Discipline for Bad Grades

Below are some very effective disciplinary techniques specifically for dealing with your child's poor academic performance. Some of these techniques will work – some won’t. Some of these techniques are incompatible with the others – some work well in combination with the others. Use your good judgment to determine which technique(s) to try:

1. Allow your youngster to suffer the natural consequences of bad grades. He may find that he gets in trouble at school more and is kept for detention without a parent to come and smooth the situation over. Explain that if he wants to make his own choices concerning his education, then he will accept his own consequences, even if that means repeating a grade or not getting into the university of his choice.

2. Be consistent with your discipline so that your adolescent always knows what to expect. Setting down clear rules and responsibilities can ensure your adolescent's cooperation. For example, if you say that any grade below a "C" will cause you to take her cell phone away, follow through with that discipline (despite any begging or pleading). Following through on discipline shows her that you are serious and that there will be consequences for bad grades.

3. Consider logical consequences. Many times the shame of getting a bad grade is punishment enough. But if you feel that your youngster isn’t ashamed or unhappy with the grade that they achieved, then you should consider something that fits the crime. Cut back on extra-curricular activities until grades improve, or set aside time each day where your youngster has to do his homework – and then review it yourself each night.

4. Discuss the issue. You can lecture until you’re blue in the face, but not get through to your youngster. Instead of lecturing your youngster on what they should be doing, find out why they got a bad grade. For example:
·         Do they not like their teacher?
·         Do they find the teacher’s testing methods difficult?
·         Are they not motivated?
·         Are they having problems with the subject matter?

If your youngster finds the subject matter difficult, then it is time for you as a parent to reevaluate your expectations. You can’t expect every youngster to excel in every subject. As moms and dads, we all want to believe that our kids are gifted, but in reality many kids work hard and get only B’s and C’s. Also, consider the nature of the class. If your youngster is in an advanced class and gets a B, then they would have probably received an A in a regular class.

5. Don't allow the adolescent to go to any social events until she brings her grades up to a more acceptable level. Missing out on dances, parties, or sports events can be a great motivator for her to put more time into her studies.

6. Look for tutoring opportunities, and sign your adolescent up for them. You'll be disciplining her by taking away some of her time and freedom for tutoring, but it will also help her improve her grades. You can also look for your adolescent's summer school options and sign her up if her final grades are not up to par.

7. Remove the communication devices that your adolescent owns. Online messaging, social networking sites, and cell phones can all disrupt your adolescent's homework and learning in school. Take these items away, or block her from the computer until her grades are raised to an acceptable level. She'll most likely work hard in order to get her communication devices back.

8. Take away the adolescent's car or driving privileges. This can be a great motivator to get him to study more and to deter him from letting his grades drop in the future.

9. Talk to the teacher. Teachers want students to succeed. They hate giving bad grades, even when the student deserves it. So talk to your youngster’s teacher about their grade. Find out what the teacher believes is the problem. If it is different than what your youngster believes to be the problem, consider having a meeting with your youngster, the teacher, and yourself to resolve the problems and get your youngster’s grades back on track. In the future, ask the teacher to provide you with updates on how your youngster is doing. That way there will be no surprises the next time your youngster has a test or report card’s roll around.

10. Wait to respond to a bad grade. As parents we tend to overreact when first presented with something like a bad grade. So give yourself a little time before saying something drastic like “You’re grounded for a month.” Talk it over with your spouse before reacting.

If the measures above do not work, consultation with a learning specialist may be warranted. Have the adolescent tested for learning disabilities. If the adolescent continues to have bad grades there may be an underlying problem. Finding out if he has a learning disability can help determine the steps that are needed to help him get better grades.


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