How Much Help With School Work Should We Give?

Recently I reviewed a story written by a 4th grader about kindness that was to demonstrate how to be kind. While my expectations were high, what I did not expect was to get in return a 5 page single spaced type written story with words that I had to look up in the dictionary. Either this was a prodigy child or there was some extreme help going on by others.


I bring this up as we begin the school year as a reminder that the person in school is our children – not us as parents. Yes we want to see our children succeed and we are there to help them, but we must let them do their own work, be their own creative selves and make their own mistakes. Offering minor assistance – no problem. Offering support if asked – no problem. Doing the work for them though has several consequences.

  1. Makes them think that others will do their work
  2. Puts pressure on them to present a perfect front to the outside world.
  3. Weakens their ability to learn from mistakes or failures

There is enough pressure on our children to be #1 in all aspects of their life. What they really need to learn though is the value of learning from mistakes and to have the resilience of dealing with a failure. Giving them ourselves as role models of learning or accomplishing a task on our own, learning from a mistake or failure is an invaluable lesson for life.