How NOT to talk to your child about your concerns about their grades, brought to you from one mom's experience (okay, yes...from MY experience)...
Things to definitely not do:
1. Wait for the right time, maybe a few hours or even a couple of days, if its a busy weekend, but then suddenly, randomly bring it up on Monday morning on the 5-minute drive to school with the sibling in the back seat, when your already a tiny bit late, and when your child is barely able to move because of the monday morning absence of magic.
2. Raise your voice back when your child gets defensive.
3. Share a brief moment of silent, sullen eye-contact as your child shuts the door and walks away toward the school, feeling even worse now that they did before...which hadn't seemed possible, but apparently is.
4. Feel like crap about yourself on the drive home. Kick yourself multiple times.
5. Pray like hell that somehow something good will happen at school to reverse your lack of wisdom and to help encourage your child. This one is actually okay to do. We are always praying for our children, aren't we?
Dad and I are in the old ford pick up. It's loud. It's green. It's got a long stick shift reaching up from the floor. Dad's driving. I'm about 14. We are smiling and talking and suddenly we begin singing "You are my Sunshine". I sing the melody. He sings the harmony. Our voices blend and I wonder for a second if I am singing harmony and he's singing melody. Afterward we laugh from the fun of it.
Dad shifts down into 3rd as we come to the 25 mile an hour section. We pass the baseball field on the right. The chain link fence raises high around the home plate. The empty bleachers. The sun. The grass. The doug firs standing guard at a respectful distance.
My youngest daughter yesterday:
1. "Mom, I just came to hug you goodnight."
It's 10pm. I am just out of the bath and wrapped in my towel. I tucked her in an hour ago. We hug.
"And there's another thing too." She hesitates. "I want to apologize."
"When you asked me if I was done with my reading, I said yes, but I actually wasn't." She gives a little smile and a sideways glance into my eyes. "I don't know why I lied about such a small thing."
"Is your reading finished now?"
"Yes. I actually read 9 pages over!" she says with expression and pride. "Sorry I lied."
"Thank you for telling me. I appreciate your honesty. I feel like I can really trust you when you tell the truth."
We hug. She is so light and spritely. A little fairy-princess-warrior-human child.
2. I find out this morning that last night she snuck two of her precious dollars into her sister's wallet, because she heard her talking about needing money for a concert t-shirt.
3. She also made a little get-well gift for her friend. She put a couple of small toy figures into a worry-doll box, tied a tiny piece of halloween candy on top...a 3-musketeers. She describes the 3-musketeers candy to me with joyful wonder, asking if I've ever had one before. "It's soft, airy chocolate surrounded by more chocolate!"