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When your child fails to meet expectations

I was always a topper in my school. I had my notes picture perfect and I was a model student. But my daughter is just the opposite — incomplete notes, complaints of daydreaming from her teachers and total disinterest in studies. She doesnt like extra curricular activities either. Every evening, homework time is war zone. Im fed up with this!” laments Asha Krishnan, mother of Sumukhi (9).
The causes of Sumukhis behaviour could be many. Parents find it hard to pinpoint, much less fix such problems. Heavy parental pressure to perform, learning disabilities which have gone unnoticed, and pleasant/unpleasant distractions at school are some of the most common reasons behind children failing to live up to expectations.

The world over, parents dread the day they find out their child is not an A class student in school. Comparisons fly and frustrations mount. With all these negative inputs, the child could end up with a failure mindset.

With depression and student suicides on the rise, here are three ways in which parents can help infuse confidence in their children, and help them deal with peer and school pressures.

1. Get involved. Many parents proudly proclaim they have no clue whats happening in their childs school. The first step in helping out a failing child is to become thoroughly involved in her day-to-day life. You need to understand your childs day at school — the friends she has, the subjects she learns and the teachers most helpful to her. As you share your childs day, you will be able to discern the challenges she faces and help her out. Lower your expectations, and learn to appreciate your child for what she is.

2. Get talking. Few parents make time to actually sit down to talk to their children. Once you have short-listed the issues, talk to your child about them — one at a time. Getting her to open up may be difficult, but a non-judgmental, casual attitude will help. Discuss and help your child come up with solutions for her problems. Jointly work out routines and schedules that will help her focus and streamline her homework. Look for every opportunity to shower your child with praise and encouraging words.

3. Get help. Problems beyond your control have to be resolved with external help. It could mean a talk with a strict teacher in school to help her understand your childs sensitivity, or seeking the intervention of parents of the class bully to promote better relationships in school.
Most importantly, if you suspect a learning disability, do not be ashamed or afraid to solicit professional help. Many minor learning problems can be solved with timely intervention. Ignoring or refusing to acknowledge them can make problems many times worse.

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EducationWorld September 2019
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