As parents, my wife and I find it very easy to discipline our twelve-year-old son for making low grades. We will take away his electronics until he improves them. However, we also encourage him to do well in the first place. He wants to do well for himself, which makes our job easier, but he sometimes gets discouraged or distracted. Finding proper rewards will help us ensure that our son will work hard to maintain his high grades.
Expectations on grades
We expect our son to do his best. He is very capable of making the honor roll every grading period, so we expect him to do so. We do not tolerate low grades, especially for lack of effort. We check our son’s grades, homework assignments, attendance, and behavior online almost daily through the school’s parent portal. We can see real-time updates of each assignment, quiz, and test.
Report card grades
The first nine-week grading period ended on October 19, 2012. The report card posted onto our parent portal, and we can print a hard copy. As we guessed, our son made the honor roll, making five As and one B (in Honors Pre-Algebra). We really liked this report card, so we continued the reward program that we established during his elementary years.
Throughout elementary school, our son liked getting toys for his grades. He would get toy cars or board games, and we could all sit down to play together. Soon, we discovered stuffed animals with codes that let him play more on his favorite Websites. Eventually, those toys turned into small electronics and new video games as he got a little older, and we could still all play together. The time together was the best reward for him and for us.
He is nearly 13 now, so he has new interests. Those rewards have morphed into iTunes cards so he can buy his own music and iPad apps of which we approve. We may not get to play together with those items, but we can still sit and talk while he uses them.
We do not want to feel like we are buying our son’s grades, but we do want to reward him. He already wants to do well in school, but – as with most kids his age – some other things have begun to take precedence. We have to encourage him to keep working hard. We will still discipline for low grades, but we will also keep encouraging success this way. Most importantly, we do not wait nine weeks for the report card to post. We view the grades frequently, and we praise every high score and deal with any low scores that we see. We both keep track of our son’s grades to ensure success. So far, it has worked.
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