They say things like “Come on, let’s get this done. Stop whining!” But such a response doesn’t lower a child’s frustration, researchers say.

In a recent study, parents were videotaped helping their 3rd graders with homework. The students who were able to tackle difficult homework assignments were those whose mothers acted as cheerleaders.

These parents say things like “Sure, this is hard, but you’ve done work this hard before. Take a few minutes and look at the problem again. Maybe we can break it down into small pieces.” The moms also never let their children belittle themselves with comments like “I’m stupid.”

When parents consistently say “You can do it!” children begin to internalize the message. These children become more confident and able to handle challenging homework.

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