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!
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.