Are you worried that your child is not fulfilling their potential? Or might you be making mistakes in your attitude to your child’s development when they are not succeeding academically?
As the parent of a child who is struggling in school, it’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t have all the answers. The worry and stress on your family can stem from many different sources. Many parents understandably worry that the child they love isn’t going to fulfill their potential and will be left behind as their peers succeed. Although this worry is universal, it’s important to realise that line of thought is unproductive.
Instead of dwelling in the shame, fear, and blame you feel when you think about your child’s progress, it’s important to realise that these emotions are a product of unrealistic and impersonal expectations. When parents can see their child’s progress, measured only by their own past performance, they will likely realise that he/she is progressing well. They are just on their own trajectory, which is equally deserving of support.
Many parents work hard to understand their child’s learning profile and feel confusion or defeat when this work doesn’t contribute to the outcome they would have wanted. At this point, many parents commit a common action mistake, and take their anger and frustration out on their child. This type of blame can lead to negative consequences including their child withdrawing, and their confidence in their abilities dropping as parents blame them for problems that are out of their control.
Here are some mistakes that can cause us to unfairly take our anger and frustration out on our children when they aren’t succeeding academically.
7 Mistakes parents make when dealing with their child’s education
The comparison trap
It’s really easy for parents to get caught in the trap of comparing their kids to siblings, peers, or friends. This may cause your child to believe that there’s something inherently wrong with them because they can’t meet these unfair expectations.
Wrongly attributing a drop in confidence
Parents who are struggling to understand their growing child often attribute their drop in confidence or ability to mitigating factors like social media, friendships, or bullying.
Expecting someone else to ‘fix’ their problem
With the plethora of specialists available today, many parents become frustrated when professionals like teachers, tutors, or therapists aren’t able to ‘fix’ their child’s problem. This can lead to parents blaming their kids for failing to thrive even in an expensive, specialized environment.
“Just a phase”
All children go through phases of development, where tastes change, new abilities are gained, and their personality adjusts. However, learning challenges aren’t typically something children can outgrow. To avoid prolonging the problem, children need to be taught to cope as soon as any learning issues develop.
Generalising a condition
Even parents who have gone out of their way to research and read about learning issues and developmental delays may inadvertently generalise about their child’s condition.
Assuming that this is just the way they are
It’s no question that you love your child. However, this love and affection can sometimes cloud your judgment, and cause parents to assume that their child’s learning struggles are an unchangeable element of their personality. This can hold parents back from seeking a solution and damages your child’s confidence.
Assuming you know what’s best
Parents often assume that they know what’s best for their kids, and may stubbornly refuse support from outside professionals. While this may be the case with many other elements of your child’s upbringing, it never hurts to consult educational professionals and work with them to create the best possible path forward for your child.
Avoiding anger and frustration when dealing with learning issues
The mistakes we mentioned above are not uncommon. It’s easy for tired, worn-out parents to get caught in the trap of making these mistakes and become frustrated with their kids.
The next time you catch yourself making one of these mistakes, take a step back and reset your thinking. Easing tensions and creating a more open environment to explore your child’s learning issues will benefit them in the long run.