My kid failed today, so I gave her a piece of my mind!

My kid failed today, so I gave her a piece of my mind!

When I picked up my 6th grader from school today, she got in the car and immediately started sobbing.

“Matea, sweetie, what’s wrong?”
“I got a really bad grade on my math test. REALLY bad!”

Math. Her favorite subject. The subject she’s been getting A’s in. She was so disappointed in herself. It was the worst grade she ever got. We chatted about it for a bit, but unfortunately, I was rushed to get her and her brother to their dad’s house. (My older two children spend the weekends with my ex-husband.)

When I returned home, I decided to email her. I didn’t want her dwelling on this bad grade the entire weekend.


Soooo…you got a really bad grade today, and guess what? I’m proud of you!

I’m proud that you took complete responsibility for it without making any excuses.
I’m proud that you decided to email your teacher and ask for help.
I’m proud that you’re a really good, kind person because that is much more important to me than grades will ever be!

However, a really bad grade does require a consequence, so here is what I expect you to do:
1. Let it go! I know you’re really upset about it, but don’t let one bad grade ruin your day. A year from now, you won’t even remember this!
2. Keep in mind that one bad grade doesn’t mean you’re a bad math student! And it definitely doesn’t mean you’re not smart. It’s so easy for us to focus on the one time we fail instead of the many times we succeed. You’ll fail again at times. Maybe not at math. Maybe not even at anything that has to do with school. But you’ll fail again in life, and you know what that means? That means you’re a human! (Which is good, because I was kind of hoping for a human when I gave birth to you.)
3. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this?” Failure can be a good thing, if we choose to learn something from it.

I love you, sweetheart! Now go deal with those three consequences I gave you, OR ELSE!!!  🙂

Have a great weekend with your dad!

Love you,


Now, let me be completely honest and transparent with you, my lovely readers. I am the first to admit that I have, on one too many occasions, freaked out at my kids over silly things. I’ve gotten upset over spilled juice or a shattered plate (even though those were obvious accidents). I have overreacted at my kids for losing something or being late (even though those are things I, myself, am guilty of at times…many times). So in no way am I saying that I have this whole rational-approach-to-parenting thing all figured out. But I’m learning. I’m getting better. And I’ll fail at this parenting gig again. And again. Because I’m human. But hopefully I’ll also learn from those failures. Because I’d really like to raise children who are never as hard on themselves as I have a tendency to be on myself.

38 Responses to My kid failed today, so I gave her a piece of my mind!

  1. Lacey Oliver April 8, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    Hi Kristin,
    Don’t have much time,
    Mom at five, 13, 10, seven, four, three.
    Spellcheck, text to speech, speak to text. …. whatever !
    Don’t have time to fix.
    I just want to say that the mom and the ice cream with a spoon except for is a fork so me.
    You inspire me on a daily basis, I have cried watching your videos, I have laughed so hard I damn near Peed my pants, you crack me up you are such a big inspiration, your sense of humor I love it.
    I just recently watched your video when you were going through all your hard times……
    I just want to thank you.
    I’ve been a mom lately, hiding in the bathroom bawling my eyes out. Life’s been pretty hard, if something could’ve went wrong it did. Cartoon , boiling in the water for the noodles….
    Thank you so much for the video, you’re an amazing person. That meant so much to me.
    Life’s thrown some curveballs, and it throws you, and your daily inspirations. …. don’t ever stop being you. A lot of us crazy moms, your are sanity. Just when you think you’re losing it you put on Kristin, and realize were normal. Thank you again.

    • Lacey Oliver April 8, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      Proofread don’t have time for that either!!!! lol

  2. Marianne Braziunas March 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you… I am a mom of an almost 17 month old, yet I fret in my head daily about how to best raise my son as he grows up. I worry because I often never feel good enough as a mom, and I don’t have a lot of help waiting in the wings to take over when I am at the end of my rope. We live in MN, and our families are in MI. I doubt myself, but in the end, your words and awesome videos are what reassure me that I am enough, and I am doing a great job as a parent! I don’t want my son to grow up being as hard on himself as I was/am on myself… it is not a happy road. Thank you for the amazing advice and reassurance!

  3. Kristin February 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    I absolutely love this perspective! Thanks for always shinning so much light on so many topics.

    Also, I love this top have on in your “mean mom” video. Where did you buy it?

  4. Keia January 26, 2017 at 4:51 am #

    Wow this hit home. My kids aren’t old enough for grades yet but I definitely get upset over little things way to often. I get to wrapped up in my day, my business, the house etc that something little tips me off. But when I read this it gave me hope that I’ll have days like this and give my kids a little piece of wisdom to take with them. Love this
    Thank you!

