How to Help Struggling Students: Parenting Advice for Awesome Moms

If you have high schoolers or middle schoolers, this would be a good time to take a look at the first two marking periods, evaluate and assess their progress, and make some Fresh Start Resolutions.

HOWEVER, this is not the time or place to be judgmental (“You did good.” “You did bad.”). This is the time to build a team with your kids, where you are both on their side, a team that examines the learning process, and faces the academic challenge together. It’s time to make S.M.A.R.T. Goals for a fresh start.

An Awesome Mom’s Question

Dear Deborah,

I was talking to my sophomore about doing better in math for the second half of the school year, but our conversation made me realized that all the struggling she did before the winter break is making her feel defeated and want to give up. I’m not strong in math, so how can I help her?

It’s Not Too Late to Turn the School Year Around

First and foremost, it is NOT too late to turn the school year around. You know that saying I always use, “If you want tomorrow to be different, you have to do something different today,” well, it’s true. Start with a conversation, and then create a plan.

Here’s the conversation…

  • Share my saying with your kids. Tell them the “something different” is going to be a new plan that you’ll create together.
  • Begin by having your kids envision June and how they want to feel going into final exams/report cards. 
  • Set up an appointment with the teacher for both of you. Then, send the teacher an email asking (a) which topic is giving your kids difficulty, and (b) what are the preceding building blocks that need to be mastered to understand (a).
  • Tell your kids that you have their back. You will either figure it out together, or you will find someone who can help.

You don’t have to wait for the teacher’s response. Once you’ve established that you and your student are both on the same side, working toward the same goals, you can go get some helpful tools.

How To Help Struggling Students

Here’s the plan…

  • Sit NEXT to your child with the textbook (not across from them). Find the current chapter. Then slowly flip back through the book, asking how well each section was understood.
  • When you find the earliest topic where the confusion began, jump on the computer and search for: Free Online Math Games for Learning [TOPIC]. For example “Free Online Math Games for Learning Quadratic Equations”
  • Now, play a game together. You will BOTH feel more confident about the subject by the end of the day.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, research is your friend!

Once your daughter is feeling a bit more hopeful and resilient, you can create a plan that suits both of your schedules. Identify which Math Steps, or Stepping Stones, your teenager needs to conquer first. Using the online tools, and anything the teacher provides, design when, where and how your teen will work on them, and when , where and how she will share her progress, her triumphs and possibly, her stumbles. You will be there to cheer her on, and give her a boost when she needs it.

Goals for Teenagers

Setting goals is a great way to reinforce that you are both in this together.

Here’s the idea…

  • Make one or two specific goals whose outcome can be measured. These goals must be realistic for the what’s-left-in-the-school-year time frame. 
  • Cook up an appropriate reward for achieving the goals.  
  • Schedule weekly check-ins to make sure they’re on track. This will create short-term accountability, with all the long-term benefits.

Goals for Moms

Now, it’s YOUR turn.

Pick a goal for yourself, in any area you want, that you would like to achieve by June. Share your goal with your teenage daughter so she’ll understand that she’s working on developing a positive goal-setting habit, one that you value for yourself. Plus, sharing it with her will make you accountable, too.

Come up with an appropriate reward for your achievement. Then create another reward the two of you can share when you both reach your goals.

Working in tandem will be beneficial for you both. Going through this experience simultaneously puts you and your offspring on the same side as you attempt to create positive changes in your lives. Yes, working on your goals will be a time-consuming process, but it will be well worth it in the end. After all, we’re really looking at a lifestyle change here, aren’t we? Yay, Teamwork!

What S.M.A.R.T. Goal do you want to achieve for June?

You got this, Mum!

Have fun with your kids today!



PS You can also find a lot more parenting strategies in my book How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door, plus tons of novel activity ideas you can try with your kids. Have fun parenting!

Have questions? Contact Deborah today.

About the Author

Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who can help you sort things out.

Book your free chat with Deborah today, and sort things out together.

Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to up the strategies in your Parenting Toolkit, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into your parenting.

Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families, using her expertise.

Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route? 

Book your free chat with Deborah today. You’ll be glad you did.

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