Don’t Say This

Do you ever say to your child, “I wasn’t good at math, either,” followed by “I’m more of a English (or other topic) person.”

Pardon the caps while I write,  “STOP SAYING THAT!”PortraitCamilleRoulin Vincent_van_Gogh

I know you’re probably trying to show sympathy as your child puzzles through math homework. Or trying to be honest. Or sharing that they’re not alone. Or trying to show that you, an important adult in their life, confronted challenges just as they are doing.

Today, we know more about math learning and the kind of encouragement that helps children:

  • “I know you’re doing your best.”
  • “Did you call one of your friends (or five or six of them) for help?
  • “I’ll listen while you read the directions aloud.”
  • “What does Mrs.—want you to do when you’re stuck?”

Also, if you are able to take apart a problem and help your child understand it, by all means do so. That can be a great strategy if you are able to teach them, not tell them.

Finally, tell your child to ask the teacher what to do the next time they need help with math homework. We parents want our children to feel confident about asking for help whenever they need it.



4 thoughts on “Don’t Say This

  1. My mother had always told me that Mathematics is like a game (or puzzle).
    That was way back in primary school, but the same idea holds all the way up to University!


  2. Wow thanks for this great advice. I really struggled with math while I was in school and it made me feel so inadequate. I probably would’ve said the same to my child just to make him feel better about the fact that he’s struggling, but clearly that will be doing more harm than good. Will try to remember this when we start dealing with homework.


    1. Thanks for your visit and comment. Another thing to remember is that it’s okay to ask the teacher for extra help at any time–in class, after school, or to modify particular assignments that you think create too much stress at home. This is the best part of a teacher’s job: to help a student strengthen their understanding, step by step, at a student’s level, until they succeed. Good luck!


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