How to handle bad grades

Good grades are considered a stepping stone to securing admission to reputed universities and setting the foundation for a successful career, especially in India. Academic excellence is so important that parents spend lakhs every year to provide the best education to their children. So, children feel immense pressure to score high marks.

Unfortunately, when children don’t perform well in their studies, it fills them with guilt, shame and insecurity. They feel guilty and ashamed that they didn’t meet their parents’ expectations. They feel insecure about their future. Just imagine your children’s state of mind when you admonish them for bad grades.

As parents, it is your responsibility to make your children feel safe and prevent them from falling into a spiral of negative emotions. Here are a few ways to support your children when they get bad grades:

Don’t be Judgemental

You should remember that your children are already grappling with shame, fear and guilt due to poor marks. They are expecting you to rebuke or punish them. Avoid being judgemental in this situation.

Talk to them expressing your concern instead of yelling at them. Be calm and patient. Don’t use words such as ‘this is unacceptable’, ‘you are so dumb’, etc. It is also crucial to avoid comparison with other children.

Find Out the Reason

When your children present you with a disappointing report card, try to go to the root cause. There must be a reason why their academic performance is not up to the mark.

Maybe your children couldn’t study for exams due to a celebratory or tragic event in the family. Maybe they missed school for a few days due to sickness. Maybe they didn’t understand the concepts properly. Maybe they have poor focus. Maybe they are facing some issues at home or school they are unable to speak about. Maybe they spend more time playing with friends or watching phone/television. Dig out the reason so that you can address it appropriately and create a relevant action plan.

Talk to the Teacher

If your children have been underperforming recurrently, you should discuss it with the subject or class teacher. A teacher can tell you things about your children that you wouldn’t know. This is because children may act or behave differently in school.

You can also talk to the teacher about the teaching style. This would help you understand the learning style of your children. For example, some children learn more quickly with interactive videos or demonstrations than with theoretical lectures in the classroom. Ask your children what makes learning fun for them.

Teach Your Children to Learn from Failure

Whether your children are toppers, average or below average in school, they find it difficult to embrace failures. Toppers would feel that they have failed themselves and their parents. Children with poor grades would feel that they are weak in their studies and are not enough the way they are.

Childhood failures can be traumatic and adversely impact their mindset as they transition to adulthood. Hence, you must teach them to take failures in their stride, learn from their mistakes and ensure that they don’t repeat the mistakes.

Work on Your Children’s Weaknesses

You can either sit with your child to help them with studies or hire a tutor. A little extra focus on your children can instil confidence in their abilities and motivate them to perform better.


The most important thing to remember as a parent is that poor grades are not the end of the world for your children. They can improve their performance with the right guidance. At the same time, allow them the freedom to explore something more suited to their aptitude, interest and capabilities. Every child blooms at their own pace.

About Raghav K

Raghav is a learner by nature, and has been engaged in various professions for over a decade, from photography to event planning to maths coaching classes, and now enjoys working with kids to develop their creativity and help them to find their passion. Currently on a sabbatical from his coaching centre, he spends most of his time reading, writing, and playing music.


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