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What to Leave Behind in 2019: Student Success

What to Leave Behind in 2019: Student Success

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - December 23rd, 2019

How to Achieve Student Success in the New Year

Student Success

Today let’s explore some patterns of thought and attitudes that we need to leave behind in 2019 for student success.

It is rather hard to believe that 2019 is soon coming to a close, and 2020 is upon us. The start of a new year can often be bittersweet, as we reflect upon the challenges, feats, emotions, and people that both influenced and set the tone for our year. Regardless, there is beauty in the concept of starting fresh and being able to reflect on how to best lay the groundwork for the upcoming year.

As parents, many of us are still teaching our children what a new year represents. While the concept of a New Year’s resolution can sometimes be abstract or hard to conceptualize, there are ways that we can make such ideas accessible to the younger generation. In keeping with the festivities of the holidays and the rapid approach of the New Year, we are going to explore the ways in which your student can have a productive and fulfilling year. More specifically, we will be delving into the patterns of thought that can be adopted in the new year, as well as those that do not contribute to success as a student. It is our hope that you gather some ideas for when you talk to your own child about their personal resolutions, both for in school and in their personal lives.


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Encouraging your Child to see Themselves as Unique in the Age of Comparison

Even as adults now, I am close to positive that many of us can remember how we compared ourselves to others as children and adolescents. Whether it be in terms of academics, popularity, physical attractiveness, or success, many of us were entrapped in this vicious cycle.  Realistically though, it is difficult to avoid such an ideology that is so embedded in today’s academic culture and overall rigor. While seeing our strengths and weaknesses relative to those around us can be productive in certain respects, it can ultimately take a toll on one’s mental health, focus, and ability to see ourselves as special. The cognitive resources that your child is spending while idolizing others is not only working to deplete their self-esteem, but not allowing them to focus on honing in on what they truly excel at, or the skills that they want to improve upon.

As a parent, it is not your job to tell your child to stop drawing comparisons, but helping him to see how unique his individual abilities are. While cliche, this idea that there is “only one you” is an idea that I have personally taken with me. Try helping your child to reframe their comparisons. Let us try an example. If they were to come home to tell you that “Katie did the best in the class on the essay portion of the exam, and I did terribly” ask them which section of the test they felt the most confident in. You can even help them find the motivation to explore alternative study techniques, for when they take the next exam. By helping them flip a negative into a positive, it will eventually allow them to better reframe something on their own. While these ideas are not quick fixes, they are a step in the right direction!

Learning to Take a “Pause” in 2020

In a society that is founded on a “go go go”mentality, it is often hard to see oneself slowing down to take something as simple as a break.  Unfortunately, many children have adopted this same mentality, due to the fact that they are responding to the external pressures around them. As students become older and enter into middle and high school, the relentlessness of academics can grow worse. As a result, many students stop listening to physical and emotional cues that are signaling for them to slow down, or to just take a pause. Sadly, this can often lead to burnout and both mental and physical exhaustion. I am sure that many of us are unable to relate to this feeling, as stress and anxiety are major components of life.

Instead of powering through till the end, what would happen if your child began practicing better self care? This could be observed in the form of something as simple as going to a movie, taking a nap, cooking a nice dinner, taking a walk, or just listening to music. As a parent, you can help them to see that it is alright to do something nice for oneself. Sometimes your child may need a form of permission to do so. Practicing good self care not only reaps major benefits for the mind, but has the potential to allow one to be even more productive with their academics.  Try encouraging your child to go into 2020 with a new outlook on their own well-being. Even as adults, we are still learning to value and care for ourselves on a continual basis. Helping your child to be kind to themselves, will hopefully remind you as a parent to try and do the same.

Helping Your Child in Developing a Growth Mindset

The concept of a “fixed mindset’ and a “growth mindset” are extremely relevant when helping your child in developing, and or modifying, their thought patterns. Before we begin, let us understand our terms.  In a fixed mindset, there is the belief that an individual’s qualities are fixed, and not subject to growth. An individual with a fixed mindset, may strongly believe that their intelligence and talents are set in stone. As a result, they may not put their energy into working to develop such traits.

In contrast, a growth mindset is the philosophy that an individual’s learning and intellectual abilities can develop with time and experience. When an individual is more open to personal growth, they begin to realize that their perseverance and attitude has an impact on their rate of success. They may explore alternative methods of studying, seeking extra help, and or finding ways to self-motivate. In essence, their challenges help them to grow. As a parent, you have the ability to encourage “a growth mindset”. Try to go into 2020 teaching your child that their are no limitations to what they can learn and absorb. Although many students spend more time focusing on their weaknesses rather then what they excel at, help them to re-direct their energy. Even if they struggle, teach them the value of “failure” when it comes to learning from one’s mistakes and becoming ultimately stronger.


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I hope that you gained some new insights into the ways in which slight changes in thought pattern can manifest themselves into positive lifestyle changes. Of course these are not quick fixes, but positive steps in the right direction for a good start to the New Year. Even if you simply sit down with your child and have them reflect on their year, I am sure many of the discussion points (as seen in this post) will arise. We are wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

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