Posts

Helping Your Child Master Skills

The key is collaboration. Academic and social skills do not develop in a vacuum. They are the result of interactions between the child and his/her environment. Your child’s capacity to complete tasks independently occurs when skills have been mastered and external supports are no longer required. For example, complex academic assignments may overwhelm your child’s brain. She needs you to look at the task with her and collaboratively develop a plan for how the assignment or project will be executed. This means breaking the task down into steps, then creating timelines for each step to be accomplished. You might also have to work with your child to actually complete the steps. The idea here is not to do the work for your child but to do it with her. This collaboration will enhance his learning, while also helping her develop the organizational and planning skills necessary to eventually mange the work on her own.

Recommended: New Book on Learning Disabilities

“Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities” by Daniel Franklin, Ph.D. My good friend and colleague, Dr. Daniel Franklin has just come out with a new book for parents on how best to help their children with challenges like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, ADHD and processing disorders. Dr. Franklin, who has been in education for over 30 years, is founder of Franklin Educational Services, which provides individualized school support services for students of all ages and needs. Franklin helps parents discover how a secure relationship between them and their child can optimize the child’s learning ability by enhancing motivation, reducing anxiety, and increasing flexibility. The book also contains practical strategies for navigating school and home life. I highly recommend it. For more information go to https://www.franklined.com/

Stress: An Alternative Explanation for Common Learning and Behavioral Challenges

Breakout Session with Dr. Peter Murphy and Dr. Daniel Franklin at the Language and Learning Conference, May 2, 2015 – UCLA Carnesale Commons

Drawing on the latest findings from the fields of social neuroscience, psychology, and education, this presentation will explore the biological mechanisms of stress and identify how stress impacts learning and behavior. In addition, the connection between healthy attachment and stress will be discussed. This presentation will offer specific strategies that parents, teachers, and clinicians can use to mitigate stress-related learning and behavioral challenges.

Conference registration online at www.DyslexiaLA.org/events

 

Parenting with Love and Imperfection

The patterns of relating that children demonstrate with important adults in their lives, as well as their peers, are dependent on early relational experiences with parents or caretakers. If a child has had his or her needs met most of the time, they come to trust that others will also respond to them consistently.

As a parent, you do not have to be perfectly responsive for your child to develop a sense of trust in the world. In fact, it may come as a relief that if you were perfectly responsive to her needs, you would actually hinder her emotional growth!

Misunderstandings, disappointments and other types of ruptures are inevitable in all relationships. When misunderstandings do occur with your child, they become an opportunity for you to help your child process and resolve the experience. These ruptures and repairs actually facilitate emotional growth. Saying “I’m sorry” to your child now and then goes a long way.

Healthy Dependence vs. Enabling

“When am I helping my child too much and when should I step back?
“Am I enabling my  child by providing help with homework or other responsibilities?”

Parents, as well as teachers, often struggle with this conflict.  Understanding that children will do well if they can and that all children possess the natural human drive for mastery will help to resolve this conflict.  My advice to parents?  If your child is struggling, chances are demands are exceeding the capacities he possesses right now.  Work with him to complete certain tasks, rather than doing the work for him.  We all learn new tasks by watching others or by collaborating with someone who has more skill.  Why should this process be any different for learning new academic concepts or completing tough assignments?

The truth is, when you don’t provide support for tasks that are over your child’s head, you run the risk of disabling him.  If you insist your child complete his work independently when he is not ready developmentally, how is he going to make sense of this struggle? Most children will assume that if they are experiencing difficulty, somthing must be wrong with them.  This is not the belief parents want their children to internalize about themselves.  This belief not only undermines a child’s confidence in his ability to learn, but it also contributes to feelings of frustration, anxiety and discouragement, which further interfere with learning.

Healthy dependence promotes independence in children.  If we teach our children how to approach difficult tasks and guide them through the learning process, ultimately they will acquire the necessary skills and be able to do their work on their own.

Have you found ways to decide when to let your child learn on  their own and when to help them?