Why would a middle-aged parent stress grades so much?

I’m asking this because at work, I will very often encounter coworkers who will occasionally punish their kids for getting bad grades, like not taking them out to Halloween or whatever. What confuses me is that every 40-year old office worker has witnessed how the corporate game is played by that age, which is that grades don’t really matter after your first job and what matters far more are your personal relationships with important people. That’s telling me that a parent is willfully setting their kid up for failure despite being fully aware of the rules. That’s weird.

So why would anyone who is aware of how advancement works emphasize grades so much. Why don’t they tell their kids to go to more teenage drinking parties so they can better hone their social skills?

Because grades actually do matter in many fields. Even if they don’t matter in elementary school, a kid who doesn’t give a shit about grades when he’s 5 is not going to suddenly start caring about his grades when he’s 20. It’s about teaching the mentality, not the actual grades.


Interestingly, that was not the case for my middle sister. She pretty much slacked off in K-12.

When she got to college, she realized “Oh shit! I need to get a job one day!” and actually started doing the work and asking questions. I don’t know what her final GPA was, but she did get her undergrad degree and a Masters in Accounting.

She’s now a CPA.

[make your own jokes on this one…]

No, it doesn’t necessarily happen too often, but really, parents trying to impose the desire for good grades from the outside generally doesn’t last, I think.

I think it worked for many asians (which is why the kids tend to repeat the same behavior when they grow up to be parents themselves)

I think my parents just got lucky because I’m a nerd. Had I been a normie, I definitely would have just partied and played video games all day once I moved out.

Hey, once you crash through that brick wall (a metaphor for that first job) with your head, it’s smooth sailing from there.
The ones who break through have cannons or light sabres (a metaphor for good grades).

I want them to put in the effort to learn. Grades are a proxy for effort, an imperfect proxy, but not horrible. They are also “how to play the game” in school. If they learn “how to play the game” for school, they can learn “how to play the game” for work world. Teaching the rules for work world before they learn school world rules seems out of order. Good grades also saves me money on car insurance as well as college.

Now whether I am stressing good grades too much or too little, I don’t know if I can judge by your standards. But at least my reasons are listed above.

Hey, it’s me.

I certainly didn’t care about grades before HS. I then had a 2.9 after my first two years (As on the tests, 0s on any homework I couldn’t do in class).

I didn’t care about grades at all til I was in college. I then had a 3.65 for my 2 year degree, and a 3.89 at second school (3.5 years to finish my 4 year degree…).

:iatp:, especially the /thread

Tough call. We generally tried to emphasise the need for hard work to achieve goals. Only once did I get bitchy about poor grades. My youngest was developing a bit of a history in HS of not giving a shit and his marks reflected it. I pulled his car privileges for a week, made him ride the school bus. It turned out to be a pretty severe punishment and I’m likely to pay for it when it comes time to put me into a home.

All that I really learned is the most you can do is provide an environment that’s conducive and secondly, make sure they’re doing something that they love. Finding what they love is what flipped the switch on marks for both my kids. One of them had OK grades, the other, well, not even so much that. Then they both found what they liked, they both almost immediately turned their marks in university into 90’s and transitioned into excelling at masters and beyond. One of them got accepted to Sarah Lawrence college, where I learned that ‘prestigious college’ in the US translates as holy shit expensive. Point being, they were both advised that they were more than welcome to switch programs if they wanted no pressure, nbd if it took an extra year.

So no, we don’t stress grades. the only time I stressed about grades is when I went back to school and I used to worry about getting high marks. Even though my marks didn’t mean anything by then.

I really emphasize doing all the work and showing up every day. I also emphasize figuring out how to do things that my kids don’t already know how to do and try to lead them to finding their own solution instead of giving them mine. I only get angry about grades when they are bad because of missing assignments.

I give this thread a C-

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I don’t think he’s stressed about it

That argument doesn’t hold up. Many children who grow up in abusive households repeat the same behaviors when they become parents, too. That doesn’t mean the abuse “worked” in some way.

Incidentally, as a homeschooling family, this is a moot point. We don’t even currently assign grades. Though we know we’ll have to eventually at the high school level just to make it easier for college applications. :slight_smile:

They end up rationalizing it imo. When I had gotten into some good schools, me and other peers who went through tiger parenting thought to ourselves, “oh man we’re so lucky our parents pushed us so hard to get all A’s, if it weren’t for that we wouldn’t be as successful as we were today,” not realizing that you can be just as successful if you pursued something out of a genuine interest instead of being forced.

And that’s when I’m like oh shit, that’s why the abused become abusers, they justify it. I mean Amy Chua wrote an entire book justifying abuse.


What’s funny to me is that my parents stopped paying me for getting all As, because they realized I’d do it without the bribe.


I was such a sucker.

This is the overwhelmingly popular American take on “good” parenting.

But I don’t know if I buy that you can be just as successful. There’s like a 0.0% chance my kid will play Carnegie Hall.

Also, while I agree that social skills and a good network matters more for a CEO job, I don’t think you can magically develop those skills just by getting drunk.

At my college, a lot of kids would play social-deduction games like Mafia, Werewolf, Secret Hitler (Among Us).

We never talked about it, but I think the games were popular because we all knew those are the real life skills.

Yeaaaaah, but the people I know who have gotten to CEO/Director-level didn’t play those games.

Maybe that’s a clue.

Or it’s an anecdote? The only multimillionaire I know closely likes to run D&D games.

In any case it is fun playing those games with different people. Math majors who can uncover a ploy 8 moves back, drama majors who will carry on an emotion laden lie for 45 minutes, poli-sci majors who can manipulate the voting patterns, and of course actuaries who somehow manage to be both bad at lying and bad at telling the truth.