Friday, September 7, 2012

Advice for Dads with Kids Struggling in School

A guest post from Nadia Jones...

Most kids struggle in school at one point in their lives as students; it’s a part of the education experience. Students struggle, they might fall occasionally, but then they get back up and figure things out—that’s the beauty of learning things in a controlled educational environment. Heck, I know I had a rough period myself around the time that I was first taught geometry in high school. But that hard class also taught me the value of earnest studying.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn't be totally alarmed when they find out that your child is struggling in some part of their schooling. A single low grade on a test means that there’s room for improvement, not cause for a school-wide intervention. A serious of low grades in the same class, however, might be a more serious problem that could use your attention. I want to talk about these more serious school related problems today, and how you as dad can help your kid overcome them.

Be their rock, be their positive support

The first thing you should do when you learn your kid is really struggling in school is to show that you’re there for them. Voicing your support and showing your love for your little one(s) is your topmost priority as a parent—they won’t get nearly the same support in the classroom that they’ll get from you. They’re looking to you for support and guidance. So when your child arrives home from school only to show you a low test score or some sort of misconduct note, don’t fly off the handle at them. Tell them that you’re there for them and remain positive about the situation.

Help identify and solve the problem

Once you’ve established that you’re there to support your kid, ask them (calmly) exactly what happened that led to their struggle, whether it’s the low grade or the bad conduct in class. Help your child understand where they went wrong without making the process sound like an inquisition. Maybe they didn't study for the test like they should have, maybe they haven’t been doing their homework, or maybe the teacher is giving them an unrealistic amount of homework each day. Whatever the case may be, you’d have a better chance finding out if you ask your kid about it respectfully.

Have a conference with the teacher to check in on things

It never hurts to touch base with the teachers that educate your kid(s) on a daily basis. After all, why else would schools invite parents to open houses? Meeting with your kid’s teacher is one of the easiest ways to get to the bottom of any issues that you might be unaware of. A typical schoolteacher spends hours and hours every day with your child, so if anyone can give you a good reason and a helpful solution for their struggles, it’s them.

Nadia Jones is a freelancer who writes for among other sites. When she’s not writing about learning, higher education, or parenting, Nadia loves to try her hand at a host of outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, and rock climbing. Feel free to leave Nadia some comments!