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How do you temper some parents’ desire to attempt “everything” at once at home, so that they don’t hurt their child’s self-esteem and progress?

The complete question

I’m a special education teacher in primary school. How do you temper some parents’ desire to attempt “everything” at once at home? Some parents are over-doing the work at home and ultimately hurting their child’s self-esteem and progress.

Expert answer

An important question. At times, parents who care so much worry that they must fill in every moment of a child’s day and evening fixing the problem. While this laudable, my experience with highly successful adults who are dyslexic indicates that a recurring theme is that these folks were greatly benefited from finding and pursuing an activity in which they could find success and a sense of mastery. It doesn’t matter what the acclivity is — basketball, piano playing, skateboarding, drawing, rock collecting, soccer, doll collection — as long it brings a sense of satisfaction to the child.

In my book, Overcoming Dyslexia, I included a very important chapter, Protecting and Nourishing Your Chid’s Soul, to help parents find ways of supporting and developing their child’s self-esteem. I thought this issue so important that I also included an epilogue, giving examples of well-respected, highly successful people who were dyslexic and how they succeeded. Invariably, they had an interest that helped sustain their self-esteem: for the writer, John Irving, it was a love of, and success in, wrestling; for writer Stephen Cannell, it was football; for financier Charles Schwab, it was golf — each had something that they enjoyed and in which they could experience success.

— Dr. Sally Shaywitz

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