Your child is frustrated with school. How can you help? You might initially feel tempted to "rescue" your child from the situation. Too often, parents jump in with an email or note to request that the child be excused from the assignment or placed in a different group. Unfortunately those solutions are temporary fixes to a lingering problem.
Frustration with school is often caused by challenge. Your child might be facing work that is more difficult than her typical assignments. The student may have a comprehension question but isn't sure how to articulate the need for help. When you immediately solve the problem for your child, it fosters a never-ending cycle of helplessness for him. Ask the right questions to help your son or daughter face the real issue.
For example, if the problem is a group assignment, you might ask, "Who is your partner for this project? How are you two getting along?" If the problem comes hand-in-hand with a research assignment, you can offer to show your daughter how to gather information from appropriate child-friendly sources. By offering help rather than a solution, you can successfully give your child the empowerment to overcome the problem rather than to erase it.
A child who is frustrated with school may also be struggling with gaps in his learning. Could the true source of the issue be the multiplication facts? Helping your child to learn important skills such as math facts and word decoding can go a long way in helping her gain confidence. Request a parent conference and consult with the teacher about mastery levels in your child's education.
Ask how you can help at home. Offer to shoulder the responsibility of helping the child bridge those learning gaps. Your child's teacher can suggest ways to make the extra practice more fun. By creating a partnership with the teacher, you instantly develop a support system for your son or daughter. Your child's teacher is also more likely to keep you informed of progress and areas to strengthen during the school year.
Finally, a simple way to help your child have a more positive attitude toward school is to express a positive attitude yourself. If your son overhears you complaining about the amount of homework sent home, he's more likely to complain about it, too. When your daughter sees you become angry about the latest news the teacher emailed about, she's more likely to be disrespectful herself. Like it or not, you are the mirror that your children look to for guidance.
By all means, express your concerns with your child's teacher, but do so in a respectful and mature manner. Try to keep your conversations with your child's teacher private unless it's a positive environment that your child feels comfortable in. Remember that the teacher spends a great deal of time and effort working with your child. Appreciate that fact and trust that the teacher has your child's best interest at heart. By working together, you can help your child have a successful school year as well as teaching your child to welcome challenges.