But sometimes, the things parents do and say can have the opposite effect. Here are some things that can harm a child’s belief in his ability:
- Directing. Sometimes, parents want to manage all the details. They tell a child, step by step, how to solve every problem. But they are really telling their child they don’t think he can figure it out on his own.
- Explaining. A child brings home a bad grade on a test he didn’t study for. “That’s what happens when you don’t study,” the parent says. Don’t explain what happened. Instead, let your child figure out what he might have done differently.
- Rescuing. Many parents simply step in every time their child faces a problem. The result is that the child always waits to be rescued.
- Assuming. Some parents always assume the worst. “If you don’t get to work now, you’ll never get your homework done. Then you’ll get a bad grade.” Sometimes, you just have to let children experience things for themselves. Ask questions that will get your child thinking. If he gets a bad grade, ask, “What would you do differently?” Then wait for your child to come up with the plan. This will build your child’s confidence—and help him get a better grade.
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