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Kentucky

All Kentuckians are mandated reporters. If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, call the Child Protection Hotline.

1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331

For contact information in other states, please visit our Report It page.

Additional Support:

Child help: National Abuse Hotline:
1-800-4-CHILD
or 1-800-422-4453

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Tips for Handling (Good and Not-So-Good!) Report Cards

As parents, we always want the best for our children and for them to give their best on all that they do. Figuring out how to appropriately respond when we feel like they aren’t doing their best work can be tough though, like if we see falling grades on their report card.

Studies suggest that children are at a higher risk of physical abuse when report cards are sent out. Research also shows that physical punishment does not work when trying to change your child’s behavior. Discipline means to teach or guide. It does not mean to punish. Effective discipline can help your child learn appropriate behavior and lead to healthy development. Poor grades happen over a period of time and discipline looks different depending on the situation.

Here are a few tips to consider when your child brings their report card come home in the coming weeks:

1. Praise your child on the good grades and feedback they received. Acknowledge the good things first then focus on areas of improvement.

2. Kids tend to tune out lectures. Instead, ask them what they think about their grades. Did the child expect higher grades? Did you? Discussing expectations and disappointment can help both you and the child process feelings. If emotions run high, take a time out and revisit once you both are calm.

3. Make a plan together. Meet with the teacher. Learn about the teaching style, rules, ways you can help your child, and access to tutoring. If you think a grade is unfair, call the teacher or counselor and act as your child’s advocate.

4. Set goals. If the grades need to improve, help your child set goals and check in on those identified goals regularly. If you think discipline is necessary, consider not allowing the use of a privilege, like video games,  until homework is completed and checked every day so the child can connect the behavior to the consequence.

Parenting is tough, especially when expectations aren’t met. For more tips on effective, age-appropriate discipline, check out the American Academy of Pediatric’s tips here.

They laugh. They cry. They play. They make mistakes. It’s how they grow and learn.

Keeping them safe is up to all of us.