(ThySistas.com) All any parent wants for their kids is that they will grow up with better opportunities than they had themselves. Not the same opportunities – that’s not progress. As the world becomes more connected, and more avenues open up, we expect opportunities to grow. Recent events – and not just earlier this month, but going back almost a decade – have made that tough. But it is not impossible. For it to happen, though, education is essential.
Increasingly, it’s not enough just to leave school with a High School Diploma. It’s really not enough to leave without one. You want your kids – sons and daughters – to have the chance to go to college. From there, that’s where opportunities begin to open up. Medical or law school, an MBA or an entry-level job with a good company and the chance to advance. But not everyone gets to go to college.
Any parent with a kid around school leaving age will know the agonies of watching them apply to colleges. Waiting for those letters to land in the mailbox with acceptances or rejections, hoping each day that good news will come. If you don’t have a kid that age, then you’ve surely pictured it as a future scenario. You want those opportunities for your kid, and you worry what will happen if they don’t come.
You worry all the more if your child isn’t doing as well at school as you hoped. You encourage them to get their head down and work. You steel yourself for the arguments when they want to go out, and you know they need to study. You save, and deny yourself treats, to make sure they have the things they need. If they’re still failing after that, you may ask why. It’s a good question, with no one easy answer.
Is Your Child Being Bullied?
We all remember what school was like. And there is no point pretending that schools today have become like some war zone where they used to be perfect. They didn’t. Our schools had absenteeism. They had teachers who were new in the job and weren’t up to the pressure. Teachers who had fixed, out-of-date attitudes that wouldn’t fly in a modern classroom. And they certainly had bullies.
A bright, intelligent child with a thirst to learn can become an insular, irritable kid with no interests very quickly. All it takes is the attentions of one bully, and their whole world can be shaken. School should be a safe place – but when there are hundreds of pupils and just dozens of staff that’s almost impossible. And the effects it has on school performance can be profound.
If you went to work tomorrow, knowing there would be someone there who had promised to beat you, how would your performance stand up? If someone at work spread rumors about you, said vile things about your parents, would you be enthusiastic about going? No. So if your kid’s performance at school begins to suffer, ask them. If they are being bullied, you need to know so that something can be done.
Does Your Child Have A Learning Difficulty?
A lot of parents these days react to stories about issues like dyslexia in the same way. “When I was a kid, it didn’t exist.” Of course, it did. It was even getting covered in the media back then. But the truth is, it often went unnoticed in practice. In many places, it still does. But if your kid, who can talk to you enthusiastically and eloquently, is not doing well at school, dyslexia may be a cause.
It’s not the only explanation, mind you. There are other issues that kids can be going through, that just get dismissed as “laziness” or a lack of application. ADHD is one example. A child who can’t concentrate and is disruptive at school may well have this problem. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they don’t have ADD because they aren’t hyperactive. Attentional issues come in different shapes and sizes.
There are ways and means of assisting a child who has a learning difficulty, whether it is one mentioned above or not. First, you need to know what the problem is. If you see signs of attention deficit, or dyslexia flags like often struggling for the right word, look into it. With correction, they can go on to achieve more than most.
Does Your Child Have A Supportive Learning Environment?
A child may participate well in class, but consistently get lower scores on their coursework papers. At that point, it might be worth looking at their home study methods. It could be that they associate school with a learning environment, but see home as a place for leisure and as a consequence don’t get much done. They may need to have a few things at home that make study feel more natural.
For example, it is possible to buy classroom desks online. You can then put one somewhere quiet in your house where your kid can go to study quietly. It’s like bringing a bit of school home with them. Which may not be exactly what they want to do, but if it helps with their grades, then college will be a reward for them. Perhaps don’t put it in their bedroom, though – that can feel like there’s no escape from school stress.
Does Your Child Push Him Or Herself Too Hard?
Paradoxically, a child who wants to do well can end up trying too hard and giving themselves problems learning. It’s not uncommon to see a sitcom where a teenage character has a big test coming up. They guzzle energy drinks or coffee, don’t go to bed and become like a Stepford kid. And the result is often that they go into the exam and completely bomb.
Pressure in small doses can be a good motivator, but only if it isn’t coming from outside. A child who thinks they have to pass every test to get a parent’s approval will put too much strain on themselves. And if your kid seems perfectly capable of over-stressing without anyone else’s help, it may be on you to get them to take a break. Cramming and getting two hours sleep is less likely to be beneficial than scanning over their notes and sleeping well.
There will be plenty of stress in their life when they’ve grown up, left home and are trying to balance work with life commitments. You know that as well as anyone does. So when it comes to getting the best out of their studies, it is essential to get them to see how important balance is. Be pleased that they are studying, but remind them there’s still a world outside and they don’t need to get an A+ every time.
It can be so difficult to balance the importance of your child having a happy upbringing with them doing well in school. Maybe the most important part of achieving this is just being able to listen to them. If you feel that there may be a problem that is affecting their school performance, take a chance to talk to their homeroom teacher or principal. Every kid has their worries – most of them are fleeting, and all of them can be overcome.
And almost as importantly in all of this, you need to make sure the worries aren’t over-stressing you. While we may not notice we’re stressed out, those around us do. That includes our kids, and stress is a very contagious condition. So when you get the chance, take the time just to think about the smart, likable kid you’re raising. They’ll get there, with your help.
Staff Writer; Eleanie Carter