View Full Version : Grades, Parents, and Disappointment


pooka
10-29-11, 01:04 PM
So I got my first progress report of the year this week, and I was thrilled. My dad and I had spent the night before predicting all my grades and we'd gotten all of them right. I'm just one short of straight A's and most of my teachers' comments were really positive.

But when I got home, I was shocked to find that my parents were not so happy. There was ONE tiny itty bitty little comment from my math teacher about a few incomplete homework assignments, and THAT was what they chose to focus on. Not the fact that despite that comment, I still got an A- in the class. Not all the wonderful things my English teacher said about how she saves my essays to grade last as a treat for herself, or how my French teacher says I'm on the road to fluency. No. Just that one tiny thing, when I've come SO far, when I've been trying SO hard, when I've improved so much. They don't see the improvement, just the one mistake.

It makes me so sad and frustrated, because to me it seems like they keep expecting me to just wake up one morning and go, "Wow, that ADHD thing was a joke, I should just get over it and be normal" and suddenly be perfect. But it doesn't work that way. I AM improving, and recently I've been doing so in leaps and bounds, but that doesn't seem to matter. It's a long hard road to overcome what I have to overcome, and I'm pretty sure the process is going to be slower and more painful than my parents expect. I don't get why, after all these years of their disappointment, they still haven't realized that I'm not going to be perfect.

I guess I don't really know why I decided to rant about this, since I'm not usually one for ranting, but I'm sick of being disappointing. I'm sick of not living up to unrealistic expectations. Mostly I'm sick of being in tears 4 times a year when I get my grades.

pechemignonne
10-29-11, 01:18 PM
Holy moly, pooka, that is the suck. You did really well, by any measure, and particularly considering that you have ADHD!

Eventually when you get older you will be able to tell your parents to stuff their unfair expectations. For now, all I can say is that you should remember how proud you were of yourself when you first saw your grades, and don't let anyone take that away from you.

You are the only one who knows how hard you worked and what those A's meant to you. You are the only one who knows how much ADHD makes you work that much harder. Your parents may never understand. So you shouldn't let them define what is success for you.

Also, it sounds like your parents not only don't understand ADHD, but they are very demanding parents in general. Most kids' parents would be happy with a report card like that one, mine certainly would have. They might have asked about the missing assignments, but they would have also congratulated me on the rest of the report. They might have talked with me about how to prevent incomplete assignments from happening, but overall they would have been very pleased and proud of me for a report card like that.

In fact, you should be able to come home with a report card of B's or C's and be proud of it, if it's an improvement for you. Parents need to help you do what you need to do in order to succeed in school, but they shouldn't be constantly putting you down. If they are, that is their own failure as parents, because they should be encouraging you and making sure that you have a healthy self-image. It is not a failure on your part if you can't have 100% straight A's all the time. That is an unrealistic and unfair expectation on their part, and if they only have those kinds of expectations then they are not being fair to you.

I say move out as soon as you can, and choose to define your level of success by what you know to be true about yourself. When you have your independence, you can tell them that you happen to be proud of your accomplishments, and that they can keep their opinions to themselves if they don't have anything nice to say.

anonymouslyadd
10-29-11, 01:56 PM
I guess I don't really know why I decided to rant about this, since I'm not usually one for ranting, but I'm sick of being disappointing. I'm sick of not living up to unrealistic expectations. Mostly I'm sick of being in tears 4 times a year when I get my grades.


First of all, congratulations on an awesome report card. If you were my kid that would deserve a hug and dinner at a restaurant of your choice.:D

I felt a flurry of emotions when I read your post because parental disappointment in my grades as a kid was akin to hyenas devouring flesh and bones. The only time my parents were happy with me was when I got all A's and a C in one marking period. Ironically, that C was in math. I don't want to see your parents share their disappointment in you.

I have RHW's quote that I cite frequently these days. I don't know that it will help how you're feeling.

ADHD children are the kids who grow up being told they are not good enough, nor are their efforts. Our greatest accomplishments are not worthy of being proud of. We spend our lives being told things like: “So you got 100% on your English exam, you still are failing Math” and “I don’t care if you had a good day at work, you forgot to pick up the dry cleaning, again!”

We learn these kinds of things from our interaction with the world.

~RHW

(((((hugs)))))

pooka
10-30-11, 02:36 AM
Thanks so much, you guys. Reading your replies made me feel a lot better - I knew that somebody here would understand where I'm coming from, even if my family doesn't.
I think I do owe my parents a little more credit though. They did congratulate me on the good things - but the good things were just given much less importance than the one bad thing. What seems to be so hard for them is that I am smart and they always think I'm not living up to my potential. I hate to seem like I'm tragically misunderstood by my parents, because I generally have a pretty good relationship with them. And I keep reminding myself that two out of their three kids have LD's, and that's got to be hard to deal with.
I have a conference tomorrow with my advisor (a teacher at my school who I'm assigned to, and we meet after every grading period with my parents to discuss my grades). That's what I'm most worried about, because my dad will probably suggest some crazy thing like make me publicly apologize to the school for letting them down. But anyways, as far as parents go, I could have it much much worse.
Again, thanks for the support and kind words.

anonymouslyadd
10-30-11, 04:53 AM
What seems to be so hard for them is that I am smart and they always think I'm not living up to my potential. I hate to seem like I'm tragically misunderstood by my parents, because I generally have a pretty good relationship with them.

I was talking to my best friend about a little boy in her class. She teaches 3rd grade. I'll never forget when she said, "He's not living up to his potential." I'm interested in what these messages do to someone.

It's great you can come here for support Pooka. It's a good thing to be able to vent too. We all need that, even if our circumstances are a little better than others.