How many choices and decisions does your child
make in a day? When you stop to think about it, there are a lot. He decides
whether to brush his teeth and what clothes to wear to school. His choices
include when to talk or stay quiet. He decides who he will hang around with or
avoid. Does what his teacher is saying make any difference to him? Almost
everything in his day requires decisions and choices.
Most signs of school and learning problems have
bad choices and decisions as an ingredient.
Give this some thought. Has he had a chance to
learn what he needs to know? This does not have much to do with whether he can
learn. Homework is a good example.
Greg is twelve and in the sixth grade. He is not
doing his homework. Is he lazy? Is he being difficult? Is he not doing it
because he does not know how? Is it because he does not have a good place to do
it? These are important questions but are not the place to start.
Has Greg had a chance to learn to do his
homework? Has he decided it is important? Can he choose a good place and time
to do it? Has he learned how to start? Doing homework requires many choices and
decisions. It is not common sense or something your child just knows. It is a
mix of skills he has to learn before he has them.
Think about problems your child is having. Is
she having trouble with homework? Does she have problems with other children?
Is it a hassle to get her to brush her teeth? Does she have problems listening
and paying attention?
What choices and decisions does she have to
make? If she made better choices and decisions, would the problem go away? If
so, this sign needs your attention.
First help your child learn what to do and how
to do it. It is not fair to insist he do it until he knows how. Children do
what they know how to do. If there is a problem, they likely do not know how.
This is equally true for making good choices and
decisions. If your child makes bad choices, he likely does not know how to make
good ones. Start by teaching him how to decide. Help him understand why it is