The parenting report card

Julie Lythcott-Haims nails it again in this Q&A with Your Teen, particularly with this piece of advice:

“If there is a parenting report card, it should be ‘Does your child do the right thing in the world, even when no one is looking or grading them?’ Their good character is the highest possible grade we could receive. As parents, we should show an interest in them, not just their grades and scores. When you first see each other at the end of the day, looking them in the eye, smiling, letting them see that their presence brings you joy, and saying, ‘Hi. How was your day? What did you like about today?’ Take an interest in what actually interested them in the day, instead of bombarding them with, ‘How’d that math test go? How much homework do you have?’ The first questions we ask when we reunite with them at the end of each school or work day really is a very clear signal to them about what matters to us. Many of us are conveying the impression that our kids’ worth value comes from their test scores and GPA. We’ve got to take that broader view, and value the human behind those achievements.”

Grades and test scores may not measure those character traits. But just about everyone else does, including many colleges.