What Were Your Dreams For Your Child?
Then as each milestone was hit, crawling, walking, talking, the sense of overwhelming pride grew. You may have started thinking about tyour child’s future. All the wonderful things your baby would do. Would your child grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer, the scientist that cures cancer?
The possibilities were endless. Blissful days!
But Then The Signs
Parents often start to wonder if something is different with just the smallest signs. Maybe your child had a difficulty learning to tie their shoes? Maybe it was mispronounced words or a smaller vocabulary? Maybe it was calling things by the wrong name? Or just a difficulty following directions?
When these signs set in, a mother tends to get stressed. Worrying about your child’s school performance. Worrying about your child’s future. Will your dreams be crushed?
As the problem grows and looks more and more like a full fledged learning difficulty such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, or ADHD that stress grows. Studies actually show that the amount of stress a mother experiences is relative to her child’s learning difficulty degree.
Add that stress on top of the normal anxiety about being a good parent and you might feel pretty close to the edge. And in fact, you might be. Studies have found that most mothers of struggling students have already developed anxiety. 95% have anxiety around their child’s school performance. 90% have anxiety about their child’s future. 51% have anxiety around their child’s behaviour.
That’s a lot of anxiety!
Of course all this anxiety isn’t helpful in the mother-child relationship, or for the child’s performance.
More Bad Relationships and Divorce
Likely, the child is suffering as well. Specific learning disabilities in children are also highly correlated with certain emotional issues (Study). This is a bad mix. A stressed mom, an emotional child. That can make for unhealthy interaction. Which is exactly what studies show happens.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, several studies show higher divorce rates among parents of children who struggle. One study showed a nearly double rate of divorce among parents of children with ADHD.
Mothers Carry The Burden
Most studies seem to point to the fact that mothers carry this burden more than fathers. Although some conjecture theorizes that anxiety indicators may be different in men and men may worry more about the financial aspect.
So, what to do?
1) The first thing is to realize that you are a good parent. The fact that you are worried proves this. That anxiety, although not helpful, is a sure sign of how much you care.
2) Realize that a learning difference is just that. A different way of learning. Remember, we have Google, Apple, Microsoft, Virgin Airlines, IKEA, and many more great companies created by “different thinkers”.
3) There are plenty of skill development exercises you can do to take advantage of that way of learning and help your child fit into what is expected of them academically. Neuroscience has come a long way.
4) With the right training, you can learn how to restore confidence in your child. Confidence is the key to surmounting any obstacle. Including this one.
5) Taking a hands on approach, doing specific exercises to help your child, not only gets your child on the path to success, but there are other advantages as well
A) You can see the progress and guide it. Progress comes in tiny steps. Being there to recognize them is the key to keeping those successes going.
B) Being hands on allows you to be the channel through which your child’s success happens. Forming a tighter relationship. Easing anxiety for both you and your child.
C) The best anxiety killer is to “do something”. Waiting on the school or professionals is anxiety producing. Taking matters into your own hands is anxiety reducing.
Simply being in control of developing your child’s learning processes is one of the best things you can do. Only a parent, guided with the right tools, knows best. An engaged parent sees the little things and this is what is important. Knowing exactly what to work on.
Build On Successes. No Matter How Small
It’s this involvement at a granular level that leads to success. Waiting for a teacher conference or a grade on a report card is too far in between progress checks. For the fastest and most effective intervention the smallest improvements must be noticed.
Scientific evidence tells us that it’s not the size of successes that build confidence, it’s the number of successes. So being there and noticing the tiniest successes builds confidence fast. Celebrate each little success and you and your child will be well on your way to restoring confidence.
And finally, learn to put the emphasis on effort rather than outcome. Outcome can be dependent on external forces. Effort is always internal. Teaching your child to always try their best is what is important. If you teach yourself to always formulate your praise in a way that puts focus on effort, then in a short amount of time your child will develop what might be their most important attribute, grit. Grit gets us through the tough times. Surviving those tough times is what teaches us our strengths.
You can do it. Your anxiety proves you are a great parent. With the right tools in your hands your child can surpass the academic skills expected of them. Remember, some of the world’s greatest started off labeled as less than average. Some attribute that rough start (and the right tools) to their success
When you learn more about your strengths and your child learns their strengths you will both be unstoppable. No matter what the obstacle.
Do You Need help with a Learning Difficulty?
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Understanding how to help someone with a learning difficulty starts with understanding which micro-skills are affected. When you learn which of the micro-skills is the problem, you will then be on your way to solving it.
You'll also learn how to:
- Build confidence
- Enhance Learning ability
- Eliminate avoidance
- Build grit
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