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Making the Grade

'Tis the season  -- for report cards! Here, how to handle your tween's marks, from Lisa Huffman, Ph.D., associate professor of educational psychology at Ball State University:

If he gets A's or B's:
* Read the comments. Despite good grades, your brainiac could be a show-off or clash with classmates.
* Ask how easily he earned his A's. A stellar student may be bored, in which case a chat with his teacher is in order.
* Congratulate him! Don't take his success lightly  -- he should be proud, as should you.
If he gets C's or worse:
* Go over the report card together. Ask him if he thinks his grades reflect his efforts. Whether he admits he could do better or insists he tried his best, this will give you a starting point to talk about improvement. (If he's struggling, reassure him he's not a failure  -- together you'll find a better study strategy.)
* Talk to his teacher. She'll know his class-room faults and can suggest sound solutions.
* Don't offer to pay for an A. Giving bribes for good grades only encourages kids to perform for money  -- not pride.
* Set some realistic goals for next term  -- say, going up a half grade. Together, come up with a game plan (does your child want a tutor? Study sessions with Dad?). Above all, keep tabs on your kid to make sure he stays on track.

Want to change your school? Parenting and Georgetown University has teamed up to launch Mom Congress, a brand-new program to help moms connect and advocate for positive change in their children's education.
Join the Mom Congress initiative