Should You Ground Your Child for Bad Grades?

kid scolded

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Bad grades. What can you do when your child shows up with them?

Do you punish bad grades or do you find an alternative?

There are plenty of ways to tackle bad grades. Grounding might sometimes be a good solution, but it’s not the only option.

Should You Ground Your Child for Bad Grades?

If grounding works for your kid, then it could be a good choice if they have bad grades. Grounding should only happen if your child is getting these bad grades because they are engaging in activities they shouldn’t be doing that are getting in the way of homework or studying.

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Whether it’s math, science, reading, or any other subject, help your child excel in school by finding a qualified tutor.

What is Grounding?

girl shocked on her grades

Grounding is the act of restricting a child’s activities due to misbehavior. It’s a common punishment that many parents use. Grounding is effective because it gives children time to think about what they have done. They also feel the sting of FOMO when their friends are taking part in activities that they cannot.

A child who has bad grades may fear retribution. Grounding is arguably the most common punishment for bad grades.

This can be either good or bad. It all comes down to the reason the child is getting poor grades.

Why Your Child’s Grades are Faltering?

kid disappointed

There are several different reasons your child may have bad grades. You need to find the reason for your child’s grades before you react with punishment.

1. They’re Not Doing the Work

Your child might not be doing/turning in homework. Many schools have online platforms that allow parents to check their children’s homework and test scores.

You can look through this platform to see if your child is not doing their homework. This is a punishable offense. Even if the homework grades are poor, not doing it or turning it in should be unacceptable.

2. They’re Not Studying for Tests

Your child may not be studying for tests. Is your getting great grades on homework but tanking the tests?

It’s possible that they are not studying. Children sometimes have test anxiety. Studying will help them feel more prepared and do a better job studying.

On the other hand, they may not be studying because they are spending their time with friends or playing video games. If the latter is true, grounding might be an option.

3. They Don’t Understand the Material

Your child might not understand the material. The material may be more advanced than your child is able to manage at this moment.

If that is the case, talk with your child’s teacher. Ask about possibilities for tutoring or finding supplemental lessons.

A child should not be punished because they are having difficulty with the subject matter.

Find a Tutor for Your Child

Whether it’s math, science, reading, or any other subject, help your child excel in school by finding a qualified tutor.

4. They’re Too Busy

Your child may be too busy to concentrate. Is your child in a large number of after-school activities? Does your teen work long hours?

If so, this drain on their time might be causing problems with their schoolwork. Consider having your child cut back on hours or activities until their grades go up again.

5. They Have a Learning Disability

Your child might have a learning disorder. It is never a bad idea to investigate possible learning disorders.

Have your child seen by a professional to rule out any issues that you might not have uncovered.

6. They Have Poor Eye Site

The issue may even be something as simple as poor eyesight. A child whose grades suddenly drop may need glasses. You won’t know until you check it out.

7. They Have Emotional Distress

Your child may be suffering from emotional issues. Emotional struggles can make schoolwork seem unimportant.

If you suspect your child might be feeling anxious or depressed, have them talk with a professional.

8. They Are Understimulated

Your child could be understimulated. There is an old wives’ tale that Albert Einstein failed math as a child.

It’s not true.

However, there are times when a gifted child is so bored in their class that they have difficulty concentrating.

Make sure your child is being challenged enough instead of punishing them.

Why Are Good Grades So Important?


Grades are not everything, but they are important. In a very practical way, good grades in high school help to determine which college or university your child will attend.

Good grades help with scholarships for those who cannot afford the constantly increasing cost of higher education.

Good grades in middle school help children prepare for their high school courses. Children in middle school are still learning how they learn.

Getting good grades at that age gives them the tools they need to continue succeeding as they age.

Good grades in elementary school have less impact on a child’s future. Instead, these grades help the school to learn where the child might be struggling so they can receive more help.

Some elementary schools no longer give letter grades because of this.

At the school district my children attend, students are only given checkmarks, pluses, and minuses until they reach seventh grade.

Alternative Punishments for Bad Grades

My husband and I don’t punish our children for bad grades. Our kids are bright and generally bring in As with little effort.

When they have lower grades, we ask a few questions.

Did you turn in your homework? Did you do your best? If both answers are yes, we don’t have a problem.

Some of that is a judgment call. We can look at our children’s student profiles to verify that homework has been turned in, but we can’t look up the amount of effort each child expends.

We have to decide for ourselves if we think they are being honest when they say they put forth their best work. In almost all instances, we err on the side of believing our children.

Conversely, we have found, on occasion, that homework hasn’t been turned in. If this happens, a punishment takes place.

The child is not allowed to attend any activities until all homework is completed and handed in.

That is a form of grounding that has a time limit determined by how quickly the child is willing to work. This punishment is not for bad grades but for not doing assigned work.

Children with bad grades, who have no intellectual or emotional reason for having them, may need to be punished in order to encourage improvement.

Punishment should be light and should fit the situation.

For instance, you might tell your child they can’t have screen time or spend time with friends unless they have studied for 30 minutes to an hour.

How to Motivate Kids to Improve Their Grades

parents motivating kid

Kids need to understand why grades are important. Explain to them the impact their grades will have on their future.

Ask them about their future goals, and then explain how they reach them. Good grades are paramount for going to college. Students who want to go to trade school can get scholarships with good grades.

Those who are interested in the military will find that they can join as an officer if they are accepted into college and enter the ROTC program. Once again, this requires good grades.

What if your student isn’t interested in higher education or the military? Let them know that employers will look at your high school GPA if you are seeking a job directly out of school. In all instances, good grades are important.

Keep in mind, the term “good grades” means just that: Good. It doesn’t mean perfect.

Don’t tell your kids they have to have perfect grades because that puts too much pressure on young minds.

As I tell my children, I expect improvement, not perfection.

Key Takeaways

There may be times when you need to ground your child for bad grades. For the most part, bad grades shouldn’t be punished.

They should be investigated and managed. Do you agree or disagree? Talk to us in the comments!

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9 months ago

What if they just randomly get bad grades instead of straight as then can you ground the,