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Aug 14

Back-To-School: Honoring Our Differences

“Education is the gift that keeps on giving.

Support your children, support their teachers, support their schools.”

It is back-to-school time once again and I find myself missing the days of shopping with my now grown daughter for new clothes, school supplies and backpacks, and helping her get prepared for her next year of school. I am also reminded that this can be a stressful time for parents and their children. Effectively managing time becomes important as starting school often means the return of juggling schedules, before and after school activities, and of course, homework!

Study habits are not one-size-fits-all and it is important to recognize that your child’s study style may be different from your own. I learned this the hard way while raising my own daughter. When I was in school, for me to get the most out of my study time, I needed to be in a quiet environment, which meant no television, no radio, and no noise. My daughter, on the other hand, liked to do her homework in the living room with the TV on in the background. As a parent, I just knew that for her to study effectively, she needed quiet time, without TV noise. She resisted, I persisted. Perhaps, if I pushed it hard enough she would come to understand that I was right!

One day, I brought up this parenting dilemma to a friend of mine. She listened attentively as I explained the situation and then she calmly asked, “Well, is she struggling in school? Are her grades suffering?” to which I uttered, “Uh, well no.” She continued, “From what I hear you say, she is an active, self-reliant, honors student. So, what’s the problem?” I wanted to respond with something that would validate my stand on this issue but instead could only muster a “Yes, but, but…..” You see until then, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I simply had not realized that we just had different study styles. Neither style was better or worse than the other; they were just different.

If you have the same study style as your child(ren), that is wonderful! But if you find that they are different, may I suggest that you save some frustration by recognizing and then accepting your differences. Life will be a lot less stressful for you and for your child if you can let go of the need to “fix” things that are not broken.