parent advice for dealing with school struggles
This advice begins with some “when to worry” tips and ends with tips for how to handle worries.
Tip one: Check out expected age and stage developmental time lines. Click here for access to the most comprehensive overview of what to expect when. This list was put out by the Australian Goverment’s Department of Health. It is the best I have found after much web surfing.
Most children don’t hit all on the times listed exactly, but being consistently at the bottom on any test should raise some concern; the more missed, the more one should worry.
Tip two: Worry if a child cannot read simple sentences and if he or she reverses letters or numbers after the second grade – by then most have out grown these difficulties. These are often signs of a learning glitch, disability or challenge. For more information about such struggles visit the web page of The National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Worry about a child that hates school to the point that getting him or her up and off has become the major battle of the day, with homework a close second? This often begins in adolescence, but can be seen earlier.
Tip three: Worry about bullying if the hatred of school develops suddenly. Bullies often make threats that keep kids from sharing that they are being bullied. This Stop Bullying Webpage is the place to go for more information about bullying, including what to watch for and how to help.
Tip four: Do this simple ADD test: ask your child to stand without moving for three minutes. Make a game of it for younger children by saying you want to play army. Without moving means eyes straight ahead, hands at side, breathing regular. Then ask the child to rate how hard he found standing still on a one to five scale. One is easy, five couldn’t do it, three so-so. If the child does not remain still or doing so was very difficult, ADD may be a problem. CHADD is a place to find information and help.
Tip five: If the school is worried, you should be worried – they do know kids.
Tip six: Do not just worry act. Get a professional and complete psychological and learning evaluation.
Tip seven: If the school offers an evaluation that is a good place to begin, but it is also wise to persue an independent examination from a psychologist trained to deal test intelligence, learning styles, and educational performance. If you cannot afford to pay for a private evaluation go to your local mental health agencies specializing in children.
Tip eight: Never go to a meeting at a school without an advocate by your side. As with the evaluation, the advocate should not be connected to the school. If the school offers an advocate take advantage, but also bring an independent advocate with you. Independent advocates can be friends or at some point a legal adviser or even a therapist.
Tip nine: Never lose hope for you child’s future. School success is important, but studies show others things matter more. Manners matter, so does finding a passion, so does developing a good work ethic. Some say these matter far more than academic degrees.
Tip ten: Develop strong emotional fitness skills and teach the same to your child. My book Parents Are People To, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents details how to do so. For a quick start read look at my Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises.
Parenting is hard work and if a child is struggling with school parents worry and suffer. Hopefully the above tips and resources will help you and your child move forward.
DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.
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