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Know the Difference Between Excuses and Empathy in Math Class

Sep 5, 2017

Struggling Kids feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed

Do you know a child who struggles in math, or another subject?  Sometimes kids who are struggling get so overwhelmed they stop giving that subject their best effort. As a parent or teacher you want to see them succeed. It's normal to feel empathetic to their struggle but get frustrated with their attitude and level of effort.

Empathy versus Excuse
Empathy means “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  As adults we can empathize with the many feelings children experience that go along with math struggles. These feelings may include frustration, anger, overwhelmed, self-doubt, and self-pity. Good ways to show empathy to the struggling child include: listening, asking follow-up questions, brainstorming solutions, spending quality time with them, and hugging them. 

Excuse means “The release of someone of responsibility.” Don’t excuse the children from doing their math homework or getting good math grades at school. Never say, “Oh, that’s okay. Some people just aren’t too good at math” or “I was never any good at math either.” Those statements make the lack of skills seem permanent and unchangeable. 

A child who gets excused from working hard in math will end up in a downward spiral.  A lack of effort leads falling further behind. Falling further behind will further erode the child’s self-confidence. 

Try saying, “I hear how frustrated you are. It must be so difficult to sit in math class and not understand what the teacher is saying. Let’s work together to solve this problem.” A child who gets both empathy and a push to work through the struggles will learn perseverance and get stronger math skills. When they eventually learn the material, they can look back on the experience to give them the confidence that they can conquer other challenges in math, and in life. 

Working hard should be coupled with a strategy for success. Our no-risk assessment will let you know exactly which areas your child needs extra help.

Give us a call today at (316) 773-1234 to see if Mathnasium of West Wichita can help your child set a plan in motion that gets them a strategy for working hard and having a successful attitude.

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