A few weeks back, the husband and I resorted to some new tactics in the battle over grades with our middle schoolers. Here's what we came up with:
1. Bs or lower are like Asian Fs. True, we only found out how to articulate this to them by watching an episode of Glee (it was the name of an episode for the non-Gleeks). Leave it to pop culture to get through to them instead of us. Yes, it's true we should be happy that our children aren't failing their classes and that they are happy, well-adjusted, little folks. But, we're not. Maybe we have some baggage. We were both non-traditional college students who didn't get our acts together until AFTER we had children. Maybe we don't want them to have to go through that and we know that they need good grades to be competitive in the college race. So...anything below a B+ in our house is thus forth considered an Asian F. So, how do we keep our children motivated to avoid Asian Fs?
2. Let Frick and Frack pick the punishment. Clearly our motivational tactics of trying to instill the value of education and praising for good work were not enough. Grounding was completely ineffective and didn't really relate to the real problem. So, we said, "You guys each need to come up with three good punishments that fit the crime. If your grades drop below a B+, that tells us you need a little motivation. It has to be something we can ALL live with." The first few responses were unrealistic. "Do my brother's portion of the dishes (which would be fine if only ONE of them were in the B or lower boat); no TV or electronics for a week (which never works because we suck as parents); poop patrol by themselves for a month (which won't work for the same reason dish duty doesn't); can't play outside (um, no...you must play outside of mommy will go crazy)".
Note to Frick and Frack: Your punishment can't involve your anyone else in the circle of trust.
3. New Rules. So what did Frick and Frack determine to be a crushing blow if they missed a homework assignment or brought home an Asian F? Early Bedtime. Apparently in their minds nothing is worse than having to go to sleep earlier than planned. REALLY!? That's all it took!? Are you *bleeping* kidding me? Who knew that an early bed time could yield so much power in the battle for good grades? So, the new rules are as follows:
- A missed assignment equals 8:30 bedtime for TWO nights and no electronics.
- An Asian F on any report card or online grading system will result in an automatic 9:00 bedtime until said Asian F disappears.
- (I should point out that their regular bedtime is between 9:30 and 10:00)
Part B of the story...
Yesterday afternoon, I get a text from Frack that reads, "I get to stay up!!! I get to stay up!!!!"
Ah, the thrill of victory.
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