If you are the parent of a child that struggles in school, a new year could be the fresh start you both need. A new year allows for you to take a renewed approach in helping your child succeed in the classroom; with difficulties stemming from ADD/ADHD and other mental disorders, or general disinterest, it may seem impossible to get through to your child. By utilizing this advice from our psychologist Dr. Rene Nota, you will have useful tools to assist your child in finding new, lasting success with learning.

Structure, consistency, and nurturing are crucial, parent-driven behaviors that help children succeed in managing the challenges of academics and behavior, as well as peer relationships.  All children (and adults) benefit from consistency in their lives.  The more a child predicts, the less frustrated they will be. 

It takes a great deal of problem-solving for children to assess a new situation and then react appropriately.  Appropriate problem-solving is the main challenge for children with ADHD, and/or other behavioral challenges, as these children struggle with planning, sequencing, and impulse-control. 

The more that parents can help their children predict their day (structure and consistency with rules and routines in the home), the fewer children have to manage.  They can use the skills (successes) learned at home to manage the challenges outside of the home. 

A child’s patience, self-esteem, and assertiveness skills increase when nurturing, supportive parents help and support their child to learn and manage their own emotions.  When children can be certain of their routine at home (what to expect, schedules, consequences), they have less to worry about.  Children watch their parents manage their emotions, routines, and relationships every day. 

A parent is a primary model for a child.  However, if a child (or parent) faces significant emotional, behavioral, and/or medical challenges, it complicates things.  Fear, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, and anger cause issues for parenting and stress the parent-child relationship. 

It is important for the parent(s) and child to seek and get support from a mental health professional to educate and model the structure, consistency and nurturing.

Therapy helps parents understand their child’s unique needs, behaviors, and personality, as well as their own parenting style, which benefits relationships within the family, as well as success at school.

Content contribution by psychologist Rene Nota, Ph.D., LP.