Punishing Kids for Bad Grades Is a Parenting Fail

bad gradeHere we go again. Another set of parents has pulled the old humiliate the teen by making her hold a sign up at a busy intersection trick. Only Gentry and Renee Nickell decided to put a little twist on this shameful discipline. Their 13-year-old daughter was being disgraced for her grades.

The child had -- according to a huge sign she had to hold up for an hour and a half at a busy intersection -- brought home three Ds. Oh, the horror!


That wasn't sarcasm, folks. I'm truly horrified that parents saw some poor grades on their daughter's report card and thought the appropriate response was to shame their kid.

The 13-year-old's sign read:

I’m a Self-entitled teenager w/no Respect for authority. I’m also super smart, yet I have 3 ‘D’s’ because I DON’T CARE.

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Are there smart kids out there who are lazy? Certainly. But shaming them isn't the way to get them back on track.

That's when you bring in a counselor to get to the root of the problem, hire a tutor to work with them, talk to their teachers, something, anything other than making a kid feel worse about their lot in life.

The sad thing is, smart kids can have learning disabilities too. Smart kids can have subjects that are stumbling blocks. I was your prototypical geek in school, but I remember coming thisclose to failing high school pre-calculus. Was I lazy? Nope. Numbers just tend to become a jumble in my head.

What's more, smart kids can have personal issues that make schoolwork hard to complete. Depression rates in teenagers are skyrocketing in this country -- in no small part because doctors are finally recognizing that kids can be depressed too.

In the Nickells' daughter's case, this may well be the root cause of her problems. Renee's brother was killed in Afghanistan in late 2011. The families were close, and since his death, their daughter has struggled.

It sounds like their kid needed help already, and now that they've gone the shame route, they've only made her problems worse. Now she's got the psychological damage of being embarrassed AND being misunderstood by her parents both.

That's a lot to lie on a teenage girl's shoulders!

Kids don't need to be punished for getting bad grades. They need help getting them back up.

That means actually, gasp, parenting your kids!

Do you shame your kids about their grades?


Image via milesopie/Flickr

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