It is heartbreaking to witness a struggling student who works hard but feels like a failure. We can assume most parents want their children to hit the expected milestones, achieve success and feel good about themselves. When they do not, it can be difficult for parents to know how to help.
When establishing educational goals for your child or adolescent, think about where you want them to be at the age of 22. Assuming you want good health, happiness and independence, consider what tools and guidance can be provided now that opens the door to these possibilities. What skills can they learn today to make this achievable?
Ideas and suggestions
- Be sure to include ample opportunity for them to do what they love. Encourage them to spend time on things that bring joy. Are there ways to incorporate what they enjoy into their schoolwork?
- Tap into their talents and gifts and develop and nurture these. We can too often focus on strengthening the weaknesses and do not spend enough time strengthening the strengths. What if we nurtured the gifts of our young people? It takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in something. Are we spending 10,000 hours on what the child/adolescent can’t do well, or what he or she can do well?
Important considerations at school
- Learning something new takes brain work and can be tiring. Can your child have “brain brakes” throughout the school day and at home? Think of a time when you were training for a new job position. Do you remember being exhausted when you came home those first few weeks? This may be what your child/adolescent experiences daily.
- For a student who struggles completing homework in a reasonable amount of time, ask the teacher(s) how much time is expected on nightly homework. If your child/adolescent is taking much longer on assignments than their classmates, the teacher may be able to make adjustments, reducing the workload a bit without compromising the integrity of the lessons.
- Is it possible for the student to reduce the amount of new information to be learned at once? This allows them to learn material well, as opposed to partially understanding it, otherwise they can reach a saturation point that can lead to frustration and overwhelm.
Important note: Communicating with teachers is critical so they are aware of how your child/adolescent is doing at home. Quite often your son or daughter can hold it together throughout the school day then fall apart at home. As far as the teacher(s) knows, their student is working hard and trying their best, without realizing they are overextended and overwhelmed. You may find that one or two simple adjustments can make a significant difference and require little effort from you or the teacher.