Wednesday’s Parent: Two Kids; Two Types of Students


types of studentsIf you have more than one child, odds are they are different. One may excel academically and the other may struggle. Parenting both types of students is a challenge for parents, especially if there is competition among the two. I know. I had one of each in my home for 18+ years.

When you have both types of kids, they should be parented differently. You can’t expect the student who struggles to bring home A’s on every report card; and you can’t compare them to the A student. Each has their own academic style and learning capabilities. It doesn’t mean, however, that the student who struggles can’t excel; and it doesn’t mean that the A student will never bring home a B or C.

The “A” Student

Living with an “A” student can be challenging. It doesn’t seem like it would be, but it is. Most students who excel academically are hard on themselves. They see grades as a part of their self-worth. If they don’t make the grades, they have failed. Perfectionism among this demographic is common and often causes all kinds of emotional issues. So much is expected of them to achieve excellence. One college graduate described what her life as an “A” student was like:

“I wanted to dance. Throw a football. Watch a movie, or get in a car and see the world instead of vicariously traveling through stacks of assigned books. Occasionally, I tossed my pen aside and went out, but these instances were rare, and I usually felt guilty about my abandoned pile of work reproducing with each passing second. At the time, I didn’t know why I put so much pressure on myself. My parents didn’t push me. My professors tried to tell me to lighten up and go have some fun. I could only respond, “Stop dishing out so much work.” I could only give it my all, or give nothing. Now I understand that I was a classic perfectionist who had yet to discover how to define my inherent worth without my achievements. Because I didn’t know how to define myself without my perfect grades, I was terrified of failing, and “failure” meant anything less than perfection, causing me years of undo stress.”

“A” students often can’t play, relax or see the lighter side of anything. Their focus is on attaining the highest GPA in their class and this, and only this, is what life is all about. This type of student, more than any other, needs to understand that apart from the grades, they are accepted and loved.

The “C” Student

If you have a “C” student in your house, you have probably tried everything to get their grades up. You’ve tried yelling, punishing, grounding and bribing them into making “A”s. You might have compared them to their brother or sister who is an “A” student. But believe it or not, the “C” students are the happiest. They may struggle in school and force you to have many parent/teacher conferences, but many average students become successful in college and in life.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students”, urges parents to lighten up. Kiyosaki believes that the school system was created to churn out ‘Es’ / Employees… those “A Students” who read well, memorize well and test well… and not the creative thinkers, visionaries and dreamers –entrepreneurs-in-the-making… those “C Students who grow up to be the innovators and creators of new ideas, businesses, applications and products.

The book urges parents not to be obsessed with their kids’ “letter grades” (“good grades” might only mean they or the student themselves were successful in jamming a square peg into a round hole…) and focus, instead, on concepts, ideas, and helping their child find their true genius, their special gift. The path they can pursue with a love and true passion.

It’s easy to label our kids: he’s smart, or she’s beautiful, or he’s an “A” student, or she’s just an average student. Be careful when you do that. Kids need to, first and foremost, enjoy their education experience. They can’t when there is too much pressure to excel or they are compared to others who have “met the grade” so to speak. Take the advice from valedictorian: it’s not the grades that matter, it’s the person you become that’s important.

Read Wendy’s Post: Parenting the Superstar and the Struggler


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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