5 Reasons Parents Care About Kids’ Grades (More Than Kids)

My parents were a bit more chill when it came to how much school grades matter compared to other kids’ parents I grew up with. However, they also cared about my grades but not that much, if I had good enough grades to be in the middle of the pack, they were fine.

We all know now that it is kind of unfair what expectations parents have from their kids. The thing is that they don’t care what you are good at, they expect good grades in every discipline.

I was very good at math and other hard science but bad at the others. The problem here is that when you get a good grade in a discipline you are good at, it is expected from you, so there is no big celebration for that. However, a bad grade in a discipline you are not good at is a disaster.

I think most parents have good intentions when they care that much about their kids’ grades, but most of them cannot see this process in a more rational manner, which is quite normal since they are emotionally attached to the kids.


5 Reasons parents care about kids’ grades

There are some good reasons and others not so good, but it is important to know that some of them happen unconsciously, so it is not like the parent is actively thinking about them, but they come naturally.

1. It is the only measurable thing

This is one of the most important reasons parents care so much about their kids’ grades. If there were another way to measure how smart and successful your kid is, it would be great, but the other ones are not as tangible.

It is hard to know that your kids have other very important life skills like good communication skills, adaptability, decisiveness, empathy, assertiveness, and so on since many adults don’t know how to measure this for themselves, let alone for their kids.

So, the grades are the only thing they can measure to know how well their kids are doing in school, and they can easily extrapolate from there to how well their kids are doing in life. Because we all know that parents associate being smart with having good grades, which in reality is not always the same thing, it might be in some cases, but not always.

2. Parents live through their children

Many parents see their kids’ success as their own, and this is why they care so much about grades, but they don’t stop there. They care about what school their kids will choose, especially high school and college, what job they have, and so on, some parents don’t know when to stop.

Some might argue that it is normal for a parent to consider their kids’ success as their own since they raise them, which is true. However, this mentality has quite a few downsides. The biggest one is pushing your kid in the direction you want, not them. Success is not the same for everybody, so it is unlikely that the kid and the parents will see success similarly.

Maybe the parent wants their kid to go to a reputable university while the kid wants to be an athlete and will prefer to train more and not spend more time in school. The kid can be right and become the best athlete in the world and enjoy doing what he likes, which is more successful than becoming a mediocre doctor, accountant, or lawyer and hating his life.

Also, there is a generational difference, the parent will have a hard time understanding what is important for their kids.

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3. They want their kids to have what they could not

This is somehow related to the first one but applies only to parents who didn’t get to a good school or university and want to ensure their kids get there.

The problem here is that the frustration is so big for those parents that they don’t pay enough attention to see if the kid actually wants to go to a good university or whatever the parent wants for them, or the parents push the kid in that direction when the kid is not as capable of deciding on its own.

4. It Gives them a reason to brag to others

Many parents, myself included, reacted with” what am I gonna say to neighbors or other parents now?” when I got a bad grade. I know, not so healthy, but it is what it is. Because parents are so emotionally attached to their kids and they have this social pressure that their kids represent them, it’s easy to see why they think about what other people will say before even thinking about what matters to the kid.

Also, they like to brag about their kids’ grades to the neighbors and other parents, so getting a good grade gives them a reason.

The worst thing is that they compare their kids’ grades without comparing anything else. They don’t care if one is good at one discipline or another if one is more creative, science-oriented, or a better athlete. It is like comparing apples to oranges, but they don’t realize that.

5. Grades can get you scholarships

This is one of the most practical reasons. The fact that their kid has good grades might get them scholarships which can save them some money, or in some situations, this might be the only chance for the kid to go to a better school since the parents would not afford it otherwise.

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There are more reasons for sure why parents care about their kids’ grades that much. Most of the reasons have a good intention behind them but a bad execution, at least in my opinion. 

The bad execution comes from the fact that they don’t try to see in their kids more than a report card regarding success and happiness in life. However, at the same time, it is quite hard to measure the other skills and traits that the kid has without being subjective. Everybody has the smartest kid, the most adaptable, and the most emphatic because they don’t have a benchmark for that.

Grades are the only thing that can be compared objectively to other kids, but they are not the best indicator of how well a kid will do in life.