The key to preventing yo-yo self-esteem is to separate grades from a child’s identity.
The shift for parents is to think and talk about grades as feedback.
Feedback is simply a result based on an action that was taken – in school, it’s a measure of how well they learned the material.
Grades don’t mean that a child is “smart” or “dumb”, “good” or “bad”. Grades simply mean a child has either learned what they needed to know and did the work they needed to do, or they didn’t.
When children learn to interpret grades as feedback, and separate grades from “who they are”, it empowers them to deal with any grade, without impacting their self-esteem.
For example, what could parents say about an “A” report card?
Instead of saying something like, “You’re so smart” or “You’re an ‘A-student!” Parents could say, “Wow – you made a great grade. Looks like you really learned the material.”
The first comment labels the child whereas the second comment is objective feedback on the child’s work.
What could parents say about a C, D, or F grade?
A parent can say something like, “It doesn’t look like you learned the material that you needed to know. Let’s put together a plan to make sure you are prepared going forward, otherwise you may fall behind and future tests will be even more difficult.”
This approach tackles the low grade as a problem to be solved versus labeling the child.”
Renaye adds, “When grown-ups talk with kids about grades, it’s important to remember to take an objective stance – focus on the results versus judging the child.”
Using grades as feedback is effective for homework as well. Parents can work with their children to establish a threshold grade for homework (i.e. 88%, 93%, etc.). If grades are below that level, children know ahead of time that they will need to rework the homework assignment to ensure that they learn the material.
With this approach, redoing the homework isn’t punishment; it’s striving for learning and excellence.
When kids learn to interpret grades as feedback, and not a reflection of who they are or how smart they are, then how they feel about themselves won’t rise and fall based on the grades they receive.
About Renaye Thornborrow and Adventures in Wisdom Inc.
Renaye Thornborrow is leading a worldwide mission to bring life coaching to kids. Since 2013, her company, Adventures in Wisdom, has certified hundreds of coaches in over 30 countries, helping them create a business they love as a life coach for kids while empowering children around the world. For Renaye, motherhood was the catalyst for turning her lifelong passion for personal development into a comprehensive and effective story-based coaching curriculum to bring life coaching to kids. Life coaching is a game changer for children as they learn how to build confidence, resilience, and mindset skills for life; and it is a game changer for coaches as they increase their impact and income while doing their work in the world serving kids. To learn more, visit www.adventuresinwisdom.com, call 512-222-6659, or send email to [email protected]
SOURCE Adventures in Wisdom