Is Your Child Getting Bad Grades? Here’s What You Can Do

Nobody likes seeing bad grades on a report card. As a parent, you want to see your child thrive and succeed in school, so poor academic performance can be concerning, especially when you’re not sure how to best respond. If this sounds familiar, read on for some tips.

Ask Your Child About Their Grades

Don’t make assumptions about what’s going on, and make sure you really listen to what they have to say. A young child might argue that the teacher is unfair or mean; an adolescent or teenager may insist that the coursework is too challenging. 

Let your child know that you are concerned about their bad grades, and tell them you want to work together toward finding a solution. Finally, ask them what they think they need to improve.

Talk to Their Teacher

If you haven’t already, schedule a consultation with your child’s teacher. They have key insight into your child’s behavior and performance, and they will be able to tell you if they have observed any noticeable changes over the past few weeks or months.

Keep in mind that you may hear two completely different stories from your child and your child’s teacher. That’s okay. It’s not about deciding who is right or wrong. Each person has a valid opinion, and there are always two sides to a story.

Avoid Shaming Them

You may jump to yelling or harshly disciplining your child if they bring home an appalling report card, but these scare tactics rarely work. If anything, they tend to make your child feel even worse. Most kids want to do well in school; they want to earn good grades and succeed. 

Instead, remain calm. Let them know you love them unconditionally and that you are here to collaborate with them on how to get through this difficult time. Tell them that you believe in them and feel confident you two can work this out.

Reinforce Good Habits

Sometimes kids get bad grades because they don’t feel motivated or excited about school, so it’s important to acknowledge any strides toward improvement.

However, intrinsic motivation isn’t always the best course of action. Many children benefit from receiving small rewards for small successes, and remember that the rewards don’t have to be tangible to be effective. A simple, I am so proud of you, can go a long way in boosting self-esteem.

Enlist Additional Help

School can be challenging, and bad grades may be a reflection of your child needing more support. Consider hiring a tutor or enrolling your child in a study program.  

You may want to sit in on a few sessions to see how it goes. Afterward, talk with your child to determine if they feel like they’re learning something.

What If Something Else is Going on?

Bad grades are often a symptom of mental health issues. If a child struggles with depression, anxiety, ADHD, or another condition, school may be extremely challenging. 

At Idaho Youth Ranch, we understand the unique challenges kids face. We can help with struggles related to mental health, self-esteem and confidence, and academic issues. Contact us today to get started.

Get Help for Your Child or Teen


Advocate Aurora Health. (2014, January 9). 5 tips help parents handle bad grades | health enews. Health Enews.