When your children's grades are not as expected

Each year on these dates, when the school year ends, students receive their grades. It is a time when family conflicts can arise when the grades are not good or the child's academic progress does not show the expected evolution. As Ana Arechavaleta, a psychologist at Vithas Nisa Rey Hospital Don Jaime, explains, "it is not a trivial matter, since the way in which parents react to the qualifications of their children can affect their motivation, self-esteem, sense of control over their learning and evolution and attitude before the study ".
The specialist recommends, as a basic rule, to react with empathy: "It is not always easy, but when we show empathy with our children we are really telling them that we understand them and that we respect their needs". In this way it helps to strengthen their self-esteem and motivation and confidence in their environment. In this sense, as Arechavaleta clarifies, empathizing does not mean consenting or giving in to whims, but taking into consideration their feelings and difficulties when it comes to helping them. "The focus is on trying to understand what our child needs, instead of putting it on what we think it needs."
It is common that before receiving the notes there are previous indications that put the parents on notice. Children can express signals, even non-verbally, about how they are feeling or what they are having problems with. It is essential to pay attention to their behavior, to ask them directly how they feel, what is happening to them and what they need. "Giving them the opportunity to express themselves makes them active participants in their own development and learning," says Arechavaleta.
In addition, the most important thing, in the words of the specialist, is that expectations are always subject to the particularity of each individual, taking into account their difficulties, their strengths, their needs. Based on this, objectives and an adequate plan can be established to achieve them, always working together with the child and the tutor. The Vithas Nisa Rey Don Jaime Hospital belongs to the Vithas health group, which has 19 hospitals and 27 medical centers in Spain.
Reactions to bad ones and good grades
In case the grades are not good, instead of reacting instantaneously and abruptly, Arechavaleta recommends keeping calm and postponing the answer so that it is calm and balanced. An example of this would be: "I need time to think what I want to tell you, we'll talk about this tomorrow."
When the results are positive, the specialist advises avoiding comments like "I knew if you tried harder you would improve!". "That 'try harder' may not be the main variable of their evolution, especially if they are children with learning or attention difficulties," he says. Instead, comments of the type would be more appropriate: "Very good! It seems that using new strategies has allowed you to obtain good results". It should be remembered that, on many occasions, grades are not the average of progress, but can be effort or attitude.
Another point to keep in mind is that, as children grow, learning expectations change and it may be more difficult to achieve them in some subjects. In this case, Ana Arechavaleta advises to talk with our children about the differences between subjects and the changes that could help and make an appointment with the tutor or, if the child is old enough, suggest that they talk to their teacher about strategies that could contribute to their improvement. .
"In general, parents must learn to manage the frustration, disappointment or disappointment that this type of situation can provoke and not pass it to action through unthought-of punishments and exaggerated actions," says Arechavaleta, who advocates Change in the attitude towards the study progressively.
Mónica Ramirez
Counseling: Nisa Hospitals

Video: Not Expected


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