Parents have a natural instinct to do the best by their children. This instinct only grows stronger as you watch them grow older and enter school. However, whether you’re attempting to assist your child with school projects or homework, monitoring their educational progress by talking to teachers, or even keeping track of their grades, it is difficult for most parents to find a suitable balance between ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’. Unknowingly, parents often take the reins a little too frequently, and try to guide their children as much as possible, which can ironically work to restrict them. This is why it is a healthy and helpful habit to take a step back now and then and ask yourself, how much is too much?
The most important aspect to consider when finding the perfect mix of guidance and autonomy for your child is their independence. Independence is often the wonderful result of child empowerment, a concept we have previously discussed. The empowerment of a child provides them with a multitude of incredible life and learning skills, which are attributed to finding courage and belief in their own abilities, without having to resort to explicit guidance from either a parent or teacher. When a parent immediately takes control of a child’s homework when they are presented with a challenging question, it disarms them of the motivation to work through the problem themselves to find their own solutions. A more effective way to approach this scenario would be to discuss the topic with your child; ask them the methods they have already tried, or the different strategies they want to employ to determine the answer. Moreover, if your child is having persistent issues with homework and you feel they need a more in-depth explanation, it could be the right time to find a tutor.
Correction vs Criticism
When messages are conveyed in a kind and compassionate way, it works to build a child up from the inside out. By focusing on attributes rather than deficiencies, it instills a stronger feeling of confidence in your child when approaching new and unfamiliar academic tasks. The importance of guiding them through their thought processes and application to work, rather than demoralising them when mistakes have been made, can have a significant impact on how they internalise their own academic capabilities. The same can be said for how frequently you choose to vocalise your thoughts on your child’s academic progress. The frequency in which you discuss your child’s development should be kept at a rate which doesn’t cause them to feel bombarded or overwhelmed with constant reminders as to how they can ‘improve’. Choosing your battles is essential when trying to offer a supporting hand. Refrain from pinpointing every individual mistake for correction. Instead, focus on the bigger picture, and how you can offer guidance in helping your child manifest their educational goals. For instance, if your child is struggling with their spelling, rather than pointing out the mistakes they have made, implement some fun spelling activities within the home, or even find strategies to break down certain words to help with memory retention. Choose one or two of your child’s frequently mis-spelled words and work on them first. Once they are regularly spelled correctly, find another one or two to tackle!
Stop worrying so much
This is a concept many parents struggle with, as of course you want to feel secure knowing you’re doing everything possible for your children to be happily excelling at school. One of the most effective methods to ensure your children won’t crumble when experiencing failure is not to prevent it entirely, it’s to embrace failure and turn it into a learning opportunity. Children are resilient; you have to let them pick themselves up, perhaps when they achieved a low grade in a test, or didn’t quite receive the feedback they were expecting on a certain project. You have to work with them to acknowledge what could have been done differently, so they can incorporate the lessons they have learned at the next opportunity. In doing this, you are creating a culture of comfort between you and your child, keeping the lines of communication open, and allowing your child to learn from their own mistakes whilst still feeling supported.
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