  5. Nathalie January 24, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

    Uhm, can you be like, my new best friend? I live in Sweden so the distance is an issue but hey! Skype!
    Just kidding.. But thanks for your blog! I recognise myself in so many things you write and say. This mejl to your daughter was lovely, I print screened it (😝) for when my kids fail (because I will probably be stressed and tired when it happens and won’t be able to findy words-thanks for giving them to me).
    Have a great day! Or at least a good nights sleep 😉

  6. Cheryl January 21, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    I teach high school math to 9th graders, and I would love to share this with them. They get so wrapped up in little daily things sometimes that I think they forget they are worth so much more than whatever a test grade might say.

  7. Sophie Grace Dawson January 20, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    Thank you. I am learning too. I just love your style and heart. Thank you thank you thank you. XOXO

  8. Majka January 20, 2017 at 9:03 am #

    I live your open heart, Kristina <3

    • Majka January 20, 2017 at 9:04 am #

      Love, of course 😀

  9. Kristin Owens January 12, 2017 at 12:17 am #


  10. Pammie Rollins December 4, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

    My daughter brought home a bad grade on an assignment and needed a signature for the extra credit. She was so afraid to give it to me, afraid of disappointing me. I told her don’t worry bout this assignment. It doesn’t make a big difference at the end of the nine weeks for report cards.

  11. Jenny Hartzell November 23, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    I love this! Us as parents get too upset when our kids fail a class or get a bad grade. You put it into perspective, and I never think like this… you have opened my mind to approach things differently with my kids. I just watched your video when you went to your therapist and how you thought you were a bad mom…. I balled through that whole video, but everything you said is true! You are an amazing g woman and mom! Thanks for all you do and will use your strategies for sure. Keep being a great person 😁

  12. Ashley Winward November 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    If I could give you a hug I do would! I love your post! I feel so much better when I read your posts and watch your videos! Thanks, for helping us as parents and mothers feel better about ourselves. Thanks for your time and energy you put in to the videos and posts!!

  13. Toni October 28, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I love this and am totally stealing it for when I will need it with my sixth grade daughter as well. She’s a straight A student in a very hard gifted program so I know the day is coming that she will not do well on something and I will need this. Thanks for sharing and you will totally get the credit, lol.

  14. Kim October 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    Copy-paste that letter to your daughter and put it on my phone because I KNOW I am gonna need that someday!

  15. Georgia September 29, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    Can’t say I hve been following your blog for long but you got my attention. Because your right. And I like ur spunky attitude and self assurance that we have to be the guidance our babies need

  16. Shelley Ballard September 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    I love this!!! My high schooler is just like me in that she is a perfectionist, which means she doesn’t handle failure well. She is so hard on herself it is literally like she parents herself in that way. I find myself as of late, asking, “Will this matter in 5 years, 10 years?” You literally get a parenting award for this one, because we are all human and WILL make mistakes. The point is to learn from our failings and how you get back up again. My sentiments exactly!!!

  17. Libby Pierce September 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

    That is such a great way to handle a bad grade. I plan on adding it to my bag of mommy tricks. I have been trying to stress that learning is more important and grades aren’t always the best way to show what you know. I have 2 kids that are excellent testers, and I have 2 that test horribly with exams that they have to read or write. If you ask them about it they will really shock you with how much they do know and can tell you . Still they will often get upset over a bad grade or failing. I told them that failure isn’t a bad thing. Fail is First Attempt In Learning. And that it is ok because they are learning from mistakes too.

  18. Leah elliott September 28, 2016 at 6:57 am #

    I love your stuff. It’s inspiring, refreshing, and tongue-in-cheek, laugh out loud funny.
    Thank you for sharing. Love your videos and have shared them all.
    Anything else you’d like to share, I’m all ears…..and eyes.

