I’m on to my kids. I may not be able to hear a question they ask me standing a foot away, but I can hear the fridge door open and close when someone’s trying to sneak cookie dough. I usually know too when there’s something they’re not telling me. And thanks to the online Parent Portal, I can know my kids’ grades with the click of a few buttons.
It’s so annoying.
When Hayden was in high school I checked it like I check my kids when they have fever; over and over as if my tenacity would cause an instant and dramatic improvement. There were always at least several bad grades between the three kids and they always had an explanation. Constantly checking grades to try to avoid or remedy bad ones, stressed me out. So I stressed them out.
Poor Hayden. Being the firstborn, he’s been my parenting guinea pig. I call him Experiment 627 (He’s named after the famous Disney alien character Stitch who was referred to as “Experiment 626”). I tried a variety of bad grade discipline measures on him.
- The Guilting/Shame Technique (I can go for hours. Though I’m excellent at it, it wears out the whole family and is ineffective
- The Terrorizing Technique– This is an offshoot of the “I brought you into the world and I can take you out” brand of discipline. It’s the “I’ll make your life miserable” way of saying your grades better come up.
- The Reward Technique– Only after we were desperate, did we join the ranks of parents who told their children that their education was their job. We offered to pay him for good grades. This was one of the more effective strategies, but still,… it didn’t help that much.
- The Punishment Technique- This is where we would ground him for bad grades. We’d take his phone away which probably would have worked except for two things-
1. I couldn’t stalk him on the “Find your iPhone” app if he didn’t have his phone.
2. I’ve never been that good at sticking with long term punishment.
I could have just grounded him to where he had to stay at home, but strangely, that guy likes to stay home.
The kids grades haven’t been that terrible really. I think about how my grief could have been better expended on disciplining them for episodes where they displayed a lack of character than for mediocre grades.
I’ll tell you (like most parents would) that my kids are at least average in intelligence. Hallie is a sophomore this year. Like Hayden, she’s no overachiever. “B’s are great. Who needs an “A” when making a “B” is so much easier?” They have a tendency to be under-concerned about their grades.
I’m trying something new.
With Hallie, and to a lesser extent with Rylie, I’m trying a new technique. I like to call it “The Blind-Eye Technique”. It’s a technique that has been born out of frustration and exhaustion by my bearing the undue burden of their grades. This first six weeks I’ve rarely asked Hallie what grades she’s making and I’ve only checked grades online maybe two or three times.
If she knows she has a “C” in a certain class, she’s been instructed to go to tutoring until the grade is brought up. That’s it. I drop that hot cake in her lap. I’ve rarely asked about her grades this six weeks. It’s up to her to know what her grade is. It’s her responsibility to bring the grade up, not mine (by use of the unaffective, above mentioned techniques. It’s on her to let me know when her grade has been brought up.
In their defense, they’ve both taken Pre-Ap classes that I never took. I made a handful of”C’s” back in the day in classes that weren’t advanced. So a little grace on my part is probably merited.
It’s just that with “Blind Eye” technique they learn that improving a bad grade is up to them. My kids can hopefully gain responsibility through knowing that the longer a bad grade goes unnoticed, the more effort that will be required to fix it.
What about the days they’re having to sit in tutoring because their bad grade was due to negligence and not a misunderstanding of a concept? (You know, when they have to sit in tutoring with nothing to do?) That’s ok too. Sometimes silence and boredom are louder than my bad grade speeches.
Six week report cards come out today. What grade will the “Blind Eye” technique make?
One more thing. I’m thankful that Parent Portal is there when I want to know my kids grades (and when I want a reason to be crazy).