Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Keep expectations high.

What you can do

Keep expectations for your child high but attainable. Kids want to believe you think they can succeed and achieve. Define success as taking risks, trying hard, and developing knowledge and skills that your child didn’t have before. Also be sure to encourage your child to take responsibility for her success.

What you can say

“Sofia, the effort you’re showing on this very difficult project is outstanding. You’ve tried several different approaches, and you’ve learned something new each time. You are stretching yourself, and you’re sticking to it. Bravo!”

Why this will help

Sometimes parents and teachers lower expectations for a child with learning and attention issues. They may not even realize they’re doing this. But lowering expectations can reinforce a child’s low sense of self-worth. That’s why it’s a good idea to define success as something you can cultivate through effort.

Educators have a term they use for believing that even the most basic abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. They call this a “growth mindset.” This kind of mindset is especially important for kids with learning and attention issues. Knowing that the brain is like a muscle—that it can be trained to work better and faster—can help kids stay motivated to keep trying hard and looking for new strategies.

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