  19. Victoria Knedgen September 27, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m a mom. A real mom. I don’t have time to go back and fix my mistakes, and I don’t have time to worry about every little thing I didn’t finish on my to do list. I used to yell at my kids to get moving, we’re late! Don’t put white socks in the color hamper, who does that? Now, I have 3 beautiful people who I have had the deepest honor of meeting as adults. My son is still only 15, but he’s an old soul. I love his quick wit and his charming way of saying, “screw you” without uttering one curse word. He’s refined and intelligent, and sucks in school. His grades are horrendous! But, as a mom, I let him know his job is to do the best he can produce. I am preparing him for getting ready for the real world by saying, if you make a mistake, own it. And he does. My absolutely beautiful 18 year old daughter is a high school drop out because she chose to work at 15, when she became pregna6with my grandson. Yes, I taught her abstinence. Yes, I taught her good morals. And yes, she is a beautiful woman who cares for her son, with daddy even (by the way, as I write this, wedding plans are but 2 weeks away!). My soon to be son in law loves my daughter and my grandson, and worked hard to already get them in to their own home at such a tender age. So, I failed by not watching her closel8enough, but I’ve gained so much from that one night “oops”. And my 21 year old amazing daughter. Honor roll. Has goals in life. She wants to be a vet. But because she suffers from social anxieties, she’s failed not one, but two times in college. Did she immediately pack up and move back home? No. She’s now working to pay off loans and she intends to start over in a year. I am so very proud of my absolute horrible parenting skills. My children are amazing adults that make me remember, I don’t do everything right. But I damn sure did 3 things right.

    • Victoria Knedgen September 27, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

      Ooof! I really should proof read my work before submitting it from a phone. Heyo! Mistake. And I promise, it’ll happen again!

  20. Melissa September 27, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    I notice today in school my kids come home and are upset if they got an 88% on a test! I say, that’s awesome! What’s wrong with an 88? They think they should be getting 100’s on everything or nothing below 95. I don’t understand the pressure on kids now a days. They can’t be putting it all on themselves, somewhere, someone has made them think an 88 isn’t good enough! What a great email to your daughter! I wish more parents were like that instead on adding so much stress and pressure to their kids. I don’t want my kids getting bad grades but if they got a 70 and had an A for effort! That’s okay with me. As long as they try their hardest and are good
    people, that is passing to me????

    • Melissa September 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

      Those were supposed to be exclamation points, not question marks! ????????

  21. Liz September 27, 2016 at 4:17 am #

    My daughter came to me today with her math test she got 23/25 amazing in my mind she didn’t want to show it to her dad bc he is always hard on her when it comes to math she waited till she came to my place To get it signed bc she figured he would tell her she should have done better and read the two questions she got wrong better. She shouldn’t be Afraid of that but bc of him just curious if you would consider it a bad grade like he does

    • Tia Rogers September 27, 2016 at 7:32 am #

      This is awesome if my chil got this grade I would be so proud of him because he tried his best. Even the smartest kid in the class will get a few questions wrong. There is nothing for your child to be ashamed of. Though I know how she feels my dad was the same way with me about everything my weight my grades you name it I could be better at it. But that is awesome that she got 23/25.

  22. Lars Friis September 22, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

    You are a mother children wish to have! You are beautiful – on the inside and outside! WOW!????

  23. Anja September 22, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    OMG…my eyes are welling up! It is still out there…common sense (paired with love for their children!) Totally awesome response! My parents tried to react the same way, yet one can become obsessed with things like not being the best and to shine for them…until you realise it’s YOUR life, and you are suddenly a parent too, and dont know how to handle this lovely child of yours screaming at you. 😀
    Am just recently got aware of your website Kristina, the parenting video – am not your buddy, kid – appeared on my Facebook page am recently started visiting again after getting much too overwhelmed with the parenting thing in the last 2 years combined with work etc. (something I thought would never happen to me!), and I started to say NO! 😉 …you are an inspiration, and be aware you’ve found a new follower in me. 🙂 (am usually not a stalker! dont worry.)
    Have a great day!

  24. Susan September 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    Oh my gosh , what a gift you have given your daughter and also thank you for
    Sharing it with us!
    The message drives home that mistakes and errors are all part of being human and there is more value in letting it go than being so hard on herself.
    As a teen therapist I know how difficult it is to be a teen these days so I really appreciate your writing. I’m a new reader!

  25. Emma September 21, 2016 at 7:21 am #

    Such warm, wise advice!

    I love your website. What a breath of fresh air; funny, down to earth common sense rooted in love.

  26. Deb Merkel September 19, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

    Mom goals!

  27. Daphne V Smith September 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    This is a beautiful and healthy way to respond and encourage. You’re modeling a perspective that will serve your children and readers well. Thank you.

  28. Nicole September 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

    Great advice!

  29. Mary Wiggins Pirio September 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    Once again, Kristina writes what should be required reading for anyone having children! How I wish I’d had this wisdom when I was raising my children. And yet somehow they grew up to be amazing parents themselves.

  30. Peggyp September 18, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    You are my spirit animal????????????

  31. Jo :) September 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    I’m really hard on myself. Good point not to pass THAT on! Thanx!

  32. Lia September 17, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    What a great email to your daughter! And such a positive way to look at those times when we fail.

  33. Kristy Kemp September 17, 2016 at 8:18 am #

    you’re awesome