By Evan Fischer
Sponsored Guest Contributor
It’s always tough to watch your child struggle in school. If certain subjects give them fits, if they’re being bullied, or if they just feel overwhelmed in general, the key is to get them help before the problem gets too big. Here are some things to try when your child is having a hard time.
Always stay calm. Whether your child brings home a report card full of D’s and F’s or a black eye given to them by Joey from across the street, no matter what, try to stay calm. Any situation that is less than ideal can whip any good parent into a tizzy. But regardless of your state of mind, the best thing to do is stay calm.
Once more for emphasis: Stay Calm.
It’s alright if you need to put a little distance between yourself and the sheet of paper that spells “DFFCDF” for an evening. If you stay relaxed, your teen will be much more willing and able to work through the problem with you. Likewise, if the problem is external, like in the case of bullying, try to remain calm as you get the story from your teen. Don’t make them feel like they need to hide anything from you for fear of you storming over to Joey’s house with a baseball bat. You want your child to be able to talk freely about whatever it is that is going on at school and the best way to do that is to make them feel calm by remaining so yourself.
Accept your child for who they are and the fact that they are a different person than you. It is quite possible that your child is a much better writer than they are a mathematician, for example. If you can, try to accept this (an odd thing to say, but some parents really, really want their children to be something they are not). This does not excuse failing grades, however; your student might need a little extra help in a specific subject but, once their grades come up, even if it’s just to a C or B, be encouraging and accepting of the fact that they have tried and succeeded in getting a better grade.
Find solutions to problems with your child. You will be better able to help them work through problems if they believe there are ways to resolve them and have a partner. Communicating and sharing the burden with your children will help them to feel better about their abilities to make positive changes in their lives. Even if it is not just grades that are cropping up as a problem for your child, make sure your child knows you care and understand how hurt and distraught they must be feeling. Ask their opinion about how they’d like to handle the situation and try to respect the fact that your child might not want to handle things the way you would. If their solution is not going to cause harm to anyone, consider allowing your child to handle the situation as they see fit. Self-empowerment is a powerful thing.
Don’t worry so much about where your kid is going to get their online executive MBA or doctorate. Help them get through the tough times they are going through right now. If you have a middle school student, or a high school student, help them through the tough classes they are attending by simply making yourself available to them. With the right guidance and patience, the desire for higher education will follow as will a deeper and more meaningful relationship you.
About the Author:
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California. He enjoys writing about the latest tech news for a variety of companies and discovering new and innovative gadgets.
This is a great article with some sensible advice.
I would add that trying different ways to teach is very helpful – just because I learnt one way or find it easier doing things in a particular fashion doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to teach my kids. If one thing doesn’t work after a few attempts, think of another way and try that.
Also for those of us blessed with iPads, these can be a real god send – there are so many learning apps out there and at the very least, you’ll save on paper : )
Excellent additional thoughts, Jon, and I could not agree more. Each child has a specific learning style they best respond to. That, of course, is one of the many challenges of public education. When teaching to a large group, an educator seldom has the opportunity (or luxury) to engage each student one-on-one. Some students excels im a group environment while others need more “hands on” educational methods.
I have always said (and continue to say, obviously) that “education does not start or stop at the entrance of a school.” Education is an ongoing process and must continue at home. This takes the subtle form of homework that parents can help their child with and engage them further on the topic at hand. Of course, there are many other activities such as reading, going on family trips to the museum, and just having an open discussion at the table as a family that also further enrich the child’s educational experience. Not to mention the many wonderful board games that teach and further strengthen many geek skills that are essential in everyday life.
The iPad certainly does help and can be a real boon, but it is not a necessary tool. For countless generations, the only way to teach another was through practical demonstration and communication. These are still valuable tools and method to educate our children and should be used every day. Plus they are free to use. 🙂
I really couldn’t agree more. I’ve only recently started playing ‘geek-esque’ games with my kids and, having just found your site, I’m looking forward to browsing through for these pearls : )
Enjoy your stay, Jon, and thanks for taking the time. Leave us a comment or send us a note via the forms if you have any feedback regarding suggestions on what we could be doing better or what you’d like to see. We love feedback. Even the bad kind, because at least we know that someone is reading. 🙂