Helping Children With Schoolwork
“One more night, daddy? Please?”
“Nope. I’m out of the algebra business as of five minutes ago.”
She wanted to negotiate. I wouldn’t. Before long, she was weeping and wailing and accusing me of wanting her to fail. Then she begged. I stood firm, so she wept and wailed some more. Then she wouldn’t talk to me (a blessing of sorts). For three days this went on. Finally, she gave up. Her final salvo was, “Don’t be surprised if I get an F in algebra!”
She got an A in algebra. I honestly do not think she would have been able to ace algebra if I had continued to “help” her.
FACT: Every time a parent helps a child who has said he “can’t” and “needs” the help, the child’s tolerance for academic frustration goes down a notch, all but guaranteeing that said child will (a) continue to believe he “can’t” and (b) ask for help more and more often. This is the curriculum for “How to Grow an Incompetent, Academically Anxious Child 101.”
Do some children need the help? (Also phrased as: Do some children need more help than others?) Yes, but the above FACTS pertain to all children. All children, therefore, need parents who will set limits on the nature of any help they give and the amount of time they will spend per day or week giving it.
Just remember: YOU need to call it quits. Your child will not.
Family psychologist John Rosemond: johnrosemond.com, parentguru.com.
*About the Author: Rosemond has written nine best-selling parenting books and is one of America's busiest and most popular speakers, known for his sound advice, humor and easy, relaxed, engaging style. In the past few years, John has appeared on numerous national television programs including 20/20, Good Morning America, The View, Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, Public Eye, The Today Show, CNN, and CBS Later Today.