Talking to children about their bad grades can be a difficult task. Most of the time, they don’t realize how serious it is. While you don’t want to scare them off, you must have that talk. Here’s how:

* Wait for him to bring it up. Sometimes, he has to let the news sink in first. If he is not used to getting bad grades, it might scare him a little. Bad grades are not good. When he realizes this, he will open up and talk to you. He’ll want to know what those bad grades really mean for him. This is when you have his complete and undivided attention.

* Get tough. If the child is a repeat offender, constantly getting bad grades, showing no improvement, and even having a bit of an attitude problem, it may be time to get angry. A stern talk—complete with a tall stance and disapproving expression—will tell your troublemaker that enough is enough. However, if this tactic is not working, you have to step up your game. Enforce new rules and dole out the appropriate punishment. Take away his Internet privileges or ground him until his grades show improvement.

* Tell the truth. For kids in the higher grades, you can use the threat of the truth or future on them. High school is just on the horizon. Emphasize the point that with such low grades, he might not get into the same high school as his classmates. The truth will set him free because he wouldn’t want to get left behind.

* Show him his mistakes. Try telling him of his poor performance and explaining to him what went wrong before you show him his grades. This way, he isn’t so shocked to see his low marks. Your explanation will also illustrate to him how his poor grades came about—and how working harder can bring those scores up.

* Never shout or scream. Don’t embarrass him in front of his friends.