What to Do if Your Child Is Being Held Back a Year

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Votre enfant ne passera pas son année. Conseils pour gérer cette situation.

For a child who believes he or she has done everything possible to succeed, finding out that he or she is being held back is tough to hear. News like this will definitely have an impact on the child, and sometimes it could even crush his or her spirits.

As parents, you might not have been prepared for this news even if you knew your child was struggling.

Stop feeling guilty and don’t panic

First, you need to stop feeling guilty. Your child being held back at school doesn’t mean you have neglected him or her. The truth is some parents are barely involved in their child’s studies, and the child still excels. Meanwhile, other parents do get involved, spending hours every week trying to help their child in various ways, but the results aren’t there in the end. Each case is different.

In any case, you should not panic. It is not helpful to blame your child or deprive him or her of a good part of the summer vacation. You should use this break to take a step back and look at the next year as a “new beginning.”

Too often, children are ashamed to be in this situation while their friends are moving on to “the next step,” and this will have a direct impact on their self-esteem. You need to do everything you can to ensure your child doesn’t put himself or herself down. Your child needs to realize that everyone has different strengths. For example, maybe your son or daughter excels at sports or arts, but unfortunately these things are not considered as important at school as French and math.

The school system in Quebec seems to value people who have an easy time at school. Still, students need to understand that not everyone has the same learning abilities and that difficulties at school or learning disabilities don’t make them any less intelligent. The ability to learn also has nothing to do with race, social status or other such factors.

Looking ahead and planning for the next school year

As parents, you might be apprehensive about the new school year and feel a little lost. This is why resolving to be actively involved in your child’s daily school life, school work, and time management can be a solid first step in providing effective guidance and supervision. It is also proven that parents who are more involved in their child’s education increase that child’s chances of success. Even if you are not always able to help with homework, staying close by to provide guidance or suggest resources can make a huge difference. You should also acknowledge his or her efforts and always applaud any progress he or she makes—without overdoing it of course. What is important is to act as a good guide and keep your child from wanting to drop out.

Finally, if feasible, a good solution could be to hire a professional (such as a private tutor or special education teacher) to support your child academically with a structured educational plan based on clear objectives.