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Is a student's goal of a C grade average good enough?          Send a link to a friend

Note: "Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful Children" is a free syndicated column from The Parent Institute.

[AUG. 26, 2005]  Q: This year my son has the attitude that a C grade is average and that's all he needs to strive for. What can I do to get him to see that a C in today's world is not much? I know he is very capable of higher grades.

A: You know that he's capable. Now just get him to recognize it! Students today are often involved in a variety of after-school and weekend activities. It is a challenge for them to balance their academic and extracurricular lives. Peer pressure is also starting to play a greater role. Here's what you can do to motivate your son:
  • Ask him what's going on, and listen carefully to what he has to say. Take care to really listen. Resist the urge to interrupt or argue. Just listen. Don't be afraid of long silences. When it becomes clear that you really expect an answer -- and that you are prepared to wait for one -- he is likely to talk to you. He may be just as concerned as you are. Is his change in attitude caused by problems at school? New friends? Let him know that you are there to help.

  • Continue to encourage him. Let him know that you don't expect him to be perfect in everything but that you expect him to do his best in school. Tell him how much you value education and that grades are important. Then point out some things that your son is doing well. Emphasize the positive with him.

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  • Talk to his teachers. They see your son in class every day, and they may have insights about his attitude. Work with them to develop a plan to encourage and motivate your son.

  • Look at the big picture. How much is your son trying to do? Is he involved in too many activities? Is he spending too much time socializing with friends or on the computer? Talk to him about setting up a regular routine and study schedule. Good organization and study skills can give your son confidence.

  • Make it clear that you have high expectations for him, that you love him and that you will support him when he needs it.

[The Parent Institute]

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