Helping Children Succeed In School | Teaching Self-Government

Helping Children Succeed In School

"I have a 9yo daughter. Although she is considered as the best in her class and even in her grade, me and my wife are sometimes still frustrated as we have been trying hard to seek for a way to teach her to be more confident in her life and more concentrated in her lessons at her school (she has a great relation with her classmates and she helps her teachers as a volunteer in many different ways at school, but her problem right now is she does not concentrate herself in her lessons as much as her teachers expect. Although me and my wife have had several serious talks with her on how she should be concentrated, it does not seem help much)." --From 帆 张 Philip Zhang in Beijing, China

...Of course without meeting your daughter, I can't always know exactly what the problem is.  Based on what you shared, I will tell you what I know from experience. 

 
It sounds like your daughter is not connecting to you very much right now. I am assuming this because she is not respecting your counsel to study more.  It could be a sign that your relationship is not as good as it once was.  Maybe school isn't meeting all her needs emotionally.  School is important, but your relationship with your daughter has to be more important because that relationship will be the thing which encourages her to be obedient and loving at home and school. 
 
How much time do you spend with your daughter each day? 
 
She could need more attention from you?  It is always possible that your daughter is seeking negative attention from you by not doing her best in school in order to tell you she wants to spend more time with you and your wife.  (Of course I can't know if any of this is true, I am just thinking out loud here.)
 
Do you have regular conversations with her about things which interest her? 
 
I ask this question because I am wondering if maybe she is losing interest in school and choosing to have more interest in peers or something else.  If she chooses peers over her family then she will probably become more and more disobedient.  Even though friends are important, they shouldn't take the place of good family relationships.  If the friends become more important, then the child becomes more and more distant from parents, and soon you don't have a happy family life.  She if you can find out what she is interested in. 
 
Good family fun time is really important for the family to feel close to each other.  I would suggest having at least one family fun thing you do together each week.
 
So, number one is try to connect with her about things which are interesting to her.
 
Second, regularly have fun family activities.  Once a week is good. 
 
Third, talk more.  If talk doesn't come easy, then you know you need to do it more.  At age nine she should still really love to tell you all about her day.  Really listen and ask questions to show you care. 
 
Fourth, praise shows love and appreciation.  Since she is such a smart girl, you may have forgotten to praise her when she does well in her studies and household chores.  If you praise her good behaviors more then she should seek to do more good.  I know it can sometimes feel strange to tell someone you think they did a good job making their bed, but you would be surprised at how much praise helps parents connect with children.  Okay, praise is good for all relationships, not just parent/child relationships.  
 
Last, study with her.  So, often we tell ourselves that our child has to do the studies all alone to get the most out of them, but as a school teacher, I can tell you that is not true.  I do many studies with my own children and the time we spend together is worth much more to them academically than the time they spend alone studying.  (especially when they are under age 12)  The other thing that happens when a parent sits down to study with a child is the parent has a new way to connect with the child.  The time becomes magical and fun.  It also helps the child stay motivated to keep learning because she sees her parents still like learning. 
 
When  you study with someone you also learn a lot about that person which you didn't know.  It could be possible that your daughter is changing and you aren't keeping up with the changes.  This study time could help you grow with her.  It could be a beautiful thing.  I know I love study time with my children.  It is actually my very favorite thing to do in the day.  
 
I do want to mention here that a parent doesn't have to do all studies with children.  Children should learn how to do their own studies too, but always look for opportunities to get involved with school work so that you can have a learning and connecting moment together too.  Discussion, art, and crafts are some of my favorite things to do with my children.  I also really love reading to them each day.  While reading we also discuss how the story applies to us.  As my children grow we discuss philosophy, math and science a lot too.  Finding truth is very rewarding and fun.  Your daughter really will learn even more when you are part of the learning process.  
 
I hope these tips help.  If I met your daughter and saw her with you I would probably be able to give you more helpful ideas.  She probably needs to learn the steps to following instructions too.  I will teach you those steps and how to teach them to her. 
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