Do Grades Really Matter? | Parenting Education

A growing body of evidence suggests grades don’t predict success — C+ students are the ones who end up running the world.  

Quote is from a great article by Macleans:  “Do Grades Really Matter?”

Grades have become the yardstick by which children are often judged.  I mentored tons of struggling students and always told them it’s usually the worst students who end up running the world.  Not true but they loved hearing that I wasn’t obsessed with grades, took the pressure off and made them feel better about themselves.

I’m extremely opinionated on this subject and my opinions are often unpopular.  Pushing children academically is wrong.  I’ve known too many “gifted” children who turned into self-destructive teenagers.  It’s just not healthy to focus too much on academics.  Where’s the joy and happiness in life?  Where’s the fun?   Here’s a story of a mom trying to bully me over this.

Here were my priorities when raising my kids:

  1. Healthy & Fit
  2. Happy & Confident
  3. Polite & Nice
  4. Social
  5. Doing their best

If you look after the first 4, the 5th takes care of itself.  If kids are struggling at school then hire a tutor or ask the staff if there are free teacher sessions available.

If you are a confident leader for your children to look up to they will naturally want to do their best to make you proud.  If they don’t respect you, they don’t respect themselves, or school or anything.

If you want help learning how to get respect, check out my Coaching Page. 

Discipline and education go hand-in-hand.  Kids who aren’t disciplined at home are sure going to struggle more at school.  

I can’t remember ever having a conversation about homework with my kids, and I know I never helped them.  Their homework was just done after dinner then we’d all have fun doing something.  It was just one of the disciplines in their lives.  I was proud of their grades but all I fussed over was their good behaviour comments.

If you have self-discipline and do your best, you’re going to succeed.

What are your priorities with your kids?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach


Top 3 Tips to Make Kids Smarter

Can we really make our kids smarter?  I don’t know about that but we can certainly give them life skills to encourage them to do their best.

I was asked to contribute to an article for Global News:  Genius brothers, 11 and 14, graduate from high school, university.  Obviously these 2 boys are extreme examples of accelerated learning.  There are happy exceptions but I’ve found that when children are pushed too hard it can do more harm than good.  It’s all about finding the balance between school and fun (friends, sports, etc.).

Here are my Top 3 Tips to make kids smarter:

  1. Make fitness and fun a priority.  After school is the perfect time to get them involved in physical activity to give “school head” a break and let them have some fun.  Exercise is good for their body AND brain.
  2. Have a regular homework routine.  It could be right after dinner so they’re not hungry or sleepy.  Screen time is a the treat at the end of the day after homework is done well.
  3. Get involved with the school.  Volunteer, go to meetings, get to know the staff and other parents.  The more you know about what’s going on at school the better equipped you are to help your child get the most out of their education.  I found out so much at school meetings, volunteering at school events and just hanging around the parking lot chatting with other parents.

One of my clients had a little boy struggling with math but he was too shy to ask the teacher for help.  I told the mom to go to a school meeting and ask what math resources were available.  Turns out there was another parent at the meeting who had hired a math tutor for her son.  The boys ended up sharing the sessions and not only did their math improve but they became best friends. 

What do you think about kids graduating high school at 11?  College at 14?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach — BratBusters Parenting Services


“4 Week Parenting Program” starts June 5th. 

Getting respect as you head into Summer Break.    


Homework Stress

homework stress

I think kids get way too much homework and I always told my kids that. I expected them to do their best but within reason. I didn’t want them doing their best if it meant staying up until midnight every night wearing themselves out.

Did you know that most schools welcome parent feedback? That they will listen to your concerns about homework? The key is to approach it like a business meeting. No emotion, no anger, no frustration. Just ask for a meeting with the teacher and voice your concerns about homework overkill. Ask how the other kids are doing. Get to know the other parents and ask them if they have the same concerns. In other words: get involved.

Don’t be afraid to try to work “with” the school. I’ve been hired by parents to go to school with them and get things sorted out, especially when they have children in trouble with bullying. There’s often a huge wall dividing school and home and I think that should be broken down. I believe it’s up to us parents to do that as we are our children’s voices.

Get involved with the school. Volunteer whenever possible. You’d be surprised how much you learn by joining PAC, helping the band set up for a concert, providing treats for a staff meeting, serving hotdogs at some event, etc. Once you get to know all the staff, you’ll find them much easier to approach and they’ll be much more open to your feedback. Never criticize, always start with praise and empathy for how hard their jobs are, then voice your concerns, ideas, etc.

As your kids get older they may not want you at events which is fair enough. Negotiate with them about what they’re comfortable with you joining.

Don’t obsess over your children’s grades. It’s more important to have a happy child bringing home C’s, than a miserable one bringing home A’s. Did you know that you can’t make a smart child stupid? You encourage them to do their best but allow them to have a social life, watch TV, just hang out with friends, etc. That stuff is important too.

Kids need down time to develop into well balanced, happy people.

If they are really struggling with a subject, hire a tutor or suggest they talk to the teacher about extra help. The earlier you intervene the better as it’s harder to catch-up in high school than in elementary school.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

How to help kids who don’t want help

Q: How do you help you 9 yr with homework when they don’t want the help but need it? The tween years when they think they know everything and refuse to except any help

A: Just the tween years??? Wait till the teen years … fun. Do you ever ask your 9 year old for help? I mean with something he/she is particularly good at and enjoys? Find something then use that as leverage and even bribe if you have to. But be sure to mix it with setting a good example by asking for help yourself. Kids learn much more from what you say than what you do.

Yes, I said “bribe”. It’s okay when it comes to homework as you’re teaching them good habits and anything that works, try it.

I worked with lots of kids who needed help but sure as heck didn’t want any. I approached them with the attitude that they have something to teach me too and I was probably going to learn more from them than the other way around. So, false pride was soon replaced by real pride. They learned to be proud of asking me for help as they were often helping me with things. Examples of what they helped me with you want to know? Here’s a list of what worked over the years and remember, some of these kids were very troubled teenagers with seemingly not much to offer:

– magic tricks
– teaching me how to curl my tongue (which I still can’t do)
– showing me some of the music they liked and what made it so good
– drawing (this was a HUGE one as so many kids I worked with just sucked at academics but could draw amazingly well and were very proud of same)
– video game tips
– computer knowledge
– how to twirl a pen on their thumb

It’s just a matter of finding out what they’re proud of and building on that.