How to tell your parents a bad grade

How to tell your parents a bad grade
How to tell your parents a bad grade

We sometimes have the impression that parents are our enemies and yet they are there to help us. If you are afraid to present them with a report card with bad grades, know that while they will be sad and pissed off for a while, it will only be because they care about you and want you to give your best. of yourself. If you use the right technique to present your newsletter to them, things won't go as badly as you think.


Part 1 of 2: Prepare to break the news

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 1

Step 1. Know what the report card is for

Depending on your class, your report card contains different information that is not limited to the A's or B's in math or science. It can indicate your behavior or attendance at school. For example, your parents may know if you are paying attention to explanations or being too talkative in class. They can also find out what teachers think of you: “satisfactory”, “needs to improve” or “improving”. Ask your teachers to explain to you what you don't understand in your report card. You should be able to clearly explain your grades to your parents.

  • Know how grades are assigned. Did you miss any of your tests? How many tests did you have during the exam period? How many questions, tests and school work are taken into account? Remember to keep the tests, quizzes and assignments you completed in class so you can show them to your parents.
  • Another factor to consider is the type of newsletter. Some institutions distribute report cards every nine weeks to track student progress during the semester. These bulletins should not scare you since the notes they contain may change. On the other hand, semester report cards with grades for the entire semester (if your school distributes any) are more important, because they contain the grades entered in your school file. Find out about the type of report cards your school gives out and find out which ones have the provisional and final marks.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 2

Step 2. Identify your problems

Write down any reasons that may justify your bad grades. Your parents will ask you what is happening to you before anything else, and you should be able to give them an answer. Be honest in your self-assessment. Among the possible causes of your failures, we can cite:

  • you are sitting next to a friend who easily distracts you,
  • you find the teacher boring and you fall asleep during lessons,
  • you prefer to rest or play instead of doing your homework after school,
  • you don't like the material and you pay no attention to it,
  • you understand the material, but stress on the tests and your grades drop as a result,
  • you have trouble concentrating despite your best efforts,
  • the teacher has not prepared you sufficiently for the tests and exams. Are there other struggling students in your class?
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 3

Step 3. Seek advice from your teachers

It is likely that you will have an idea of ​​your grades before you even have the report card in your hands. Consider discussing this with your teachers ahead of time so you can prepare a plan that will allow you to improve. Be honest with them when discussing the reasons for your difficulties in class.

  • Ask them if it is possible to improve your grades by working more.
  • Ask them what they think is your problem. Teachers have a lot of experience with struggling students and they are able to see the issues that prevent a student from improving even if the student has no idea.
  • Ask them how to better understand a subject.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 4

Step 4. Make a plan that will help you improve

Keep in mind all the information and advice you get from your self-assessment and from your discussion with your teachers. You can use them to improve yourself during your next exam. By presenting your parents with a plan to improve yourself, you show them that you recognize your mistake and, most importantly, that you are mature enough to find a solution to the problem. They'll trust you all the more when you promise them to improve. To get better grades, you can:

  • stay after class to review some homework with your teacher,
  • work more according to what your teacher has recommended,
  • sit where you cannot see or talk with friends who distract you during class,
  • get enough sleep each night and eat a good breakfast to have the energy to stay awake all day,
  • list how the different learning outcomes can be useful to you in life. You don't necessarily want to be a mathematician and maybe you want to be a writer. Whichever you choose, you must have good grades to be able to enter university!
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 5

Step 5. Create a daily schedule

Since everyone has their own way of working, it's in your best interest to create a personalized schedule that will make it easier to reach your goals. You are probably the type of person who can do different things in a row, and ideally you would create a schedule that allows you to start your homework as soon as you get home. You can then rest for the rest of the evening. If your school schedule doesn't allow for this sort of thing, give yourself an hour or two at home before you start your homework. Arrange your schedule according to what works best for you.

The most important thing is that you start your homework at the same time each day. With a good work routine, your studies will fit easily into the rest of your day

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 6

Step 6. Set realistic long-term goals

What do these notes represent to you? What do you want to do later in life? Most students want to go to college and find a job. Do you know in which university you are going to study and what will be your course? If you have an idea of ​​what you want to do later, and if you know what kind of grade will help you achieve that, you'll want to get A's, B's, or even C's more.

