Ask Us: Grades and Hard Conversations with Parents


Isabelle Moore


In The Forest Scout’s Ask Us column, students contribute questions for staff writers to answer based on their own personal experience as a high school student at LFHS.


Should I tell my parents if I received a poor grade? 

There are at LFHS, of course, students who earn high grades easily. They run from class to class receiving A’s and B’s seemingly without a care in the world, using their natural intelligence to carve through the myriad of difficult concepts that the high school curriculum presents. Still, however, there is also a population of students who don’t receive the grades that are heralded by many as “acceptable” marks. There are students who apply themselves to a class but don’t get what they want out of it. They try their best but can only get a C. Aside from this, there are also students who don’t try, and just barely scrape by exuding as little effort as necessary. When any student receives a bad grade, the first thing that a majority of us do is try not to think about it. There are the few who run to their teachers begging for a higher grade or for a retake, but since we are in high school and on the cusp of becoming actual adults, most teachers don’t allow for retakes or extra credit. There are plenty of students who receive the occasional C or D grappling to achieve mastery of a difficult concept, so it is important to know when to go ask for help.

I’m not saying that you should beat yourself up for getting a bad grade every once in awhile. It happens to the best of us; it doesn’t mean you aren’t smart or that you aren’t capable. Many students have other things going on in their life and it is hard to be on top of every single thing that is thrown at you on a day-to-day basis. However, this doesn’t excuse getting C’s or D’s.

Whenever you get a bad grade, don’t sweep it under the carpet and play an avoidance game, tell your parents. They may be disappointed, but it is important to get it out in the open so that they can help you. Parents can be more forgiving and helpful if you don’t wait until the last second to tell them you didn’t do well on an exam. Don’t deflect the blame to your teacher, or your lab partner, or your schedule. Accept responsibility, be open about it, and ask for help. They could actually do something compared to telling them at the end of the quarter when there is nothing anyone can do and they have every reason to be angry.

It is an important and very mature part of growing up to tell your parents if you get a bad grade.  This inevitably leads to a discussion about how you are doing in class and whether or not you should change courses or seek out the help of a peer or adult tutor. Whenever you try to bring up an uncomfortable situation like this, it is way more mature to talk the problem out and devise an action plan together.

There are two great outcomes in talking to your parents: You are finally taking control of your future by talking to someone who could help you and you, of course, don’t sink any deeper into an academic hole. It is incredibly important to talk to people–be it a teacher, parent, or counselor–it needs to happen in order to succeed in high school. Another great outcome is that it opens your eyes to the work ethic necessary to succeed at the next level of education. If you weren’t studying and your parents ask why you didn’t pass, it is hard to come up with an answer if you didn’t do anything to put yourself in a position to be successful. When you’re off at college, it won’t be your parents galvanizing action plans for your success, it will be you independently. Jumpstarting this process in high school helps push students to study more and work harder to try and earn higher grades.

It may be an uncomfortable topic for some students, but it is important to talk about bad grades just as it is important to talk about good grades.