wikiHow to Avoid Being Punished with Bad Grades

Three Methods:Talking to Your ParentsAddressing the IssueMoving Forward

Bad grades can be a disappointment for many parents. Your parents want you to succeed academically and may be frustrated or let down if you bring home a bad report card. However, punishment is not usually an effective means of bringing your grades up.[1] If your grades are low, be upfront with your parents about the problem. Be willing to work on a solution together. This will show you're taking action to prevent the problem, and your parents may feel punishment is unnecessary.

Method 1
Talking to Your Parents

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    Be upfront about the problem. If you got a bad grade on a test, or on your report card, be upfront about the problem right away. This can help you avoid punishment. Your parents want you to be successful in school. If you tell them that you're honestly struggling, they'll be more likely to want to look for a solution than try to punish you.[2]
    • You may know your parents will find out about your grades soon. You may be getting a progress report, for example, or parent teacher conferences may be coming up. If this is the case, give your parents a warning ahead of time. Say something like, "Mom, Dad, I wanted to be honest with you. I'm really struggling in algebra and my semester grade isn't what it should be."
    • When telling your parents about your grades, pick a good time to talk. Choose a time when your parents are free and there are no external time constraints. A Wednesday night when everyone's done with work and school, for example, is a great time to bring up the issue of your grades.[3]
    • Honesty is the best policy here. Tell your parents that you're struggling in a certain subject. If you know your exact grade, tell them. Do not try to obscure the truth. For example, if you're getting a D in chemistry, do not say, "My chemistry grade is kind on the low side." Instead, say something like, "I'm getting a D in chemistry and I thought I should let you know."
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    Explain why your grades are slipping. If you got a poor grade, there may be a reason for this. It may be that you were legitimately struggling, in which case your parents are unlikely to respond with punishment. However, even if your poor grade was due to irresponsibility on your part, confessing to your negligence may help evade punishment. The point of punishment is to teach responsibility. If you already understand your mistake, and want to do better, your parents may not feel the need to punish you.
    • If you're genuinely struggling, say so. Also, highlight how you did genuinely try in a course. For example, you may simply not be doing well in algebra. Point out how often you study and how you always do your homework. Your parents will see you're trying, and may respond by trying to get you a tutor rather than punishing you.
    • If you slipped up, however, admit it outright. Ultimately, your parents want to see you learn from your mistake so you do not repeat them. If your D on a test is because you stayed up too late playing video games, admit this and promise to do better in the future. If you've already learned your lesson, your parents may not feel the need to punish you.[4]
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    Offer to talk to your teacher. If you're already willing to make the effort to change, your parents will be less likely to punish you. Offer to talk to your teacher in order to prevent your grades from slipping further. Remember, you want to make your parents feel like punishment would not be helpful at this point. Promising to speak to your teacher shows that you're handling the situation with maturity and already taking steps to change. It would be unnecessary to put more pressure on you at this point.[5]
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    Ask for help working towards a solution. The more maturity you show, the better. If you go into a conversation angry, expecting your parents to be mad, you're creating a problem. However, if you go into a conversation eager to find a solution, you'll be able to smooth things over and evade punishment. Your parents are invested in seeing you succeed. Ask them to help you work on your grades.[6]
    • Be as mature about things as you can. A little flattery can also help. For example, say something like, "I know I screwed up, and you and Mom raised me better. You guys are super responsible. Maybe you can teach me how to do better."
    • Offer to go along with whatever your parents want in the future. For example, your parents may request that you show them your homework when you finish. They also may want to meet with your teacher regularly. While these regulations may feel stressful or embarrassing, go along with them. If you're cooperative about fixing the problem, you'll avoid getting punished.
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    Recognize an abusive response. It's normal for your parents to be upset or frustrated over a bad report card. However, an extreme response can constitute abuse. If you're in an abusive situation at home, it's important you recognize abuse so you can seek help.
    • Physical abuse involves a parent beating, kicking, hitting, or otherwise hurting you. Your parents may feel physical abuse is a normal or appropriate response to what they perceive as bad behavior. They may believe in a "tough love" route to discipline. Understand that physical violence is never okay. It is not normal and it is not something all parents do. If you are being physically harmed, this constitutes abuse.[7]
    • Abuse can also be verbal or emotional. All parents lose their tempter at some point, and may yell on occasion if frustrated. However, if yelling becomes very loud, and is coupled by foul language, name calling, or threats, this is emotional abuse. Your parent, for example, may threaten to kick you out or abandon you when you present a poor report card. Emotional abuse is not normal and can be very damaging to your self-image.[8]

