I have always had a dilemma. Shall I tell parents that their children lack any talent for learning a foreign language?
Parents sometimes ask me about the progress of their children. I try not to be too straigthforward - I have never said that a kid was a hopeless case and it would take two decades to teach him/her some decent English, forget the perfect one. I mention weak points without going into details but I also try to stress the strong ones.
Should I be more sincere with parents? It would be too cruel, I think, because I would have to be really direct with them. Once a mother looked at me in disbelief when I told her that her 15-year-old son whom I had tutored for 8 years was still unable to understand grammar. She didn`t believe me, as I tried to sound rather soothing. In result, she probably thought it was my fault and incompetence.
I believe you can still be sincere with parents without being cruel. It's all in the wording. As someone who works with children with learning disabilities, I have had to hone this art of saying the truth kindly. Some phrases I use are: "Your son still finds grammar challenging," or "your daughter needs to keep working on fluency," or "his/her progress is not where we'd like it to be right now..."