Different Rules for Different Kids

Academics

Different kids Your daughter needs constant guidance with her schoolwork, while your son cruises through every subject without your help.

Carolyn Harper, of Atlanta, says the contrast between her two kids, Isabelle, 9, and Ethan, 7, is most obvious when they're doing homework. Isabelle rushes through assignments with scant attention to detail and needs constant reminders to slow down. Ethan, by contrast, is highly organized and a perfectionist. "Isabelle needs more help staying on task," says Harper. "I have to sit by her side the whole time to keep her focused on her work."

As a parent, you don't have to apologize for spending more time with a kid who's struggling than one who's excelling. "Give your attention where it's needed," says Dr. Hart.

Different rules Make it clear to your kids that you'll do whatever it takes for each of them to succeed in school. While helping out with homework (as needed) is part of that, your ultimate goal is to get them to complete the assignment on their own. Let your diligent student know that when he has a school-related problem -- whether it involves math, geography, friendships, or something else entirely -- you'll be there to help him. You can even the attention out a bit by offering to work on a special project together that will wow his teachers and his classmates later.

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