As a parent it is sometimes difficult to know when your child is struggling and needs extra help They are often embarrassed and feel insecure, and would rather not mention that they are struggling. How are you to decipher that their turbulent teenage tantrums could be stemming from something other than those horrific hormones? Do you come to the full realization only when you are faced with the drop in their report card? Or do you determine now whether your child requires an extra boost to not only lift their marks, but their self esteem too? Carla van Staden tells us how.
Here are top 10 signs to look out for if your child needs extra tuition:
1. Attempting to avoid school
Your child may feign symptoms of illness just to stay out of school, especially on test days. Complaints such as “I don’t feel well enough for school,” or “we don’t do anything in class anyway” may be a cry for help from your child.
2. Attitude & Mood Changes
Keep an eye on changes in your child’s attitude, such as aggression when it is homework time, tantrum throwing in the mornings before school or a sudden shut down in communication about school. Should any child become negative about school, a warning flag should come up. This is very important as your child may be experiencing anxiety or even depression about their school marks and performance.
3. Dishonesty about Homework & Tasks
Your child may insist on a daily basis that they do not have homework, just to avoid their having to face the nightmare ahead of dealing with work that is a struggle for them. It is sometimes hard to do so, but attempt to encourage your child to do their homework at the kitchen counter while you prepare supper, or for them to sit by you while you are working. This may create a more supportive, relaxed atmosphere for your child, rather than feeling alone to work by themselves in their bedroom.
4. Loss of Confidence
If your child is making negative comments about themselves, even in an offhand funny way, they may be experiencing a serious lack in self confidence. These types of jokes may be a cry for help in a disguised manner. Your child’s confidence levels affect every area of their lives and when it decreases, you have to take note and make every attempt to build it up.
5. Homework Time
Time spent on homework may also be a warning sign. If the time taken to complete homework is becoming longer and longer, this may be due to your child struggling to cope with the work and taking longer to finish as they have to battle through it, or it may be due to them wasting time doing other things to avoid actually doing the work and thus pretending to “work” every day. Make sure to have a look at the amount of work being given and how much time it should take.
Children that are usually self sufficient and able to manage their homework and studies, may become increasingly “needy” should their school work become a worry for them. Your carefree, strong and independent child may suddenly start to seek extra attention. This can be done in various ways, such as sudden physical “clinginess” or seeking your approval on everything, even silly things that usually do not merit consideration. Your child may be fraught with anxiety about their school work and not know how to accurately seek help for it, and will thus look for attention and closeness in other ways to feel secure.
7. Signs of Depression
Yes, just like us adults, children get depressed. Typical signs to watch out for would be a sullen, quiet attitude or a lack of appetite either the night before school or in the morning at breakfast as school is approaching. Childhood depression is as serious as adult depression and should not be taken lightly or mistaken for merely passing moodiness. If your child is reserved and seemingly unhappy, it may be due to a myriad of things. However, school is usually at the top of the list.
8. Overachieving in Other Areas
A child experiencing difficulty with their school work, may very well attempt to excel in other areas, whether it be sports or extra mural activities. A child struggling with their studies may spend more time on other activities that reinforce their feelings of adequacy at something. A decrease in time spent on school studies and an increase in time spent elsewhere may be a reason for concern. A tutor for school afternoons may be just what your child needs to achieve success in all areas.
9. Acting Out / Change in Friends
These two causes for concern go hand in hand, as so often children who are battling to cope with their academics will start to act out in numerous ways such as outbursts or tearfulness that was not there before. A child may even change who they spend time with at school or after school. A child doing poorly at school may feel they are the “stupid” one in their friendship circle and thus start to spend time with children who are not achieving too well or not even bothered about it. This creates a sense of security as the child no longer feels pressured to discuss things such as results or projects with their friends. A difference in behaviour is always something to take note of as it usually stems from something deeper. A great deal of parents are silently crying out “Help me help my child,” but do not know where to turn to. The perfect match up between private tutor and child may make the world of difference.
10. Asking for Help
Your child may feel secure enough to ask for your help or to show you tests they are doing poorly in. However, even though we try to encourage, assist and support our children, we may not always know precisely what to do. Rather than buying your child extra workbooks or computer programs to attempt on their own, enlist the help of a private tutor. Quality tutoring enables the tutor to understand all concepts within the subject(s) your child requires help with.
As a parent there are countless responsibilities that go hand in hand with raising children. However, you cannot always do everything at once, no matter how much you want to. Between bathing, feeding, washing, clothing, working, seeing to scrapes and bumps as our children grow, any assistance is always welcome; especially when it may allow your children to excel both academically and emotionally.
Enlisting the help of a private Maths tutor, for instance, may raise both their marks as well as their confidence.
A private high school tutor, for instance, is able to connect with your child through a mutual understanding of what your child is dealing with in school and what difficulties they are experiencing. By having the support of an ally who knows how your child feels, private tuition may afford your child an academic boost as well as lifting their confidence as they will no longer feel they have to cope alone.
Private tutors for children are also a great resource for you as a parent, as he/she will provide feedback regarding your child’s progress and come forward about any areas of concern whether it be how to help your child at school or to simply help your child with homework. Your child’s progress may be monitored and you will be kept informed at all times.
Carla van Staden is an avid blogger, experienced tutor and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder and partner of Gutsy Tutoring.