Method 2
Addressing the Issue

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    Show you're responsible. After confessing about your bad grades, make an effort to show how responsible your are. If your parents see you're taking the setback as an incentive to change, they'll be less likely to respond with punishment.
    • Start keeping your parents up-to-date on your grades. Show them your graded assignments, tests, and quizzes. If you get regular progress reports, show these reports to your parents without prompting.[9]
    • Keep your parents up-to-date on the progress you've made. Do not just say you'll talk to your teacher. Actually talk to him or her and, after the conversation has occurred, report back to your parents. Tell them what your teacher said and any suggestion he or she gave for improvement.
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    Develop a plan to bring your grades up. You can avoid punishment by being willing to work on the problem with your parents mutually. Together, talk about ways you can work on bringing your grades up to standard.
    • A lot of your plan depends on why your grades were low. If you were genuinely struggling, a tutor may help. You also may want to ask your teacher for help on an assignment.
    • If you slipped up due to irresponsibility, you can take steps to be a better student. Promise your parents you'll always do your homework after school. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Write down assignments ahead of time so you do not forget them.
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    Let your parents know about any personal issues that are affecting your grades. There are many reasons your grades may have slipped. If you are having personal problems that are affecting your grades, let your parents know. They will want to help you get through difficult times and want to offer you suggestions on how to fix any issues affecting your studies.
    • Depression is a common problem in teenagers that can affect grades. If you've been feeling low lately, suffering mood swings, are having thoughts of death or suicide, and have lost interest in certain activities, you may be experiencing depression. Talking to a therapist to address the issue can help. Let your parents know if you're worried you may be depressed.[10]
    • Attention Deficit Disorder can also cause a slip in your grades. ADD is marked by irritability, an inability to concentrate, and poor decision-making skills. If you think you may have ADD, talk to your parents about getting diagnosed so you can get the treatment you need to get back on track in school.[11]
    • If you're having any personal problems, such as getting bullied in school, you should also let your parents know about this. This can also affect study habits.
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    Seek help from another adult in the event of abuse. If you're in an abusive situation, it can be very difficult to talk through things with your parents. Your parents may be unwilling to listen or compromise. In this case, seek help from another adult.
    • A trusted adult can be another relative, like a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. You can also talk to your family doctor, if you get the opportunity to speak to the doctor alone. A teacher or guidance counselor at your school can also help.[12]
    • In the event you cannot think of anyone to talk to yourself, you can contact Childhelp. This is a non-profit agency dedicated to helping children in abusive situations. You can call at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). If you're not comfortable calling in your home, you can ask to use a friend's phone or even try to find a pay phone.[13]

Method 3
Moving Forward

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    Improve your study habits. Once you and your parents have worked things out, try to do better moving forward. You can prevent getting punished for bad grades by keeping your grades reasonably high. To do so, work on bettering your study habits.
    • Improve your organizational skills. Use a weekly planner or calendar to keep track of upcoming tests and quizzes. Try to have different binders or folders for notes for your various classes.[14]
    • Study in a location free of distractions, like a coffee shop or library. Turn off your cellphone and other electronics before studying. Bring all the materials you need with you when you go to study.[15]
    • Study in short intervals. Trying to cram too much in one session can be daunting. Study in 40 to 50 minute blocks, taking 5 to 10 minute breaks in-between.
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    Keep up with your homework. You should also strive to keep up with your homework, as homework assignments go towards your overall grade. Try to do your homework after school each day, before you engage in any fun activities like seeing friends or playing video games. You should also be upfront with your parents about your homework, letting them know what is due and when.
    • You can also write down homework assignments in your calendar or planner to make sure you remember to do them on time.
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    Ask your teacher for regular progress reports. Transparency is important to evade punishment. If your parents are concerned about your grades, they will want to keep track of your progress. Talk to your teacher about getting regular progress reports detailing how you're doing in a particular class. You can bring these home to your parents to show them evidence that you're working on keeping your grades up.
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    Report abuse. Abuse needs to be reported. Hopefully, you'll have recruited the help of a trusted adult who can help you alert the authorities of the situation. You may have to report what's been happening to a police officer, therapist, or another authority figure. It can be emotionally devastating to report abuse, but it's worth it for your own health and well-being.[16]
    • How things will unfold after abuse is reported depends on your situation. You may be temporarily placed in a foster home or have to stay with relatives. Your parents may be required to attend counseling to work through certain issues.
    • The experience of reporting abuse is very stressful. However, remember that abusive situations are not sustainable longterm. It's necessary for you and your parents to get professional help in the event abuse is occurring.[17]


  • Do not attempt to lie about your grades. If you're genuinely struggling in school, your parents are there to help. Lying about the problem will only make it worse.

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Categories: Improving And Maintaining Grades