Question Detail

My son who is 17 has a low self esteem because he can not do math. What can I do as a parent to help him.

Mar 4, 2016 4:46am

Diagnosed at 15 with ADHD and finally son is on medication.

  • Math
  • 11
  • Coaching
  • Student Collaboration


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    • Mar 7, 2016 7:52pm

      Work with him on problems (or have a tutor or friend do this) and see if you can find new/different ways to explain how something works or new/different strategies for solving a problem. Make sure to follow his lead and point out any and every moment where he is on the right track, figuring out some part of the problem, or coming up with ideas of how to solve it. It's all about positive reinforcement and words of encouragement so that he can gain some confidence. Good luck!

      • Jun 19, 2016 1:24am

        Maths is probably the one subject kids feel that they are bad at. The final answer at the end of a maths question is either right or wrong. And kids only focus on the end answer. Unlike spelling, where the beginning blend can be correct, the word ending is right, it's just the letters in the middle that are around the wrong way.
        Look over your sons working out and point out where he was right, and where that one little mistake was made. Follow his working out as though his mistake was right, and show him how he knows the process, and the process was correct at the end, it was just that one little calculation up here that put him wrong. Celebrate the successes he showed throughout the whole problem solving process.
        Research famous and rich people who's schools said they weren't flash at maths, who's laughing now? Einstein's teacher thought him as being an idiot who wouldn't amount to anything..... what do we as teachers know ha ha ha ha
        Only spend a small amount of time on it at night, you don't want your son to be 'turned off' from maths and it become a chore. If he's not engaged on a particular night, don't force it, just secretly go a little longer when he is on track and getting that success.
        Check with your son's school about what he is currently doing in class and see if you can get some work to help reinforce it at home.
        In New Zealand I use an online Maths website in my class called 'Maths Buddy'. It's designed for the New Zealand Maths Curriculum and breaks down every maths strand from Year 1 (5 yrs old) to Year 13 (18 yrs old). Each area has a video showing how to do it, questions to be answered online and offers printable certificates as motivation. My 11yr old class love it. Have a look, maybe there is something similar in America
        Good luck Dana