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By Danielle Barfoot, mom to a boisterous teen and freelancer who writes about parenting and education. She writes regularly for  Impaq Education, a curriculum provider for home, tutor and school education.

As a parent, you want your child to do well in school. So, what do you do when their report card doesn’t reflect their academic potential – or your expectations? The most important thing is not to react with disappointment. A bad report or poor grade is often a red flag for a potential problem area, not a measure of your child’s worth… or your parenting skills.

If your child’s report card is not all you had hoped for, here are a few things to consider

Underlying health issues
Your child may have a hundred excuses why their grades are low, none of which may be convincing. However, there could be several valid reasons, too. Maybe he can’t see the board. Maybe he is tired because he is participating in too many extracurricular activities. Or maybe he is struggling but too embarrassed to ask for help. In addition, learning and attention difficulties such as ADHD, can cause academic problems, as can sensory impairments and conditions that impact on reading and writing skills, such as dyslexia and dysgraphia.

Bullying
Bullying does not only affect a child’s confidence and self-esteem, but also his academic performance. Children who are bullied at school tend to show less academic success due to a fear of standing out. As a result, teachers often identify them as unmotivated or low achievers. They may then receive less attention from teachers, which only pushes them further down the academic rankings.

Wrong subject choices
If your child is in the higher grades and suddenly brings home a poor report card, it could be due to poor or incorrect subject choices. Making the right subject choices for his final years of high school is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions your child will make in his school career. Seeking professional guidance will help make the decision less intimidating and can give your child the confidence needed in selecting the subjects best suited for his future studies and career path. If the subject choices at schools in your area are limited or do not cater to your child’s specific aptitude, home-education providers such as Impaq offer an extensive range of subjects.

Academic ability
Of course, it is also important to remember that not all children are academic achievers. Some children struggle academically, yet excel at music, art, or athletics. While poor academic progress is something to be concerned about, academic results are not a true or whole reflection of your child. If your child is not naturally a straight A student, why not nurture his other talents (and revise your expectations). If he is achieving well enough to get by and proficient in social-emotional learning for his grade level, a few bad grades aren’t the end of the world.

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