When I say tweens’ grades don’t matter, many parents look at me with fear in their eyes. What do you mean grades don’t matter? What I mean is straight A’s or a perfect 4.0 don’t necessarily guarantee life success. They may get your child into good schools. That much is true. What will they do for your child once they get there? That’s the question. There are five skills your child will need much more in life than good grades. These skills will take them places their grades won’t.
Teach your tween to have a positive outlook. Life is filled with disappointments, setbacks and let-downs. How will your tween handle them as an adult? Nobody likes a whining, complaining, spoiled brat. How do you insure that your child keeps a positive attitude? Adopt one yourself. Treat others with respect, build your tween’s self esteem. Show empathy and compassion. Give them a sense of security. All these things give your child a solid positive foundation to project from.
Make sure your tween comprehends concepts. What if your tween isn’t an honor roll student? How do you define learning? I feel it’s more important to develop reasoning and comprehension skills than it is to memorize mindless facts. Does your tween understand the material? Does it make sense to them? If not, work on the concept, not the grade. In other words, don’t worry about raising grades, concentrate on raising understanding.
Tweens with perseverance will go far in life. Teach your child to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep trudging down that rocky road. Let them know the only way to reach their goals is to keep trying until they get it right. Teach them to use mistakes as learning tools, rather than roadblocks. I find the best way to encourage children to persevere is by making it clear you have faith in them. Use your words, parents.
Social skills are needed in just about every life situation. Your boss doesn’t care about your grades in middle school. He does care about how well you communicate with customers, co-workers and superiors. Don’t get angry when your tween constantly texts peers, spends hours on the phone or talks up a storm at the dinner table. It’s all good practice.
Teaching tweens to follow the rules is essential. Even if your child is a budding entrepreneur, learning to follow rules makes sense. No matter what occupation your tween chooses, there will be a higher authority to answer to. Don’t forget the rules of good manners and polite behavior either. Given equal experience, who gets that contract? Is it the shady, ill-mannered candidate or the one who plays things courteously, straight forward and by the book?
More from this contributor:
Five Quick Tips for Dealing with Rudeness in Tween Girls
Five Ways to Develop Organizational Skills in Tweens
Five Ways to Get Tweens to Listen