What Are the Real Issues Affecting Bad Grades?

Dear Dr. Linda,

We have two boys, Dan in 11th grade and Luke in eighth. Dan always gets straight A’s while his younger brother, Luke, gets B’s and C’s. As the years have gone on, Dan has kept his grades up but Luke’s have gone down. Not only have his grades gone down, but he seems to have actually “checked out.” He goes to school but does poorly and doesn’t seem to care.

We’ve spoken to Luke’s teachers and they tell us that he’s simply not trying. We’ve grounded him, but nothing changed. We’ve bribed and preached, but nothing changed. The only thing that’s happened is that he’s doing worse. This first-quarter report card was a disaster. Any advice?

Sign Up for E-News

Luke’s Mom and Dad

Dear Luke’s Mom and Dad,

For starters, realize that report card grades are primarily based on tests and homework. If Luke’s test grades are low, go over the tests with Luke and find out why he missed certain questions. You may find out that one of the questions was based on an assignment Luke didn’t do, or he didn’t understand the question, or he didn’t know the meaning of some of the words in the question. You may also find out that he is totally lost in the course and has no idea what is going on. Without this information, the test grade is useless.

If you discover that a good portion of the grade is based on homework assignments, review the assignments with Luke. If he didn’t hand them in or never did them, talk calmly with him to learn why this is happening. It could be that he truly doesn’t understand the subject or the assignment. It could be that he doesn’t want to ask you for help because he knows that he’ll have to sit for a long time with you or you’ll make him redo it.

A parent’s knee-jerk reaction to that is, “That’s just too bad. He has to learn it!” Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work. In fact, many kids who are trying to survive often lie so they don’t have to deal with their parents.

In addition to tests and homework, some children don’t succeed in school because they have siblings (or parents) who are/were straight “A” students. Even if it’s simply a perception, these struggling students shut down because they feel they cannot compete. These children view themselves as academic failures in comparison to “star pupil” siblings.

The most important thing to do is to talk to Luke and “listen” to what he has to say. Listen to more than just his words, though. Many children naturally try to protect themselves from punishment or avoid disappointing their parents by blaming their teachers for a poor grade: “The teacher hates me.” “I handed it in, but the teacher lost it.” You need to move beyond lies and cover-ups and identify the real cause. No child wants to fail, and Luke is no different. He wants to succeed, but something academically or emotionally is holding him back.

So, do your homework. Some parents and teachers blame their children’s poor grades on laziness when—in reality—their own laziness is the culprit. They don’t do the work to discover what are the real issues contributing to poor grades. There is always a cause and always a solution, but children aren’t equipped to remedy it by themselves. With respect to their grades as with virtually all else, be their allies, not their adversaries. No one is in a better position to advocate for their children than parents.

If things don’t improve, contact a professional, in school or out, to help you identify the problems that stand in the way of Luke’s success.

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

The DACA Dilemma and the Trick of the Trickle-Down Theory

Here is our very own Sen. Charles Schumer on the Senate floor last week: “President Trump has stood in the way of a bipartisan solution to DACA, a problem he created in the first place, and yet the president is in this dream world. He thinks, ‘Oh, I can blame Democrats for the impasse.’ As I said, only in the 1984 world where up is down and black is white could this be true.

Cuomo’s Frivolous Lawsuits Cost Us Money

Since Donald Trump became president, New York State has filed more than 100 lawsuits against the federal government. This includes those filed by both Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It does not include lawsuits filed by the City of New York. Most of them are political in nature, filed to please the plaintiffs’ voting base. In the real world, if we had filed ...

Beautiful, 'Clean' Coal

After completing his first full year in office—an alarming year, at that— Donald Trump has concluded that climate change is not a significant national threat and that the sacred lands and waters of this country should be sold to the highest bidder. 

The Trump administration has withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement; deregulated national landmarks; freed public lands for ...

Multigrain, Please

I have no craving for white bread; it’s too plain, predictable and tasteless for me. I hunger for a chunk of multigrain or rye, maybe even a good-sized piece of pumpernickel raisin, with a schmear of cream cheese on the side.

I have no appetite for bland, clean-cut, middle-of-the-road, isolationist politics. And I find unsettling the cultural sameness, gross consumerism and incurious ...

I Love 'I Hate Halet'

Let’s face it, folks. Not everyone loves Shakespeare. Not even all actors. Andrew Rally is one of them. In fact, where there’s a Will, there’s a way Andrew will find to avoid acting in one of those famously timeless plays. And for good reason. Shakespeare tests, to the fullest, an actor’s mettle, and Andrew is strictly a TV actor.

He has just ended a star turn in the ...

A Trip to the 'Liberry'

Raise your hand if you didn’t—did not—call the library the “liberry” when you were little. I’m guessing not a lot of hands just went up.

Didn’t just about all of us say “liberry” when we were learning to read? (Well, whaddya expect when a place is named something way too easy for little kids to mispronounce?)

OK. Now, raise your hand if ...

I Am Woman, Hair Me Roar

When you have short hair, it is inevitable that you will spend an inordinate amount of time growing your hair out and then getting fed up and cutting it again. I have been down this hair-brained road several dozen times before, complaining for months until I am convinced my husband is going to cut it all off while I sleep just so he doesn’t have to listen to me whine about it one more ...

I'm Mrs. Heat Miser

To be perfectly honest, I did not need a large rodent with insomnia to convince me that we had six more weeks of winter. It’s been so cold outside lately that when I go out, my nostrils stick together. The dog is so hesitant to go out that he does his business right on the deck, less than five feet from the door, and then gives me a look of contemptuous indignation when he comes back in the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 28, 6:00 PM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

Freedom from Smoking

Health & Wellness

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Fri, March 2, 7:00 PM

Kennedy Catholic High School, Somers

The Kennedy Catholic High School Players ...

Arts & Entertainment Other Religions And Spirituality

Bazzo Needs to Get His Facts Straight

February 15, 2018

To the editor,

Once again Mr. Bazzo, in his Feb. 8, column cherry picks facts, ignores other facts, passes along lies and spins so fast to the right that it’s amazing he doesn’t drill himself into the earth.

Bazzo is correct—the economy is doing well, and we should give credit where credit is due. Thank you, President Obama for taking the economy from the brink of another ...