Grades Driving You to Distraction? Be Curious Not Furious

Grades Driving You to Distraction? Be Curious Not Furious

Grades Driving You to Distraction? Be Curious Not Furious

Grades Driving You to Distraction? Be Curious Not FuriousHave you been obsessively checking your child’s grades, or surreptitiously looking at them with every notification from Schoology and Power School?

Here’s how to tell if you might be on grade overload:

  1. You lie awake at night thinking about grades and what they mean for college options.
  2. You have the grade app on your smartphone and check it regularly.
  3. When you see missing work, you immediately grill your teen, posing questions that can’t easily be answered without you getting even angrier.

If this sounds like you, you may need to rethink your approach to online grade platforms. The New York Times had an op-ed piece last Sunday about the pitfalls for parents who fret over their teen’s digital grading programs which can provide 24×7 access to grade-induced anxiety.

Given that I just received yet another finals week email detailing a parent’s concerns about grades in each class for a high school student, this article is particularly timely. The emails I’ve received include worries about moving a student from a B+ to an A- and missing work that the student tried to explain was recently turned in but not yet recorded. Parents, I want to help you rest easier!

Below are some takeaways from the New York Times article that I wanted to share in case you missed it. These takeaways represent the views of SOS4Students as seen through the lens of our years of experience working with anxious parents, anxious teens, and grade hyperfocus.

Our Key Takeaways
  • Adjust phone settings to prevent alerts every time a grade is posted.
  • Students need to be responsible for turning their work in on time.
  • Students need to communicate with teachers about incomplete assignments and concerning test scores.
  • Anxious about seeing zeros and missing work? Remember, sometimes teachers are delayed posting work or test retakes to online platforms.
  • If your child simply forgot to submit the work or needs extended time, offer support, not accusations.
  • Recommended Reading: In Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic-and What We Can Do About It, author Jennifer Breheny Wallace suggests becoming “curious not furious.”
What It Means for You and Your Student

The bottom line is that to boost executive function in teens, parents have to stop managing school for their child. This includes letting go of “grade helicoptering.”

While it may be tough to see your child struggle, don’t jump to conclusions. Respect your student’s privacy and autonomy. If something seems amiss, collaborate to determine what support makes sense for you to offer (if any). This is especially true for students getting ready for college. They must become independent in starting, tracking, and following through on their work.

How SOS4Students Can Help

Parenting for Independence Workshop Series—Join SOS4Students director Beth Samuelson and senior coach and counselor Kelsi Kane for our 3-part “Parenting for Independence” workshop series this winter. Delivered online via Zoom, these 75-minute workshops are for parents seeking concrete solutions and tools for communicating with their overwhelmed and emotional teen students, encouraging independence, and understanding the teen brain. Register now – the first session is January 21!
Learn More & Sign Up Now ›

Orinda Academy Presents—Beth will also present “Parenting for Academic Success: How to Help Your Child Develop Executive Function Skills” in partnership with Orinda Academy on January 10 via Zoom.
Learn More & Register ›

Winter Workshops for Middle School and High School Students—These in-person workshops come at just the right time in the school year to help boost student independence and academic success. But hurry – these programs are popular and fill up fast.
Learn More & Register ›

Got Questions?

SOS4Students is here to support students and families. Contact SOS4Students at (510) 531-4767 or to discuss ways we can help.

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