29 May

If children don’t perform to expectations parents, teachers, and peers have of them on exams, they may feel like failures. It is important for parents to help their children avoid feeling this way about themselves. Their worth does not depend on how well they do on exams.

One way to help your children grow in self-confidence is to help them set realistic expectations. If they want to be scientists when they grow up, help them set achievable goals along the way that lead to that end goal. For example, provide them with multiple opportunities to practice and learn about science as they get older so that the information they need to do well on exams comes from a variety of sources and is easier to remember than just what is in a textbook.

Furthermore, promote your children’s independence in their education. Don’t do their homework for them or walk them through every step of every problem they have to do. Help them develop time management and study skills not by planning every moment of their study time for them. Instead, encourage them to learn from their mistakes. If they spend too much time studying for one exam and not any on another, their grades may suffer temporarily, but they will see that it is important to divide their time equally between subjects.

Also consider your children’s lives outside the classroom. Their extracurricular activities and interests are important parts of who they are. The world does not revolve around how well they do on their exams or even what school they get into. Their character and talents need nurturing more than their grades in school. If your child thinks that you believe his worth as a person depends on how well he does in school, you’re setting him or her up to fail. That lack of confidence can carry over to other areas of their lives as well, resulting in more failure.

Your kids need you to support them by encouraging them to succeed in school but not by intimating that you don’t think they will succeed in life if they fail an exam. Your love and support are vital to their lifelong success.