Parents never like to see their kids fail. In fact, some of us will do anything we can to rescue them from failure or disappointment. But rescuing our kids is not always a good idea.
What do we mean by "rescuing?"
We're talking about trying to make everything OK when things go wrong. Not getting them math help when they're failing math, but bringing their math homework to school every time they forget to put it in their backpack.
Why do we do it?
First, we want our kids to feel happy and successful. And we tend to overvalue school achievement. We look at the economy, the schools, college competition and the planet and it makes us feel anxious.
Does this really work?
Not so much. Not in the long run. We can't always fix things for our kids. Not realistic - not even smart. Doesn't help them learn to cope or solve their own problems or to live in the real world. They will not be going through life with someone there to bail them out or come to their rescue.
What should parents do instead of "rescuing" their kids?
- Ask questions
- Stay positive
- Don't be a fixer
- Help find solutions
If he got a bad grade find out why. Is the homework getting turned in? Is there test-prep going on? After that ask, "How can I help you?"
Be encouraging when things go wrong, but avoid those old clichés that really say nothing. "You'll do better next time," or "You'll just study harder," don't give kids useful information, they just put more pressure on them.
If you need to speak to a teacher about your child's performance, don't ask, "Why did you give my child this grade?" You should be asking, "What can we do to support her so she will be able to tackle this material?"
Give them a chance to solve problems and start this when they are young. Another child grabs a toy from your child, ask what might be a good way to get it back. If her first idea is to grab the truck, ask, "Can you think of better ways than that?"