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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking Straight As for Granted...

Ash pausing her walk for a snapshot
On Monday, Ash had a doctor's appointment. In the conversation she was having with her doctor he asked if school was still going well and how her grades were. She told him it was good and that she had straight As.

She didn't say it like she was bragging. She didn't even lift her head up or smile when she answered him.

He asked her if she was proud of herself because getting straight As is a hard thing to achieve these days with kids learning things a lot earlier than we did way back when. She just kind of shrugged her shoulders and said, "I guess so."

Is it my fault that she doesn't see what an amazing job she is doing with her school work? Am I letting her down by not rewarding her with as much praise as I should be when she brings assignments and report cards home?

I have been thinking about this a lot since Monday.

It is my fault. I have totally taken her great grades for granted over the past two years. I don't even think about Ash coming home with anything less than a A. I wouldn't be upset if she did but it seriously doesn't cross my mind. I sort through the papers she brings home with high scores and say, "Good job." (Notice that I didn't put an exclamation point there. I don't think I even show much enthusiasm when I say "Good job.".)

I used to shower her with hugs, excitement and sometimes a small treat. I used to tell her how proud I was and called her our little bookworm and mathbrain. I used to. What made me stop praising her and start taking these grades for granted?

I can't find an answer to that question but I can ask myself a new question to remedy the situation...What can I do to make this bright girl truly understand how proud I am of her?

I will work hard at making her see that she (and her sister) are my pride and joy. If there is anything in this world that I have done is bringing the both of them into it. I know it is a better place with them in it. I know my world wouldn't be the same without them.

The next time Ash is asked how school and her grades are, I want her to hold her head high, smile and say with enthusiasm that, "It is going great and my mom couldn't be more proud of me." because I couldn't be.

What do you do to reward your child for good grades and hard work? What were your rewarded with when you were in school? Or do you feel that your parents' took your good grades for granted too?

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At February 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM , Blogger Gia said...

I was mom was always happy, but I always got As, so she couldnt really celebrate each one. It worked out pretty well for me, so I wouldn't stress.

Give her something bigger for her report cards. Like money. That's what my mom would do (not that I was motivated by money, but it was a nice bonus).

At February 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM , Blogger Jenn and Casey said...

Every report card I got, my parents did a little celebration and I got to choose some place to go out to dinner. But the in between report card time? Just lots of verbal praise. I always wanted to make them proud. I'm a people pleaser ;) I'm sure your daughter knows how proud you are, cut yourself some slack!

At February 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Mommy Inconsistent said...

Oh, the mommy guilt that makes a great mom like you be so hard on yourself? We all do this to ourselves waaaay too often! Comes with being a mom I guess. You're a great mom and you're so aware. How 'bout a special evening out or an afternoon of pampering..a pedicure and a special lunch?
Have a great day!

At February 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM , Anonymous where is the ME in mommy? said...

I do not reward my children for good grades. I expect them to try their hardest and am proud of an "I can" attitude more than having an A. As a teacher, I know an A for some kids comes by a lot more easily than a C for another kid. And really, I want my children to know that they are lovely and adored not because of what they can do (grades) but for who they are--their character, humility, modesty, humor, adventurousness, etc. My daughter works hard in school and I'm proud of her but in the end, I tend to tell people I'm proud of her for other reasons--her compassionate heart, her loving ways with little brother, etc.--rather than talk about school achievements. Does this make sense?

I did have parents who really rewarded their kids for grades in schools and I was always jealous. My folks didn't take grades for granted but I didn't get paid or anything.

Great post!

At February 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM , Blogger Maren said...

Hmmm.. this made me think.

When I was growing up I had great grades, but they cost me a lot. It was SO much hard work. Over the years, I got less and less praise (I did get some, though). I felt like it was expected, and it was. Eventually, I stopped noticing, and the expectations had become my own. Today, I am not exactly disappointed with my Bs at UNI, but I know I probably could have done better. The bar is set so high. If I wasn't the way I am, it would have gotten to me. Not sure what I'm trying to say here, just sharing my experience.

In my teacher's practice, I also feel it the other way around. The kids that excel in everything .. they are praised and it's great that they are doing so good.. but what really gets me excited is that kid who struggles with all his subjects, and usually gets 1-2 correct answers out of 10 possible, on a spelling test. The day he hit 4, that was like 10 As for him. In the class, they have a praise system that says the ones with 10 right answers gets their names on the blackboard. He will never get in that box, but his 4 correct answers meant more than the top pupil's 10 correct ones. He told me he knew he would never get everything right, and he would never see his name on the blackboard. Solution? I made individual tests for everyone. Adapted them. The top pupils needs challenges too, and having the fastest learners and the slowest learners always doing the same thing isn't right.. Super long story short, I gave him the opportunity to get his name on the blackboard, he took it, and I will never in my life forget the look on his face as I read his name. Not ever. During my next break I just cried, because that look just touched me.

