For the Parents

By Paula Roose

NOTE: The following articles contain helpful suggestions for parents who are trying to raise school-age children.


Martin Luther, the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation leader, was raised by a father who was severe and harsh with his children.

That may help to explain why Luther once wrote, “‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ – true! But beside the rod, keep an apple, and give it to him when he does well.”

How many children have had their self-confidence permanently destroyed by parents who were always swift to criticize, but seldom praised? Few children can survive that treatment without the deepest kind of emotional damage.

If you want to be a better parent, keep an apple handy.


With the New Year just around the corner, now is a good time to take stock of your involvement in your child’s education. What can you be doing at home to help your child learn? Here are ten suggestions for parents from a survey of 10,000 elementary and middle school principals, listed in order of priority:

* Listen and talk with your children, paying consistent attention to questions and feelings.
* Show pride in your children’s academic growth and accomplishments.
* Regularly encourage children with their schoolwork.
* Instill a strong work ethic in children.
* Help children perceive themselves as capable problem solvers.
* Give priority to schoolwork, reading, and other academic activities over non-academic endeavors like television, music, videos, and recreation.
* Emphasize regular, planned use of time in the home for studying, playing, and eating meals.
* Read aloud to your children, and have them read to you.
* Set standards and expectations for your children.
* Get to know your children’s current schoolwork and school activities.


Believe it or not, it takes a lot of confidence for a child to raise a hand in class or tell the teacher she doesn’t understand. The key to how well your child does in school depends in large measure on her level of self-confidence. You can build your children’s self-confidence and help them to see themselves as able to solve problems, find answers, and try new ways to do things.

Here are some tips:

* Say “good job” and “I knew you could do it.”
* Ask “what do you think?” – and really listen to their answers.
* Ask “what’s wrong?” Let children know their feelings are important. Work out problems together.
* Pick them up when they are down. Remind them that a low test score doesn’t mean they’re not smart. Make time to help them better prepare for the next assignment.
* When they ask a question, answer it right away. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Look up answers together.

(The above material was taken from New Results and The Little Things Make A Big Difference.)

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