It’s all too easy as a parent to get caught up in a cycle of constant nagging and criticism as you try to get your offspring to achieve their educational potential. I once tore a strip off my son, aged about 9, for having failed to turn over a school exam paper thus coming bottom in his French exam. A fellow teacher pointed out that the page he had completed was faultless and that was what I should have focussed on. The disappointment he felt was probably enough to prevent him ever repeating that mistake again! So I do speak from experience!
As a teacher and tutor it’s important to praise as well as criticise – it’s finding the balance that’s the tricky thing! Some pupils can take harsh criticism; others need confidence building and lashes of encouragement. With certain pupils in the past I have torn up work in front of them when I felt that they were not putting in the effort and were seriously underachieving – and it worked. However, there are many students where that approach would be totally counter-productive.
All we can ask of our youngsters is that they try their best and reach their potential. Then we must celebrate that success – even if their achievements don’t match our hopes and dreams.