What Can I Do If My Student Is Still Struggling?

By: Debra Eckerman Pitton, Ph.D. and Kelly Quinn

[Part of the "Q & A for Parents of Middle School Students" series]

School does not come easily to all people. The most important thing to remember is to encourage your student to do their best. Struggling students often deal with low self-esteem which impacts their self concept. To balance this, find something the student enjoys or does well. School may not come naturally, but maybe baseball or music does. Emphasize their abilities rather than their inabilities. Also, find resources available to help your student. Schools and communities have abundant services for students. Each school district is different, but here are some ideas of possible resources to check out:

You are the best advocate for your child, but if you need additional support, the school can provide you with a starting place for any academic issue. In addition, middle school counselors and social workers can be a great resource for you as well as provide another voice to share in the conversations with your child. Parents of middle school students need to know that they are not alone, there are other caring professionals who can support your child if they are struggling. If you have questions, or an issue that requires attention, call the school and ask who would be the best person is to talk to about finding resources for this specific issue. The schoolís dean, principal, or a counselor would most likely be able to point you in the right direction.

Investigating these resources and options may enable parents and young people to successfully navigate this period in their lives so the middle school years can be a time when the home and the school help the child move forward successfully.


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Debra Eckerman Pitton, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Middle Level Education at Gustaus Adolphus College in St. Peter , MN and consults with school districts across the country on issues of mentoring and middle school education. dpitton@gac.edu

Kelly Quinn is a senior education major at Gustaus Adolphus College and will be graduating in May, 2005 with an elementary and middle school teaching license. kquinn@gac.edu

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