How your child feels when school is hard…

[Read a previous post on: Turning Reluctant Readers into Resilient Readers]

This is me as a kid. And, I have a secret to tell you… I was a bad student.

I was the kind of student who constantly got calls home with well-meaning declarations from teachers: “she has much potential” but “she just needs to apply herself.. and stop talking so much in class.” 

I got such bad grades that my guidance counselor called my parents to say I may not graduate high school, and should consider vocational school. (shout out to vocational schools! It’s not the road I went down, but is an important part of our education landscape…)  

When my parents came home after a long day at work, they would try to help me with homework, make sure I was doing my work. Inevitably, it would end in a yelling match. My dad was frustrated I wasn’t getting the concepts, and I was frustrated that he wasn’t explaining it like my teacher did! 

When my parents asked me to read aloud to them, or try a math problem, I would refuse- I didn’t want them to see me failing. 

I felt really ashamed that school did not come easily to me. Not only did I feel ashamed, but I felt really sad and worried about the fact that everyone thought I should be doing better in school.  I didn’t actually know how to do better in school. I thought I was bad since my teachers thought I was bad. So I figured I must just be bad. 

My parents wanted me to be happy. They just wanted me to see my academic life as something worth pursuing. They wanted me to like school and see learning as an opportunity and not as this constant chore that I had to get over with. 

I see a lot of this in the Resilient Reader Program. In my programs, I work with parents whose kids are struggling with reading. I get these kids, because I was this kid. If any of this describes your child, do reach out to me to discuss how we can improve their positive self-perception to get them learning again. 

These kids go through the same issues of self-perception that I went through too.

The kids I work with often try to hide the problem. They try to pretend like they can read, but if their parent asks them to read a page aloud, they shut down. 

How many of you have a child who just absolutely refuses to read aloud to you, or show you their homework?

I can tell you from experience, it’s not because they’re being obstinate. It’s because they’re worried, they’re scared, they don’t want you to see them struggle. 

“But I create such a safe space for them! I always tell them it’s okay to make mistakes.”

I’m sure that is true. Lucky kids that they have parents who are so caring. The fact that you’re reading this shows that you care about your child.  

Often, this has nothing to do with you. Your kid wants you to be proud of them. They would rather you not see them fail because that’s a sure way to bring up disappointment. 

That’s how it was for me. I used to pretend that I forgot my school books at school because I didn’t want my parents to go through my homework with me. I didn’t want them to see that I was having a hard time. 

What I want to tell you about this is that it can and it does get better. 

Your kids can get better, start to love learning, get comfortable with mistakes. 

In the Resilient Reader program, I give you all of the skills that I wish my parents had for me when I was struggling in school. This starts with clear systems for building your child’s own positive self-perception, which will help them try, even fail, right in front of you!


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