Join our bloggers as they share their experiences on the challenges and joys of helping children succeed in school.
As parents, we want to protect our children from failure. What we don’t realize is that failure is an important part of life. If children do not experience failure, they may not learn to struggle through to success. Think about when you watched your child learn to walk. If every time she fell down you rescued her, she would have taken much longer to learn to walk on her own. On the other hand, there were times when she did need encouragement from you to keep trying.
The students I teach are dyslexic. This means they have a specific language learning difficulty that affects them in many ways. They often experience school failure before coming to our school. More than once I have heard my students say they feel their strength is that they know how to fail, sometimes over and over again, and not get too discouraged. To get to this point, however, takes support from parents, friends, and teachers.
When your child fails (such as getting a low grade on a test or project they thought was really good), you can help him to learn resilience—to bounce back and keep trying until he finally succeeds. Here are some suggestions for what you might do.
If you have a child who struggles in school, resist the urge to do her work for her. This will not help her to be successful. It will teach her that she cannot do it without you (or someone else who will do it for her). It is OK to help, but be careful not to do the work. On the other hand, if you see that she is getting too discouraged and is unable to bounce back, it is time to see a professional to help your child find out why school is so difficult for her. The school psychologist is a good place to start. If one is not available, ask her teacher for advice for where to get the help she needs.