- Family problems — like major changes in family dynamics, financial instability, and sibling bullying — can have a significant impact on children.
- These challenges can put stress on a child’s emotions and contribute to loss of focus or acting out at school.
- It’s important that you maintain open communication lines with your child about the issue at hand and offer them continuous love and support.
- Instead of ruminating over these problems, acknowledge that everyone struggles and then focus on providing your child with what they need.
Family challenges — such as divorce, financial issues, and sibling bullying — have the potential to negatively affect all family members, including kids. These young individuals do not have the tools or mental capacity to properly manage stress, and it shows in multiple capacities: one being their performance at school.
Common Home Life Issues That Can Affect Educational Performance
Let’s delve into the aforementioned problems and how exactly school performance might change as a result:
1. Changes in family dynamics
Changes in family relationships include divorcing parents or blending two families together. Both instances can confuse or upset a child and lead to their acting out or being withdrawn at school. Often, single parents are forced to work longer hours to make financial ends meet, which means less time at home with their kids—this can cause a child to feel neglected or unloved, resulting in their misbehavior or withdrawal at school.
Similarly, if two families merge together, a child might feel neglected or left out as his or her parents navigate new relationships with the new members. Be sure to communicate well with your child and show them affection on a regular basis to prevent them from developing these ideas that they are unloved. More on this later.
2. Financial instability
As we mentioned above, sometimes parents need to work long hours or take other measures to make financial ends meet. However, sometimes families run into financial instability. Research published in the journal “Pediatric Child Health” shows that children from impoverished families receive lower scores in vocabulary skills, concentration, teamwork, and other areas. These findings demonstrate the impact that economic instability can have on a child’s performance at school.
3. Sibling bullying
Sibling bullying is another harmful problem that many parents don’t recognize. They assume that a little rough-housing or poking fun is a normal part of the sibling dynamic—but often, it gets out of hand and one sibling starts being bullied. Sibling bullying can affect self-esteem and cause emotional problems like hopelessness, loneliness, and even depression. This can then cause a child to struggle in school, as they aren’t able to focus on their work.
Show Your Child Love and Support: 4 Tips
If your family is confronted with a difficult challenge, communicating with your child is key. While you don’t have to go into detail about the problem at hand, you also shouldn’t keep them in the dark. For example, if you and your partner are divorcing, clearly communicate this to your child and then focus on supporting them through the transition to come. Once you’ve addressed the problem at hand, the best thing you can do is show your child endless love and support. Here are a few tips for doing so:
1. Make physical contact.
One of the best ways to show your child continued love is by making physical contact. