Parent's Attitude can affect Child's Math Anxiety

Apr 23, 2019 | South Pasadena

Does your child feel anxious everytime they see a math problem?  Without the confidence that comes with repeated success in the subject, many kids feel this anxiety.  So, is there anything you as a parent can do to help? Or, are there things that we as parents need to STOP doing?

To help our children overcome math anxiety, we must first address any negative feelings that we, as parents, have on the subject. If you have said things in the past like, “I’m not good at math,” or “I don’t like math,” remember that your child is learning this attitude from you. Communicating your discomfort with math may not only increase your child’s anxiety, it could also lower their success and confidence. This doesn’t mean you need to suddenly change how you feel. According to Sian Beilock, a cognitive scientist and president of Barnard College, parents don’t have to overcome their own math anxiety in order to help their child succeed, as long as they change their attitude about it.

Here are some quick tips in case you find your own negativity about math rising up:

  • Instead of saying you’re “not a math person,” engage in math activities with your child that you both can enjoy.
  • Instead of becoming frustrated when your child’s math book confuses you, go easy on yourself. 
  • Instead of focusing exclusively on today’s homework, recognize that math anxiety often stems from weak foundational skills. 
  • Instead of questioning the teacher’s methodology or motives in front of your child, urge your child to develop a positive relationship with their math teacher. 
  • Instead of emphasizing speed or memorization to your child, foster a “growth mindset.”

To check out the entire article on our Numbe Sense blog, click here.