By Ellen Sturm Niz

It's report card season at many schools, where we anxiously await that folded cardstock that sums up our child's academic performance. So, in the spirit of turnabout is fair play, when I heard about the Parent Report Card that kids can fill out to grade their parents' performance, I decided to let my eight-year-old daughter weigh in on how I'm doing as a mom.

First off, I was a little concerned about her eagerness to fill out the report card. Did she have some criticisms she was anxious to get off her chest? I also had to explain what grades A through F mean, as her school uses the 4 through 1 scale. I told her to be honest, several times, because I wanted to make sure she didn't sugarcoat anything.

I waited on pins and needles in the living room while she filled out the questionnaire in her room. A couple of times she yelled out questions.

"Mooooooom, what's social media?"

"Oh. Facebook, Twitter, stuff like that," I yelled back.

"It asks how you act at my sporting events but I don't have those," she yodeled at me.

"Right, just any event where other parents and kids are there," I improvised.

"When it asks if your parent texts and drives, does it mean do you do those things in general or at the same time?"

"Same time."

Then, she was done and it was time for our parent-child conference.

"You got mostly '"excellents,'" she told me officiously. "Just two F's."

What?! Oh, no! What did I get F's in?!

"You got an F in 'Does your parent embarrass you in front of your friends,'" she said, a little too excitedly, I thought, as my heart sank, "because you never, ever do that!"

Oh. Thank. God. She gave me a big hug.

I also got an F in texting and driving because I never do that. Cha-ching.

Next, we talked about the two C grades.

For the question, "Is your parent interested in your social media/tech entertainment?" she gave me a C because I let her email, but not text or use Facebook, but that's okay because "it's not appropriate for someone my age," she told me like a little businesswoman. Hey, she does listen to me!

The other C was for teaching her about her growing body. "You do okay," she explained gently, but matter-of-factly, "but Daddy does better. He showed me this app about muscles and how the body works." Hmmm, this is good to know. As the same gender parent, I should probably be winning at this one. This is information I can build on.

For the rest of the questions, I got A's and B's, and I'm taking the B's to heart, too. Those are areas where my daughter thinks I have room for improvement, and by next report card season, I want to make the Dean's List.

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Image via Shutterstock



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