It is frustrating to parents when a child has academic problems, particularly when the parent knows the child can do better in school. Handling academic problems requires a delicate balance between allowing kids to be responsible for the consequences of their behavior and providing the guidance and support they require. The best way parents can establish effective rules concerning academic performance is through discussion with the child about what is happening in their lives, how able they feel to take responsibility for themselves and what the parents need to require for their peace of mind.
If there are repeated indications that your child is not completing assignments, not following school rules or is not being respectful to teachers and other students, it may require intervention. If you and school personnel suspect that learning disabilities, emotional problems or substance abuse is causing problems, have your child evaluated by a qualified mental health professional and follow their treatment recommendations. Continue communicating with teachers and monitoring your child’s homework assignments and test scores.
Do not underestimate the effects that poor diet and insufficient sleep have on academic performance. A child’s developing brain and central nervous system requires vitamins and minerals that are not met by the standard American diet. It is estimated that less than 1% of American children receive the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals. Supplementing with a good quality multivitamin/mineral is a must.
Many children rush off to school without breakfast or they have sugary cereals washed down with juice that contains excessive amount of sugar. This kind of breakfast causes blood sugar to spike followed by a crash 2-3 hours later. When blood sugar plummets, you may see either hyperactivity and irritability or brain fog where the child appears drowsy and not very alert. Children need protein (eggs, soy, dairy, meat, peanut butter, etc.) to stabilize their blood sugar. Please do not use the excuse that you don’t have time to cook. It takes about 2 minutes to scramble eggs or to prepare a ham and egg sandwich on whole grain bread, of course. One of the most important health decisions that parents are required to make is what their child eats. This is far too critical an issue to leave it in the sticky hands of a small child.
A child who is not succeeding in school is an unhappy child. They feel judged and see themselves as incompetent. The farther behind they get, the more complicated the situation is to resolve successfully. Early intervention with a Manassas Group therapist can make the difference between failure and continued behavior problems or a successful future for your child.