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How to Explain a Bad Grade to Your Parents

How to Explain a Bad Grade to Your Parents

By Laura Etheredge

The worst has happened: the critics panned your Hamlet diorama. Your surprisingly tasteful anatomy skit was… not well received. (And yet it was so thorough!)

You tried your best, you really did—so while you nurse your bruised ego, think about what happens next, because how you break a bad grade to your parents can go a couple of different ways.

If you’re a good apple, and this never happens, you’re probably going to take this harder than your parents. You, lucky chickadee, can just come out with it—your parents already think you’re the greatest, so this one-time botch? Don’t even worry about it. They’ll probably blame the teacher, the school, modern education… (And truthfully, I’d guess you usually have to worry more about being kind to yourself than you have to worry about them being kind to you.*)

If this sort of thing happens to you periodically, don’t worry—you’re not necessarily in hot water. In this case, the news is best delivered as an achievement sandwich: place your low-grade meat between two slices of happy-bread and chances are you can make it a lot more palatable. (If it’s USDA C-grade or lower, you might need to top-load it with more happy bread. Be ready with a success pickle, too.)

If this happens all the time, though, I guess we’ve got more “don’ts” than “dos” for you: don’t lie about it! Parents know everything. (No, they do. $10 says my parents are reading this right now.) If they don’t know about it now, they will find out later (and in the most bizarre ways you won’t even believe), which is way worse. Don’t “forget” or “lose” or “what school?” it, either—you made the music, now it’s time to lie in it.

But if you aren’t willing to accept defeat, and you do want to turn the good ship Scuola around, make a strategic plan (parents love plans—right, guys?) outlining how you intend to do better and in which areas. Sit down with your teachers, too. Everyone will be so blinded by your proactivity that your interpretive dances on test day might start to look…good.

* Write this mantra on your notebook and read it every day until you feel better: “I am a good person. People like me. My diorama was a good diorama. I love my diorama and I love myself. That skit was bloody awful. I accept all this and I release it to the universe in spite of the conflict of interest stemming from the fact that I am the cosmos made human. Anyway, bye for now, -Me.”

What do you do when you get a bad grade? How do your parents react when you tell them?

Topics: School, Life
Tags: parents, excuses, grades, high school, failing, bad grades

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