Report cards


June 30, 2013 by talkaboutyork

You know, this parenting lark is a fickle beast. Just when you think you’ve got the measure of it, it sends another hurdle your way which you can choose to leap over, run into, side step or simply look bemusedly at.

What’s more, I know (now, rather belatedly) that my foreseeable future will be a circular race track, with hurdles cropping up every few hundred metres, which I will negotiate with varying levels of competence. I am not sure this particular racetrack has a finish line, regardless of how old your children get. Even when your children have children, the hurdles no doubt keep cropping up.

The latest hurdle in my path is The Report Card.

As I blogged about here, sometimes you have to let your child fail. And as I quoted from Nigel Latta then:

The way to build his inner confidence is not through pep-talks or rousing speeches, but by letting him do things, including letting him fail. We learn more from our bloody knees than we ever do from pats on the back. 

But what if they don’t learn from their bloodied knees? What if they just don’t seem to notice them? And that is where we are at right now.

I knew that the report card wasn’t going to be stellar. I was right (sometimes I hate it when I’m right).  I feel guilty writing about this. It’s not fair of me to write about my child’s school report card. So I won’t go into details. And I want to say that it was not ALL bad. He has done a brilliant job changing schools, settling in, making new friends, growing in confidence.

But I won’t lie. I was disappointed. Not by the marks, which I expected to be low given the lack of work put into revising, but by the comments made about his attitude to work. They echo many of the complaints I have about his attitude at home.

Rightly or wrongly, when your child fails, you feel like a failure as a parent.

I like to think that I am a good mum, the last two weeks of school aside. Yet right now I feel as though I am getting it wrong. Somewhere along the way, the work ethic which both my husband and I have, seems to have passed this child by.

He hasn’t read the report yet. We will be looking at it together today (yippee! that’s going to be a fun chat). But my question to you, good folk of the internet, is what is the best way to handle this?

How do you make a child want to try harder? It cannot be with threats or rewards, although right now it feels as though what is he needs is a good old-fashioned kick up the backside. It needs to come from a desire within him to want to succeed. But how do you create that desire? I don’t want to crush his burgeoning confidence. I want him to realise just how packed full of potential he is. But only he can take it and use it to its full.

Do we discuss it now, then put it aside so that he can relax, recuperate, enjoy his summer holiday, and then revisit it just before the school year starts again with goals he needs to work on? Do we send him down the pit to learn what a hard day of graft is? (kidding, but appealing). Do we make him practice his timetables and music and reading all summer long?

With this particular parenting hurdle, I don’t want to get a report card that says: Must try harder. I want to get top marks for handling it correctly. But I seem to have lost the study guide and am not sure what the answer is. Can I crib from all you clever parents out there please? What is the answer?


6 thoughts on “Report cards

  1. Michelle says:

    A few different ways to handle this but I think you ask him his thoughts…eg how do you feel about that, how does that compare to how you feel about the thing you’re good at? What do you think we should do? How can I help you? And most importantly don’t tackle everything at once. Pick one thing per term to look at and have some goals in place. My oldest had a report that said his reading and writing were below par, although comprehension was there. Knowing his aversion to picking up a pen we agreed to concentrate on reading ( also doctor’s handwriting is rubbish… That will come.) So we set a half term goal. As a boy he is also highly competitive so he enjoyed the challenge. It meant he could see the point of practice so he could get to the next level. It’s only the second half of the year we’ve tried to focus on writing a bit more. It was acceptance and personal realisation that he wanted to improve combined with targets set by him that stopped him being a fidget bum and actually sitting down to read. We don’t have any goals currently and as a result getting him to do any form of homework is a nightmare – note to self! #selfrealisationsessiononyourblog

  2. Gosh that is a hard one. Is his teacher approachable? I’m not an expert on this kind of thing, but I do find talking to their teachers helps if there is an issue – they see your child in a different environment to you, and might have some ideas about how to get through to them?

  3. I can sooooo relate to this post Melissa! I think in our case my daughter only really started putting the real effort in when she hit senior school and got in with a group of kids who saw doing well as ‘cool’, so to be left behind was ‘not cool’. The peer group makes such a huge difference for behaviour in kids. x

    • Melissa says:

      I think you are spot on. I am just hoping that his peer group start to believe that working hard is seen as cool. I think at the moment they are too young to think that way but hopefully it is something that will come (she says wishfully)

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