When your child struggles.

I can sense the anxiety, frustration, helplessness, worries in parents’ voice when they tell me……

  • My son is failing/barely passing Physics. I am not sure what is his weakness. He is unsure what he is doing wrong.
  • My daughter said she studied very hard for Physics but she is not able to do the questions during exams. She memorized all the formulae and definitions. Are exam questions different from practice questions?
  • I have completely lost touch with Physics. It has been donkey years since I did the subject myself. I am not able to help my son at all on this subject.
  • Although I am an engineer I am not sure how to guide my daughter to learn Physics except helping her work out the solution.
  • I was never strong in Physics as a student, definitely do not feel equipped to help my son on this subject.
  • I bought all the available assessment books for my daughter.

Do these concerns bother with you?

If yes, Stay calm and read on.

Because you are the strength your child needs to try, try, try.

  1. Let’s Try Again is a Mindset

Labelling goes on very often. When your child is not doing well for a subject, we labeled it as ‘not good enough’, ‘fail’, ‘not incline to the subject’ et cetera. Labelling has probably a lot to do with judgment.

“John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them.” ― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success.

When we want our child to do well, we become more anxious than they are. Instead, as neutral as we can be, we want to role model the mindset of Let’s try again.

Action: Sit down and converse openly with your child and find out what was his/her studying methods, how long did he/she revise and the difficulty he or she faces. Decide together if trying requires hiring a tutor to help catch up content (but not as a crutch/shortcut for the child). Role modeling ‘Let’s try again’ to show your child that learning is a process.

  1. Accountability Partner & Cheerleader

In our society, we want to protect our children from losing self-esteem. When our child did not do well, we want to remind them that they are still the best, they are smart anyway or that it is normal to be less inclined in a certain subject.

It is more useful to strengthen our child with honest and constructive feedback.

Elizabeth is a gymnast, on her way to the Olympics. She did well in all the events but did not win a single metal.  She was very disappointed.  Her growth-minded father told her “Elizabeth, I know how you feel. It is disappointing to have your hopes up and to perform your best but not to win. But you know, you haven’t really earned it yet. There were other girls there who’ve been in gymnastics longer than you and who’ve worked a lot harder than you. If it is something you really want, it’s something you’ll really have to work for.” – Carol S. Dweck, Mindset – Updated Edition.

Our child needs an accountability partner and a cheerleader to give them honest and constructive feedback, to role model this courage to reflect, re-evaluate their learning and try again.

Action: To remind your child that they have to be responsible for their own learning. Without accepting this responsibility, there can be no work done fruitfully to improve their grades et cetera. Together with your child, a checklist can be done to discover what to be done this holiday. It can include fun things as well as revision of topics that they are weak in. Once a week, check in with them on their progress – whether they had fun as well as done some serious work. Nudging (Not nagging) them if they have the tendency to procrastinate.

Watch this video on planning for revision – you will be surprised.

 

  1. Time, Effort, Grit, Delayed Gratification

A problem doesn’t go away on its own.

If your child is not understanding his/her own learning process, this will carry on until he/she is in tertiary or even adult life. Hence it must be worked through before it becomes a barrier to the growth of his/her spirit.

It takes time, effort, grit and delayed gratification to work through a problem before tasting success. Delaying gratification allows one to grow through the pain of meeting challenges in life.

I have heard many students who grumble about working hard but not seeing the results. The truth is they worked hard only a month before the exams and expected immediate results. Immediate results does not happen especially they already had weak foundation in the subject.

Action: As they go through revision and worksheets, praise them for their effort and time spent (rather than marks they score).  For example, initially, they may struggle with one question for a long time. Subsequently, they could breeze through the same type of question, this is progress itself. Some students take such tiny milestones for granted.

As adults, reminding them their effort is paying off in baby steps helps them to build their perseverance.

 

As a tutor, I encompass all these soft skills in my teaching style. Giving them space and time to try and at the same time nudge them when they need encouragement. While holding them responsible for their own learning, they will not be alone in this process.

Many of my students tell me, they are never afraid to try in my presence because they know they will not be put down.

 

Lovely Reads

These are books I have read and enjoyed thoroughly. Power of now & Road less travelled created a shift in me that I could not describe. My perspective was never the same again. Kit’s bookshelf: read Exploring the Eternal Soul – Insights from the Life Between Lives by Andy Tomlinson Comforting to read and makes […]

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