My Child is Getting an “F” in Math

Apr 29, 2019

      My daughter came home from school one day and joyfully announced, "I think I did really well on my Math test today!" I quickly responded with "That's awesome, I'm so glad you are doing better in Math!"

The next day I get an email from her Math teacher. In the email it informs me that my child has missing assignments. Also, with the term coming to an end all work needs to be turned in and make up tests need to be retaken by the end of the following week.

So, being a diligent mother, I click on the link in the email to view the missing assignments. It takes me to her grades where I see that there are 4 missing assignments, two missed ALEKS assignments (Math that is done on the computer) and 3 test scores with an average around 50%. YIKES!!

My child is getting an "F" in Math!

I quickly text her and ask why she has missing assignments in Math? To which she replied "I'll look into it".

When she arrives home from school I ask her why she has an "F" in Math? She looks at me, with one of those blank stare that teenagers do sometimes, and replies, "I don't know". I say "I thought you were going to look into it?"

Let's pause right there!

Let's be real!

There are 2 ways this can go:

1- I can fly off the handle, scream and yell and demand she bring up her grade


2- I can put on my detective hat and look at all the evidence that is in front of me. 

I chose #2.

So, the first question I had to ask myself was, “Is she capable of better than this?”

And since I know my child better than anybody else I have to be real with myself for a minute and say either:

“Yes, she is capable if she would apply herself more"


"No, because she is trying her hardest and is still getting an "F".

Now, if she is trying her hardest and still getting an "F", than a change of classes might be the best option.

However, if she just needs to apply herself more than it comes down to sitting down with her and seeing what’s going on.

I knew that this needed a more in-depth conversation. I take a deep breath and calmly now, I began to ask her more questions.

Armed with the answers I needed to make a decision and an action plan, I quickly realized that a little reminding was in order.

Over the years, I have found with my girls that at times I have had to remind them that their teachers are there for them. They want their students to be successful, ask questions and talk to them if they are struggling.

I have found with my teenagers (and their friends) that they are scared to talk to adults for fear that they might be mean. This is so sad because most of the time teachers are nice. You may have one sour teacher who gives the rest a bad name, and "yes" my girls have had those teachers in the past, but I still keep reminding them that even if the teacher says “No, you can’t make up that missing assignment or retake that test". It’s okay! You are still alive and the world did not come to an end!

In this light, we have come up with our family motto, “It never hurts to ask”. Why? Because, "It never hurts to ask" if the test can be redone or the assignment can be turned in late. It doesn’t physically hurt you to ask. It might emotionally hurt you to ask and be told “No”, but we all have to get rejected sometimes. If we don’t allow our children to get rejected, when they do, for the first time, it shocks them, causing unknown “damage”.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, “momma bear” wants to protect her girls and I want to go yell at the teacher for being mean or saying “No” to my child, but then what am I accomplishing?

My child needs to learn to stand up for herself and fight her own battles, because if not armed appropriately, she will fall at the first sign of danger.

I have fought battles for my kids and then there are times when I haven’t and I have given them the sword to fight. You, as the parent, must pick those battles and know when they are ready to fight and then send them off to war.

Carefully evaluate each battle and each child individually, because each one is different, and then send them in accordingly. To many times we are trying to be our kids’ "friends" instead of their parents by shielding or protecting them. This ultimately hurts them in the end when the big scary "real world" comes and bites them in the butt and they are unprepared. Or, we hover like helicopters over our children, swatting away any and all things that may cause our child to be challenged, uncomfortable, stretched or causes them to have to grow to achieve.

We want our children to grow but on “our terms” and that simply isn’t how it works. “Mama bear” CAN NOT come out and handle everything or else one day she won’t be there and the cub is going to get really hurt.

Allow your child to grow, to be stretched beyond what is comfortable; in the end they will thank you for it. (In the moment they probably won’t appreciate it, but later they will.)

It is so rewarding to hear that recognition come out of your child’s mouth. I know with my girls it is usually subtle, they might just say, “I’m glad you talked to me about rising to the occasion and bringing up my Math grade, instead of threatening to take away my phone and grounding me like my friends mom just did.” That’s a win my friend! It might not sound like it, but that is a win! That is them realizing that they have a parent who truly cares about them, not just about their grades.

To your success,

Lacey Platt

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