The processes that we employ to learn are complex and remarkable. School is underway for many children and adults. This is when formal learning takes place. When my children were young, it was a time of appreciable anxiety and excitement for all us. This is common for many other families as well. Now that my children have their degrees in teaching, I have found that anxiety exists for faculty too!
In our counseling practice, we encounter elevated anxiety with children and adolescents because it is fused with other challenges. Learning problems, anxiety, trauma, depression, low esteem, shyness, family tensions, and developmental disorders co-exist for many of our children and teens. Parental efforts to help one’s child achieve academic success are often met with worry, frustration, and loneliness. There is hope. Dyslexia was no stranger to our home.
There are some considerations that may help parents and children during this time of school adjustment.
- Consider your child’s strengths
- Think about how you learned when you were school-aged
- Realize that your child may have an inflated, negative, or worrisome distortion about school
- Understand how your child expresses fear and frustration
- Consider that statistics indicate that almost seventy percent of the world’s population has average intelligence, so your child may be in ‘good company’
- Tell your child that almost everyone has strengths and weaknesses in learning
- Don’t overly praise you child, telling him or her “How smart you really are”, as this only creates more pressure
- Help your child realize that his or her brain is constantly growing and changing
- Stress and model patience
- Consider tutoring from an older-aged student
- Develop structure for each day by using a schedule for after school tasks, homework, family, and recreation time on an hourly basis; children do well when they see what they are told
- Take brief and highly structured breaks when your child’s attention wanders
- Find a quiet place to do homework
- Encourage your child, be patient, and maintain healthy parental power
- Teach your child what is meaningful about education
- Teach your child how education still occurs in your life
- Describe your learning style and how you direct your self
- Keep most conversations brief and informative
- Try to work along side of your child to initiate homework or when struggles arise
- Invite your child’s thoughts
- Use your child’s teacher as a resource
- Consider a licensed and experienced therapist to assist with your child’s psychology if struggles or negative attitudes become resistant to change
Your child may be entering kindergarten or college. Their success or struggles will affect you.
We can help! Dr. De Valk welcomes your calls or e-mails at any time. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org