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Why good grades are not that important?

As school started, many parents have had already several opportunities to rejoice or get disappointed upon seeing their children’s first grades. But are grades really that important?

The answer to this question depends on what the parents view as a success. If grades are seen as a pathway to later financial stability or success in life, then unfortunately there is no guarantee there, as grades do not have a direct relationship with future materialistic success. In other words, we know that among highly successful people there are those who did earn top grades, but also many others who did not and ended up dropping out of school.

Thus, if you are prone to worry about your children’s grades, there are a few things worthwhile to keep in mind:

· A school test score is not an indicator of child’s ability. More often, it is an indicator of the quality of instruction, the fit between the child and the teacher’s style of instruction, or the child’s motivation towards learning.

· Grades do not predict future success. Other factors, such as social or emotional intelligence are not measured in school tests yet have a stronger relationship with future success and life satisfaction.

· Grades do not reflect the child’s individual progress. Instead, they serve as a comparison between the child and their classmates or a defined norm. Thus, it might be that the child has improved, but the score fails to reflect this learning.

· Grades do not assess how responsible or hard working the child is, because the subject may be simply too challenging and thus despite their best efforts, some children do not achieve the highest result.

So, before you surrender to despair and label your child as not smart enough, lazy, or irresponsible, remember that a bad grade only means that for some reason your child is not able or does not want to do what is required to get a good grade.

Instead of leading with blame, lead with genuine curiosity: Why his grades are not reflecting his ability? What is so challenging that makes it impossible for him to perform well? What kind of support can help him raise to the challenge and score higher?

Your belief that they can do better, will be the fuel your children need to keep persisting and will sustain their motivation to learn. True success in life should be measured in financial independence, positive self-esteem, and satisfaction with one’s achievements, not grades. Therefore, when we lead with understanding, support and most importantly, belief in their ability to do better, our children will inevitably thrive.

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