Report cards don't just contain student grades. They also reflect their efforts, their development during the school year and their understanding of the different subjects. You have to show that you like to learn, or at least, that you understand why it is important to work hard

Part 2 of 2: Talking to parents

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 7

Step 1. Don't hide your newsletter

While it's tempting to hide your report card, you should resist the temptation. By doing so, you are only revealing your immaturity while by taking responsibility and telling the truth, you are showing that you are mature. Also, your parents might get even more upset if you hide your notes from them, which is definitely not what you want.

Don't wait too long to show your report card to your parents. You wouldn't want them to ask you, "Why are you just talking about this now?" Or "Why didn't you say it right away?" "

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 8

Step 2. Break the news to both of your parents

Even if you spoke to one of your parents first (the more understanding parent), you will still need to talk to both of them when they are at home together. This shows them that you recognize your fault and that you are ready to talk seriously with them. They will be more inclined to forgive you.

Tell them you got bad grades before showing them your report card. It is easier to hear something than to see it in black and white, and they will be less surprised

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 9

Step 3. Explain to them why you got a bad grade

When speaking to your parents, explain to them why you were not able to give your best during the exam period. You start a dialogue with them. You have to make them understand that you are aware of your poor results, but that you also know your good and bad qualities. Show them the list you made and analyze each point listed with them. Have an honest discussion.

Don't look for excuses. Refrain from saying things like “The teacher doesn't like me” or “It's not my fault. Also, avoid lying or pretending to ignore what your teachers wrote by saying "I didn't know there was this homework" or "I'm not talkative in class though. Take responsibility for your actions. Your parents will see that you are mature, responsible, and ready to improve

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 10

Step 4. Show them the plan you created

Show them how you planned to improve your grades. Tell them the details of your plan and why it will work. Write it all down on a piece of paper and give it to your parents so they know what action you plan to take. Also ask them for advice on how to improve this plan.

  • Tell your parents that you are not happy with your grades. They will understand that you take all of this seriously.
  • Don't just say you're going to get better: show them you want to get better. By giving them the details of your plan, you clearly show your desire to get better grades.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 11

Step 5. Ask them what they consider to be a bad grade

Knowing what your parents think is a good or bad grade (or a positive / negative comment) will make it easier for you to fear when to show them your report card. You will also better understand what they expect from you.

  • At the start of the school year, after receiving a report card with bad grades or what you initially think are bad grades, you and your parents should have a discussion so that they can tell you what they want from you, but also so that you can tell them about your goals and what you plan to do to get there. You will be on the same wavelength and you will have an idea of ​​the goals you need to achieve.
  • Remember that making an effort in school does not necessarily mean that you have to have an A in all subjects. Not everyone can have an A, and for some students, a B or even a C is already an achievement in itself. For example, if an A in English is normal for you, a C in math may be a sign of improvement. Strive to be the best you can be, but don't set unattainable goals for yourself.
  • Remember that the further you go in your education, the more effort you will have to put in. Don't panic if you get B's in subjects where you initially had A. trigonometry. Also tell them that the physical sciences are easier than chemistry.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 12

Step 6. Focus on the positives

During the discussion with your parents, be sure to show them the positives in your newsletter. Even if you got bad grades, it's important that you point out the right things as well. It won't necessarily be easy, but you shouldn't overlook the positives. Does one of your teachers recognize your efforts or your irreproachable behavior?

  • One of the things you shouldn't forget is to focus on all your efforts and progress, no matter how small. Have you improved your general average? Did you manage to keep your science average?
  • Don't let bad grades take precedence over your efforts, but don't overlook those bad grades. Are you and your parents happy with your C in history? Is this C an evolution from your previous note? If so, keep putting in the effort and promise to always improve!
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 13

Step 7. Avoid thinking that your parents are going to get upset

Your parents were children before you. So don't immediately assume that they're going to yell at you. They probably remember reporting bad grades at your age, too, and if this is the first time your gradebook has been this bad, ask them to be understanding. Keep in mind that if you speak calmly and in a mature manner, you will set a good example.

  • Be polite and respectful, even if you feel frustrated. Your parents might be shocked and a little upset when they see your newsletter, but don't get defensive and also avoid getting upset.
  • Accept, like an adult, the punishment they have planned to give you.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 14

Step 8. Be optimistic

A newsletter is not the end of the world. You will always find a way to improve yourself and get better grades. Additionally, you now have a plan to fix the problem! You know how to improve yourself, so promise yourself and your parents that you will follow it exactly. Only your willpower will allow you to get better grades.