I wish your daughter was proud and more enthusiastic about her accomplishments too, because she should be!

At February 1, 2012 at 1:48 PM , Blogger Central Penn Landscaping said...

Great Post. You are so right.... we do correct them so sternly- but... the praise - we just start to expect it. You are a great mom. Great way to share what's on your mind.

At February 1, 2012 at 2:23 PM , Blogger Julia Hunter said...

I don't recall being rewarded for good grades, they were just expected. Though I knew that if I got bad grades my parents would be disappointed.

At February 1, 2012 at 3:17 PM , Blogger JDaniel4's Mom said...

JDaniel doesn't get grades yet but, I do praise him for doing a good job and tell him that I am proud of him.

At February 1, 2012 at 3:25 PM , Blogger marie said...

You bring up a very good question and it has been enlightening reading the comments.

I gush over good grades because they mean a lot to me, but in the same breath I will ask "how does it make you feel?" because I want my kids to recognize their own feelings and take ownership for their results.

I also ask "on a scale of 1-10 how hard did you try?". The last time I asked this my daughter said "8". I said "there's a little room for improvement and you should always try your best".

I also explain now and again of the importance those grades will be in getting into college and making study habits that will spill over into other areas of her life.

At February 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, Kristen, you are a great mom and you do show the girls that you are proud of them!
We reward report cards in our house. Usually our munchkin will get to pick out a place to go to dinner to celebrate or choose to have a favorite dinner at home. I will also buy a little something that is a favorite or that has been on her list of "must haves". She works very hard and for the tests and projects that always come home, verbal praise is what we do. I always ask if she did her best, even if it's not an A. As long as she has tried and understands her mistakes, we're good.
We've also thrown a carrot out there for this year. A full year on Honor Roll and she'll get a TV in her room! It's a big deal for me to do this and I really want her to know that she EARNED it with hard work.
I try to explain that the work is getting harder but that she is doing great! And I try to tell her every day in some way, that we are proud of her and the person that she is becoming.
Congrats to Ash!! Love you guys!

At February 1, 2012 at 3:45 PM , Blogger Jax said...

I'm not a mother, but I am a student. (Well, a much older student at 23 haha) I work hard for my grades and then don't tell anyone about them. The only person I am trying to impress is myself.

I would be proud that your daughter thinks of straight As as nothing. You're not taking advantage, you just have a very smart girl that doesn't need unnecessary recognition to achieve success :)

At February 1, 2012 at 10:33 PM , Blogger Heather said...

We don't reward my children for their grades. We just expect them to do their best.

For TweenStar that has always meant A's. She just got her report card yesterday and she had an 87 in math and she is livid. The expectations she has for herself are so much higher now than anything we have for her. I like that she is self-motivated - it carries over to everything.

Golden Boy is also incredibly motivated. He is not a Straight A student ( spelling = ugh), but gets all b's and a's and we talk all the time about doing your best work.

I think the harder part is when they reach a certain age (see middle school) and it is not so cool to care so much or work so hard. I am now seeing where TweenStar's self motivation is coming into play.

You are doing a good job! I think most children prefer quiet, consistent praise rather than big showy inconsistentdisplays.

Be proud momma of both you and her!!!

At February 1, 2012 at 11:25 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

I love how thoughtful you are of her and her grades and her own self thoughts.

I say love her up an celebrate her BIG.

{But you probably already knew what I'd think!!}


At February 2, 2012 at 8:37 AM , OpenID euregirlsandboys said...

You are an awesome mom! I have to say I initially took my oldest's straight A's for granted when she first started getting grades in 3rd grade. She slipped up and got a couple grades, but overall did really well. Then last year she had a tough, kind of mean, teacher, and it was much harder. She even got a C, which was crazy to us. And we pushed very hard and worked with her to get her grades up. But it was mostly her. So part of the reason we celebrate so much now is that we learned not to take the good grades for granted. And positive reinforcement really seems to motivate her. I do feel like we've taken my younger girl's good grades for granted - she ALWAYS does so well, and when my oldest has struggled, there's been so much focus on her performance and not enough on the one who did so well because we didn't want to make the other one feel bad. Parenting is hard, huh?

At February 2, 2012 at 4:49 PM , Blogger Shell said...

Mine aren't there yet... But I got straight As as a child and my parents basically "uh-huh, nice job" ed me. But if my older brother, who struggled in school, managed to get a B on something, it was a celebration. And it sucked.


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