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Rachel Matthews is a deep-fried Southern belle, married to a cowboy boot wearin', Harley ridin’,Texan Prince Charming. She’s the proud mom of two 8th generation Texans. Rachel loves cute boots, her Canon camera, belly laughs with friends, the beach, and her family, and writes about it all at A Southern Fairytale.

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Help Me, Help Her

By Rachel Matthews |

 

“Are you free to pop up to school for a sec? I can’t get {princess} to stop crying…she’s upset over her reading test grade of 84. It was a hard test…I told her I was proud of her, but…she is sobbing”

That’s the message I got from my 9 yo daughter’s teacher earlier today. I was at home, so I messaged back immediately and told her that I’d be right up there.

Fun with Dick and Jane

I checked in to the office, went to her class and when she turned around her face was swollen, her eyes red and puffy and her breathing jagged.

Over an 84 on a test.

Her wonderfully insightful and amazing teacher had already told her she was proud of her and that she’d tried her best, it was a hard test, and it would be okay…but she wasn’t hearing it.

She was devastated over a B on a six-weeks test.

She was so hysterical that I took her home from school — her eyes hurt my heart.

Nathan and I have always impressed upon our kids the importance of school and learning and getting good grades, but we’ve never punished, yelled or in any way disciplined for getting less than A.

Whenever there’s an opportunity to review a paper, homework or test with the kids and talk about what they missed and why — we take it.

We read with the kids, go over their homework with them and celebrate their accomplishments…

Today has left my heart weary and feeling somewhat like I’m failing her.

Her heart is huge, her confidence great and she’s practically fearless — but today, I saw a broken sadness in her eyes that hurts me to the core.

Nathan is just as baffled as I am.

How do we find the balance?

How do we keep school important, without having it become everything? How do I help her to understand that as long as she tries her best, that’s what matters the most?

What can I do to help her? I can’t and won’t run to her rescue every time something happens because she needs to stand on her own and know that while I’m always right there waiting to help her, I won’t solve everything for her.

School’s only going to get harder and I don’t want her to lose her drive, enthusiasm and passion…

I would love to hear any advice y’all have, any resources you have to share or any stories of your own.

image credit – Calliope via flickr

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About Rachel Matthews

rachelmatthews

Rachel Matthews

Rachel Matthews is a deep-fried Southern belle, married to a cowboy boot wearin', Harley ridin’,Texan Prince Charming. She’s the proud mom of two 8th generation Texans. Rachel loves cute boots, her Canon camera, belly laughs with friends, the beach, and her family, and writes about it all at A Southern Fairytale. Read bio and latest posts → Read Rachel's latest posts →

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4 thoughts on “Help Me, Help Her

  1. EK says:

    I have never posted here before but Rachel, your daughter sounds like me. My mother always said that the problem with all the advice guides out there is that they focus on how to motivate your children to do better and never on what to do with the perfectionist child. The kid that beats themselves up over getting into Dartmouth but not to Harvard. I once had a complete meltdown in high school because I got a B+ in advanced placement french literature and thought that it would change the college admissions landscape for me.

    I have the most supportive parents in the world who repeatedly tell me to take on less if i want and that the only thing that matters is that i am happy, but this type of anxiety and ambition just seem to be a part of my DNA. On the plus side I am an Ivy league educated marathon runner with a fabulous NYC job and manhattan apartment. On the minus side, I still have those anxious moments where I wring my hands that I should shoot for the even better job at all costs, that I could run faster and be thinner all while working 90 hours a week.

    In summation I think the only thing you can offer your daughter is acceptance and validation that her feelings over not doing as well as she had hoped on her reading test are allowed to be felt.

    1. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your words and advice! :-)

  2. sofar says:

    Oh my gosh, I did the exact same thing at the same age as your daughter. I got a B on a math test, and got off the bus in tears! I thought my very pragmatic dad handled it very well:

    He said, “Adapt, improvise, overcome” (which I think is a take on marines mantra or something). I was glad he didn’t say, “But a B is a good grade!” It obviously wasn’t good enough for me. But my dad’s words gave me a plan of action to replace the crying: Recognize where I went wrong, figure out a way to do better next time, and don’t sit there crying.

    It was a very nice way of him to say “Suck it up and move on.” I’ve always been a super-sensitive over-achiever, but that mantra has helped.

    I ended up going to a competitive college, and, my first week, I was SHOCKED to see my peers doing the same thing — crying over a B on a test! Calling their parents. Totally unable to handle themselves.

  3. thank you so much Sofar <3 I'm definitely going to take your words and advice to heart.

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