Where did the fall go?! Here in Montgomery County, Maryland, Friday marks the end of the first marking period for county school students. This presents parents the opportunity to practice our encouragement skills as we consider how we’ve handled report cards in the past and how we might do so a little differently this time.
Keeping in mind that kids are excellent observers but poor interpreters, we need to be thoughtful with our words. A simple comment such as, “Aww, only a B in math this time” — intended to empathize with how they surely must be feeling about the B — may be interpreted as, “I’ll never be good enough” or “The only acceptable grades are A’s.”
One way to avoid the minefield is to get curious! After thanking your child for sharing their report card with you — it is, after all, their report card — you might ask in an open, friendly manner, “How do you feel about your report card?” When they reply, key in on the emotions. Is there anything your child is proud of or finds disappointing, surprising, confusing? A follow-up question might be, “What kind of grades are you willing to work for?” or “What kind of grades would you be proud to receive?” Your curiosity not only allows children to consider for themselves how they feel about their work, it also provides you with additional information.
Be thoughtful with your words; notice progress, good intentions, and improvement. Most of all, believe that your child also wants to be successful. Underachieving children are often discouraged children — they need our encouragement to motivate themselves. For more on the topic check out this month’s Washington Parent article by PEP Certified Parent Educator and Family Therapist Emory Luce Baldwin
Whether it’s the quarterly report cards, nightly homework hassles, or the daily drama regarding screen time – one thing you’ll notice is that children present daily opportunities for us to hone our parenting skills! For many of us the language of being an encouraging parent isn’t our native language. Who among us couldn’t benefit from learning new skills and getting some support and encouragement? Join us online this month for 4 weeks of parenting support, check out Encouragement! Building Your Child’s Confidence From the Inside Out!