That’s what most parents do. It’s natural to want to help make the writing better.

But teens become easily discouraged about their writing when adults only point out what’s wrong, says writing expert Jim Evers.

Instead of being critics, parents need to be writing coaches, he suggests. They need to boost teens’ confidence and build on their writing strengths.

To do this, parents should:

• First find specific things to praise. Compliment the sequence of a piece that flows well. Say that you like the use of a certain word or phrase. Comment on well-constructed sentences.

• Don’t expect too much too soon. What children write about and their use of grammar and punctuation are highly tied to their age and age-related thinking ability.

• Point out only one or two errors in a given piece of writing, rather than all the errors.

• Don’t praise too much. Just as an over-emphasis on errors hampers skill growth, praising everything children write distracts from real needs to improve.

• Don’t be a ghost writer for your child. Practice in writing is the only way kids learn and come to feel competent as writers.

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