Why Shouldn’t You Scold Your Child for Their Bad Results

It’s easy to blame your child for the bad results he received.

“Why didn’t you pay attention in class?!”

“You don’t know and you didn’t ask?!”

“What were you doing when the teacher was teaching?!”

These might have been your first thoughts but it’s really unfair for you to blame your child for her bad results simply because:

  1. They didn’t mean it! – No child in the right mind will want to do badly in their examination. It is every human being’s instinct to want to excel in life. They may have been careless in their work or in your opinion, not “interested” in ensuring perfection. However, they are still young. They are like “L” plate drivers who are tentative and tend to make mistakes. Be understanding and forgiving, cut them some slack.


  1. They don’t know what they don’t know. – Languages, Mathematics and Sciences are not topics that you can master just because you “pay attention” in class or “ask” when you don’t understand. We have to remind ourselves that not all teachers are made equal and not all learning environment is the same. Even if you pay 100% attention every time the teacher is teaching, you may not understand or be taught what you need to know in order to deal with the examination questions.

Let me give you a simple example, which of the following is correct?

a) An FBI agent

b) A FBI agent

If your answer is “a”, you are wrong. Because “F” is read as /effe/, which is sounded with an /e/ at the beginning thus you use an “an” in front of it (It’s actually not about the spelling but the sounds of the first syllable.).

If you got it right, good for you, you are one of the lucky ones who had gotten a great English teacher when you were young.

Now try this:

____________ more dustbins in school ___________ in reducing littering?

1) does, help                    3) do, helps

2) do, help                        4) does, helps

The answer is option 1). It is a real examination question picked out from a Primary 6 SA2 examination paper. This kind of question is not something that you will know how to answer without the guidance of a good English teacher and definitely not something that is taught actively in the textbook or even in class. However, they do, somehow, find their way into the test papers.


  1. You will increase their anxiety level. – The only thing that will result from your scolding is their increased stress and anxiety level in dealing with their studies. Stress is defined as “a response that occurs when an individual faces the lack of resources to deal with the situation given”. Screaming at them simply makes them feel inadequate without them feeling like they are receiving the help that they need, this thus results in undue stress, which in turn affects learning.


To help your child, start them young. Be reasonable in your expectations of your child’s results. Right from Primary 1, do not scold them for the bad results. I’ve seen so many children who have tried forging signatures, hiding test papers, crying in school because they didn’t want to go home to their parents with their bad scores. Don’t give your children the undue stress that they are already facing on a daily basis. It’s not their fault to have done badly, they don’t know what they were not taught. Even if they were taught, they are not experts of the topic yet and therefore failure is simply one of the paths they had to walk on in their learning journey.


When you receive your child’s papers, look into it, analyse it, see what the problems are, be understanding and seek help for him/her. That’s only fair for your child.

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