Don't get discouraged and don't get upset. Avoid saying, “I can't get better! I'm a good-for-nothing! I am stupid ! To your parents. This kind of thinking is not encouraging. Start by setting yourself small challenges if your main goal seems unrealistic. Tell yourself, "I will improve my next test by getting 5 or 10 more points." This will help you get better grades

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 15

Step 9. Ask your parents to talk to other parents or to your teacher

Do you think that your teacher may be the cause of your difficulties at school? Be honest: don't just blame him if you really are solely responsible for your bad grades. By blaming your teacher for no reason, you put yourself in bad shape, whether at home or at school. If, however, you see that other students are also having difficulty, and if you feel that the teacher has not prepared you enough for the exams, tell your parents.

  • Suggest a meeting between you parents and the teacher. By addressing your parents and your teacher simultaneously, you will find the motivation to improve yourself and you will get advice on how to get there. You are also showing that you really expect to get better grades.
  • Be careful how you suggest this idea. Your parents might think that you are trying to put the blame on someone else. Provide enough evidence that you can say that the teacher is at least partly responsible for the problem.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 16

Step 10. Ask your parents to help you study

Seek their help if you think you won't be able to stick to the plan you've made. Also ask them to help you become more responsible. Promise them that you won't blame them if they force you to follow your own plan. Your parents can help you in different ways.

  • They can explain difficult concepts to you in their own words. While teachers and textbooks sometimes put things in a way that is hard to understand, your parents can explain them to you more easily because they know you and know how your brain works.
  • They can help you write fact sheets summarizing your lessons.
  • They can ask you about your lessons.
  • They can help you with your homework by preventing you from making mistakes and correcting you if you make mistakes.
  • They may give you additional homework to help you understand the issues you are having difficulty with.
  • You should understand that your parents are probably already very busy and that they cannot devote as much time to your homework as they would like. It is your sole responsibility to learn in school and you should be grateful for the help they give you.
Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 17

Step 11. Ask your parents to hire a tutor

A private tutor can help you catch up with your classmates, however their fees may be a bit high. Don't blame your parents if they can't hire one to help you.

If your parents don't have the option of hiring a private teacher, ask a fellow student who is doing well in school to become your tutor. So you won't feel like you're working on your own, and your parents won't have to spend money on a tutor

Talk to a Parent About a Bad Grade on Your Report Card Step 18

Step 12. Discuss the subject of your grades with your parents before the report cards are distributed

By regularly informing your parents of your grades at school, you avoid possible frustration when it comes time to present the report card. Show them the quizzes and tests taken at school when the teacher returns them to you. Another option is to keep them posted on your homework for the week every Saturday or Sunday. This will give them an idea of ​​your progress at school.

Keeping them informed about your homework will make it easier for them to identify the cause of your problems at school. If you suddenly have a bad mark on a quiz or test, you and your parents can work together to find a solution. You can act quickly before the problem gets worse


  • If one of your parents is more understanding than the other, talk to them first before having a conversation with them both.
  • If they get angry, stay calm. Things are likely to get even worse if you both stand up for your point at the same time.
  • Address your parents in a reasonable tone and listen to them. They just want to see you succeed.
  • Release the pressure. Clap your pillow, ride your bike as fast as you can, or listen to music that lifts your spirits, but avoid arguing with your parents.
  • Be prepared to accept reasonable punishment. This shows that you take the situation seriously and that you are ready to do whatever it takes to prevent bad grades from happening again.
  • Remember, your parents will still love you even if you bring home bad grades!
  • Tell your parents that school is difficult and that you will need their help and support to reach your goals.
  • Talk to them about the positive side of the situation and let them know that you are going to work to improve yourself.
  • Play the honesty card to avoid problems. Your parents will be even more upset if you lie to them or hide your notes from them. Tell them what you plan to do to get better grades in the next semester.
  • Don't look for excuses by saying, for example, “The students in my class are too noisy. This kind of apology makes you sound like an immature student and shows that you run away from problems instead of being honest and accepting that you are solely responsible for that bad grade.


  • Avoid hiding your newsletter from your parents. They will see it sooner or later and by hiding it you will only piss them off even more.
  • Don't lie to your parents. You will only make matters worse!
  • Do not imitate their signature in your newsletters. Your teacher might talk to them about it and things might go wrong for you.
  • Don't stress out about talking to your parents. They'll likely forget and forgive you, but don't worry if they don't calm down right away. It is only because they are worried and want your best.

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