How to Turn The Frustration of the B+ Into Action, Clarity, and an A

Hi everyone!

Happy Spring! I know many of your high schoolers either feel refreshed after a relaxing spring break, or if you’re like our school system, your teens are eagerly awaiting that famous week off (my sophomore and 7th grade daughters count the days!)

Either way, spring is here and with summer’s cheerful smile peeking just around the corner, that means that end of the semester grades and college applications can weigh heavily on your kids’ minds.

As we think of summer, many of us picture summer swim league, or jumping into a cool lake and I’m starting my summer early – with swimming! However, as I love talking to friends about their kids and school, yesterday, in-between swimming laps, a friend of mine confided in me about her teen’s anger and frustration with her teacher as she gave her a B+ instead of the A- (when her grade an 89.55%).

I know a lot of your teens feel that same frustration at teachers for refusing to bump up their grades, and wonder what they can do to make things better.

As I swam through my laps, I thought of some helpful ideas to help your teen (and you!) move from feeling overwhelmed about the B+ to feeling better organized and empowered and I came up with a few steps that your teen can take to not only push the needle on that grade but to learn some valuable life lessons.

If what we focus on grows, then I advised my friend to instruct her teen to first shift her focus away from the B+, the “mean teacher,” the frustration, and instead focus on how it feels to earn an A grade.

Focus on the feeling of a strong A grade; and I asked her now, does that feel better? Yes! She cried, it feels lighter and more joyful!

Tip #1: Keep your feelings on the more positive emotion when thinking of what you want to be like (the A student) in that class!

If action creates clarity and if we have the power to make changes, then:

Tip #2: What specific action steps can your teen do to demonstrate he/she is an A student?

For example:

How about these easy peasy tips steps teens often times forget:

  • Talk to the teacher (I promise he/she won’t bite!) before or after class.
  • If need more time with the teacher, ask the teacher when you can meet outside of class.
  • Demonstrate an interest in the material!
    • (especially if English class! How much you connected with Finny or Gene in A Separate Peace, or how much your teen disagrees with the idea of fate over free will in Romeo and Juliet).
  • Go the extra mile: participate in class discussion, include better in-depth analysis in essays – take action to create clarity in raising your performance in the class.

 Remember, we cannot control what a teacher thinks of us based on his/her personality or experiences, but we can control our study habits, our positive communication with the teacher and our thoughts – and if we want that A grade, our thoughts on how that A feels and the action steps we take to show our perseverance, diligence, and value in the class.

The bottom line here essentially gives your teen control and allows him/her to take responsibility to make improvements with the class.

Because as you know, the minute we begin to take 100% responsibility, (and not blame others, even the most cranky people!), we grow up, we gain confidence, and no matter the B+ or the A- we move closer and closer to developing effective habits that will have a positive impact on the rest of our lives.




P.s. Now, go pick up a copy of one of the classic texts mentioned above – let your kids see you read…and annotate! Want more fun articles and meaningful tips? Like us on Facebook or send an email to

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