Hey Mom and Dad, about that D…

A student is heading for a D in Chemistry and worries that her parents will confiscate her things when they find out.

Try not to assume the worst, says our elder. And even if you do get a D this time, you can still bring that grade up in the future.


Q. Dear EWC

I am having a hard time in my studies. I just don’t really understand my Chemistry class about formulas of gas laws. I’m just so dumb in solving this and to be honest my parents are strict, and our grading system is in letters that are A B C and D. My teacher told me that I may get a D grade for my second grading grade. I want to tell my parents about this directly and explain to them on how hard chemistry is for me and how I spend the whole day trying to solve a problem that others say is just easy, while I am having mental breakdown on how to solve this.


My parents told me that if I get a C, even just a C, they will confiscate my books and my games – those things are the ones that made me happy despite of the full year quarantine at home. They did not allow me to spend time with my friends. Please tell me how I should tell my parents about this so that they will not be angry and take my things. I am being honest about it; I am having a hard time in Chemistry. I hope you guys can help me on how I should tell my parents:


A. Elder Scriber replies

Thank you for writing. I know you are anxious in anticipation of speaking with your parents about your possible upcoming low grade in Chemistry. I’m going to give you some advice and provide some of my thoughts about your situation, which should help ease your mind.

First, you don’t really know yet for sure if you’ll be receiving a D. Your teacher said you may receive a D. So, there’s still time to bring up your grade, which I’ll talk about later in this letter. But just in case you really do receive a D, here’s my advice on how to handle telling your parents. Even though your parents are strict, as you pointed out, and even though they may be disappointed if you receive a low grade, they also probably remember what it’s like to struggle in certain subjects. You’re struggling in Chemistry right now. (I struggled in certain math classes. We all have our weaknesses in certain areas.) 

If you really do receive a D in Chemistry, try not to assume the worst from your parents in terms of how they may react before you tell them about the grade. Most parents want their children to do the best that they can, but they also know that sometimes there can be problems in school which can result in low grades. When you tell them about your grade, they may want to know if there’s anything they can do to help you. Tell them what you need from them, like – understanding, support, and anything else that you need. Your parents are in your corner.  

Can you meet with your Chemistry teacher as soon as possible to get more help so that you can understand the material?  Perhaps your teacher can help you figure out the causes of your difficulties in understanding the material and then come up with a plan to help rectify the problems. Also, have you considered getting a tutor?  Are there any other students in your class who can help you?    

You may also need to make a few adjustments or changes at home when you’re trying to study Chemistry (or any other subject). Do you have an organized study system right now?  If not, I think you should try to figure out a study system that works for you. You can start by trying to set up a special study place. Find a room at home or a spot somewhere that’s quiet. I advise you to also turn off your phone and put it away. While you’re sitting in your special study place, try to get into a study frame of mind. Have an attitude that you’re going to get your studying done. Decide that you’re going to study and learn so that you can move on to other things later. You can also help motivate yourself to study by promising to reward yourself afterward. (The reward can be anything that you like – eating something you like, watching a movie, talking to a friend and so forth.) 

Another way to help you get good grades in Chemistry, or any other subject, is to organize your time. I strongly suggest getting one of those large calendars so that you can mark down the due dates for papers and tests. This way, those days don’t sneak up on you unexpectedly. Also, try to block out some study hours on your calendar. It’s better to study a little every day rather than create a huge once-or-twice a week session. Schedule study hours for your hardest classes, like Chemistry, for the times when you feel more energetic.

If you’re having some personal problems right now that are making you feel distracted, reach out for some help. I know from your letter that your challenges in Chemistry are causing you to feel like you’re having a mental breakdown, especially when you spend the whole day trying to solve a problem that others say is easy. You’re not dumb, as you wrote in your letter. Chemistry is a very challenging subject for many people. You can always talk to your guidance counselor and/or your teacher about the anxiety you may be feeling right now, especially since you think you may be receiving a low grade in Chemistry. You should also talk to your parents for more support and help. Explain to them how difficult Chemistry is for you and how much time you are spending trying to figure out the problems. I think the best thing you can do right now is to just tell your parents what’s going on so that they can help you figure out what to do next. In other words, just tell them the truth.

It’s very important that you don’t delay any further in trying to get extra help in Chemistry, whether it’s meeting with a tutor, meeting separately with your teacher, or meeting with another student. Keep your parents posted on your progress and struggles so that they know that you’re trying to do the best that you can.

So, even though you may receive a D in Chemistry for your second grade, you can still bring that grade up in the future. Try very hard to complete all of the work, ask questions, get help when you need it, and make a few adjustments at home when you study. If you do all this, I think you will see some improvements in your grades.

I know you’re very concerned about your parents possibly confiscating your books and games right now if you get a low grade. I understand that these things bring you comfort and you don’t want to lose them. Your parents may be concerned that your books and games are distracting you from focusing on your Chemistry and/or the time you spend with your books and games could be re-directed to studying Chemistry. This is something you and your parents will have to discuss together in terms of how much time you can spend relaxing with your books and games without it interfering with your schoolwork. I’m sure that your parents understand that you need a break from studying from time-to-time.  

I hope my advice was helpful. Please write back and let me know how things worked out. Good luck. 




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