Bad Advice

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Want My Advice?…Don’t Take Advice.

Parents often tell me about advice they’ve been given by friends, family members and other parents whose children are going through the “same” thing. What worked for them, what didn’t. Don’t let him eat sugar. Make him do his homework at a desk. Have her listen to music while she studies. Don’t let her listen to music while she studies.

But here’s the thing: there’s really no such thing as the “same” when it comes to children. Children each have their own unique learning profile, family dynamics, aptitudes, interests and schedules. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges students face in school. Or in life. Even if their issues appear to be similar on the surface, they rarely are when taking a deeper look.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t keep an open mind and try new strategies. But listening to suggestions and being open to new ideas is not the same as following the proscribed advice of someone else based on their success with their child, or lack thereof.

There is no shortcut to understanding your child. It requires observation, communication, and involvement. What another parent may share about the inner workings of their own child has no bearing on your child. It takes time and attention to get it right.

Some students learn well by reading and taking notes, others by experience. Some kids need a nightly check in with a parent or academic coach in order to stay on top of their work; others thrive when given space and control. Some kids do well on ADHD medications (which can be its own maze of prescriptions and combinations of medications unique to each child), others don’t like the way meds make them feel. Some kids take parental advice, others need to learn the hard way. Some kids find listening to music helps them stay calm and focus. For others, music is a distraction that impedes their ability to learn effectively.

So, here my non-advice. There is a world of expertise available, depending on your child’s specific needs. There are professionals who can tutor your child in academic subjects, or organizational skills and time management, or coaches who will work with your child on a long term project, teaching them how to create a schedule and stick to it. You may want to have your child evaluated for learning issues or other potential challenges, in which case it would be important to identify the right person to assess your child. If your child does have a learning issue, getting the appropriate support can make all the difference. Accurately understanding your child’s needs is half the battle–the other half is creating and implementing a plan to help them succeed.

By identifying the obstacles that your child is facing, and providing the tools to overcome them, you are empowering your child to understand his unique needs and path to success. Of course, knowing where to start isn’t always easy. I invite you to contact me so we can start your child on the path of self-awareness and success.