"There are no argumentative children; only adults who argue with children."

Setting the Expectation for Better Grades


My 11 yr old son has very average grades. He had 2 C's on his report card, and I did not pressure him or get involved with his schoolwork very much this past 6th grade year. Should I create more of a reward system to improve his grades?


Thank you for writing.

Children are amazing creatures, in that they will rise, or fall, to the expectations that have been set for them. If you did not set any particular expectations for good grades, then there is no reason that your son would have worked for any grades higher than C's. If, on the other hand, you set the expectation that he make A's and B's, I'm betting that he will be able to rise to the expectation.

As for rewarding your son in an attempt to have him make better grades, my answer here is a most emphatic NO. Do not reward your child for that which is already expected, and don't attempt to bribe him in an effort to improve his grades. Simply sit him down before the start of the new school year, and say, "Son, this year we expect you to do better. This year our expectation is that you stay on top of your school work and make A's and B's." Then get out of the way and let him do it! Don't micro-manage, nag about homework, or the like. Should he bring home good grades, certainly praise him for a job well done. Should he fall short of your expectation, make the necessary adjustments in his life until said grades have come up to your expectations. It really is that simple

I wish you the best of luck!

Laura E. Gray, PhD. CLPC

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