth .. and to think they'll be in charge of the country/world in just a few short years .. we as parents have the most important job in the world. We have to produce healthy and happy little people. If you choose the easy road (not busting butts when the grades fall) they'll never know what it means to persevere.

Rant over :)
good luck!!

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S.Z.

answers from Reno on

I haven't read any of the other answers, so forgive me if I'm repeating. I'm coming at this as a former A student and mother of honors students.

Yes, she probably isn't always performing at her peak. That may not be due to her deliberately slacking off. Middle school years are horrible, just about any way you look at it - hormones, mean girls, fear of the future, and that terrible stuck-in-the-middle feeling; some girls your age still collect dolls, while others are thinking about, or having, sex. It's a confusing, dreadful time (and it's one of the clearest proofs I can think of that there is a God, because this period is mercifully brief, and we only have to go through it once!)

Bright, hardworking kids put so much pressure on themselves, that when adults do it too, it can create overload. I remember friends of mine being in tears, convinced that a single A- on a single assignment would keep them from getting into a good university. I was always terrified that I would be held back a grade, despite having high grades and test scores. My oldest daughter has the worst test anxiety I've ever seen - she'll ace it if she thinks it's just for fun, but she chokes if she thinks it's important.

One of the brightest, most accomplished kids I know had a 9th grade meltdown and considered dropping out altogether when the school counselor had the standard, "You need to be thinking about college and a career" talk; she couldn't even wrap her head around the concept of being in high school, and the thought of planning beyond that nearly did her in. She eventually changed schools to one with dual college/high school credits, and is now on her way to a career that she loves. If she'd been pushed too hard, too soon, it's not a huge stretch to see her as a dropout, asking, "Do you want to super size that?"

I would suggest setting consequences beforehand, very calmly, and following through in a very calm, matter-of-fact way if you need to. Maybe a .5 slip in grades means less TV time, and a 1.0 slip means no cell phone for a certain period of time. Just keep it very calm and matter of fact, because for the next few years, any anger will push all the hormones-going-wild buttons, and things will end in screaming and tears.

Also, the last thing she needs is to feel that a single report card has doomed her entire adult life. If she starts thinking that way, she's likely to give up entirely.

Good luck to both of you!

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L.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Instead of yelling and scolding, I would ask her why she got a B instead of an A. If she's having trouble with the material, it's not fair to scold or yell at her. You should be getting her a tutor instead. If she just didn't do the homework or slacked that's another thing. My mom grounded me for A minus or below, but she always explained that it's because she wanted the best for me and she wanted me to have choices later so I never really got upset about it. Whether you're too hard on her or not depends on her abilities. My brother, who was just not as good at school as I was, would have probably been upset, too, if he got grounded for A minus. He would have always been grounded, then!

H.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, no I don't think your asking for too much. Have you seen the state standards that kids must master to be at a proficient level? Its overwhelming for parents and teahers. I'm a high school teacher in CA where kids cant progress in grades until they meet the mastery level, so ask a parent of a soon to be high school student, its just going to get harder. Parents perparing their kids for college before it gets really intense in high school. The college process is very stringent now as there is a big push for kids to go to prestigious schools.

I hope all works out for you and your daughter, do check out the summer program at Hoppy2Learn.com, its for preK-8th grade & its on a sale price right now too!!
Valerie
hoppy2learn site admn

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C.H.

answers from Springfield on

Middle school is the most difficult period of time for any school child. If the grades slipped to C's and D's I would be concerned. An occasional B is not something to get on her case about. Do you recall how difficult the ages of 12-15 are? I do. While we want to encourage our children to suuccedd, letter grades are not the whole measure of success. I would be more concerned if the grades were slipping and it appeared my child had no friends. Have you talked to her about what her days are like? Have you tried to find out what is affecting her grades? There may be more going on than you are aware of. Bear in mind that she is also very young for her grade level. All of the "junk" that comes with puberty is being thrown at her, posibly before she is physically able to understand it. Her friends may be physically more mature and she may feel like she is different or that something is wrong with her because she is not at the same level of physical maturity.
Yes you expect good grades. B is still a good grade. Take some of the pressure off her so she can be the young lady she is meant to be.

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L.C.

answers from Boston on

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

No. I'm a 7th grader and I get straight A's. I used to get D's and occasional F's but because of harsh motivation, now I'm a much better student without even having to be scold or yelled. Keep doing what you're doing and when it's over, she'll thank you for it.

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P.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Middle school comes with all kinds of changes, emotional, hormonal, physical, social and otherwise. The work also changes quite a bit and the bar is raised. Anything below a B, maybe you say something about. But if your kid is getting mostly A's and a couple of B's. I don't see the need to harp on it. Adolescence is a tough time for kids, especially girls. It's not worth alienating her now by being hard on her for what is still good grades. You will want her trust, and for her to feel like you are in her corner as she becomes a teenager.

Also, remember, grades for college start to count in the 9th grade. Middle school is just a prep for high school. Save the intensity for whey it's really necessary.

A kid behind a closed door is not a good routine to get into.

Try this:
1. Ask about what she's learning regulary and let her explain it to you.
2. If she indicates a give subject presenting a challenge, then get her some extra help.
3. Set up a reward system with A's really paying off for her so she has POSITIVE incentive to work hard vs. stress that you will come down on her if she gets a B. (could be monetary, could be activities she likes to do, etc.)
4.Also make sure you create a comfortable environment for her to talk to you about any social issues that might be coming up at school. Inquire as to who her favorites are at school, and why. Set up days for them to get together as often as possible and befriend another mom or two so you can get feedback from them that their child might be sharing even if your daughter is not.
5. Relax, you have a smart kid. Stay on her side and be ONLY encouraging.

Hope this helps.

Pam A.

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S.F.

answers from Reno on

I know 55 responses is a lot, but here's one more! <g>

No, you are not being too hard on your daughter. If she's capable of doing A work, then that's what she should be doing. The stress of daily living, whether it's changes in our bodies to social life to academic rigor, is just that: part of daily living. It doesn't ever go away. Consequently, middle school/jr. high is a great time to learn how to deal with these challenges.

My son, now a junior in high school, went through the same thing. I fussed at him (including yelling, I'm sad to say <wink>) and let him know that he needed to be getting As. It all paid off. He was very prepared for high school, has been extraordinarily successful (including passing all his high school exit exams as a sophomore) and is (and I still can't believe this) currently first in his class.

And, no, I'm not one of those psycho parents who grounded my kids for not getting As (they do get grounded for Ds and Fs). I knew what my child is capable of, expected that level of work and helped my child learn to deal with the stressors that make up our daily lives.

Put another way, we've all dealt with people who use stress as an excuse for poor performance at work or wherever. Do we like it? Does it make our life harder because we have to pick up the slack? Do we want that to be our child?

Just my opinion. Thanks for reading!

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A.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes. I was your daughter. I did great in school and loved all my classes. When I got to the 7th/8th grade my grades started to slip a bit as the material got harder. My mother would compare my grades to my younger sister's (who skipped a few grades and has always had learning come easy to her) and it got to the point that I stopped trying because I knew that no matter how hard I tried I wouldn't be able to compete with my sister. I lost my love of school and struggled even more in high school and college.

As long as your daughter is trying her best you should be happy with her grades. Instead of confronting her, encourage her.

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