School Difficulties: How to Help Your Child Develop the Skills to Feel More Confident

1. Have a Candid Talk with Them

First, sit down with your child and have an honest and supportive discussion about the problem. Most likely, they too know that there is something wrong. However, they probably don’t understand what the problem is.

When you talk with your child, avoid being judgmental or blaming them for their lack of confidence. Instead, work together to understand the barriers or roadblocks that your child is facing in school.

Of course, when it comes to teens, they don’t always want to talk about what’s bothering them. Continue to be supportive but also willing to have that dialogue.

2. Use Positive Affirmations

Next, you can use positive affirmations whenever you can. Examples of positive affirmations include:

  • Telling your child, “Nice job!”

  • Giving a high-five or fist-bump

  • Posting quality work on the refrigerator (face it, even though they are a teen, you still do it!).

It’s nice getting recognition for what you are doing well, no matter what the age. However, also be encouraging when you see them putting in the work and effort, even if they are still struggling.

Sometimes, it’s also nice to be recognized when you are working hard at something, regardless of what it is in life. Overall, this helps your child develop the mindset that they are capable of doing good work

3. Teach Your Teen the Art of Organization

Planning and scheduling are fundamental skills that everyone needs to master. If they haven’t gotten to the point yet where they are already using a calendar, now’s the time to learn.

It’s especially helpful to get them a paper planner that shows the month overall as well as breaks down the month into weeks and days. They can use the planner to create to-do lists, plot when assignments are due and plan for activities.

Of course, in the digital age, there are also online tools available for this as well. Your child may even be aware of them but not fully utilizing them.

Ask them to show you how these tools work. Together, you can both learn from each other how these programs work and how to best utilize them.

4. Help Them Face Adversity with Grace

Another essential skill for school—and life in general—is how to face adversity.

For example, let’s say that your child has been assigned a very challenging project for class. They’ve struggled in this particular class before, and they know that they have to do well with the project to pass. Naturally, they may be nervous and anxious because they want to do well.

You can be supportive in the following ways:

  • Encourage them that they can do this

  • Break down the project into smaller chunks

  • Break down the steps they need to do for each part of the project with them

  • Offer accountability as they give themselves a due date, helping them to stick with it

Also, when they struggle and get frustrated, be willing to listen to them. You don’t have to rescue them from their emotions. Avoid telling them everything is going to be okay or not to worry about it. Instead, allow them to experience their feelings and be present for them.

5. Support Improved Communication Skills

Finally, you can help your child feel more confident in school by coaching how they communicate with others.

Let’s use the project example from above—encourage your child to talk to the teacher. Can the teacher provide any additional help or guidance?

Consider how your teen can advocate for themselves to the teacher. Also, teach them what to do with their anger when the teacher isn’t cooperative. These are skills that will help your teen not just in school, but in life!

When your child struggles at school, consider using the above ideas to develop their confidence and academic skills.

If you’re searching for ways to help your child feel more confident, please contact my office today.