Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights (page 2)

Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights

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Updated on Jun 27, 2011

How to Talk to Your Child When Retention Is Inevitable

Grade retention is far from being simply an academic issue. Especially for your older child, it’s a social and emotional issue that needs careful addressing. Repeating a grade is often stigmatizing for children, many of whom tend to brand themselves as failures; in fact, studies show being held back can be the stress equivalent of losing a parent. How parents frame unavoidable retention can make all the difference in a child’s acceptance of it:


Help your child identify allies: counselors, teachers, peers and mentors who will help him make the transition

Place blame on a teacher or administrator

Portray retention as an opportunity for achievement and increased learning

Use retention as an ultimatum or threat for poor performance and/or behavior

Cast your child (who will probably be older than her classmates) as a potential leader in the classroom

Cast your child as a victim in the classroom

The decision to hold your child back a year is a difficult one—but trust your gut. You know your child better than anyone, and he or she depends upon you as an advocate and a champion. Remember that retention is only one of many options in promoting your child’s future academic and social success.

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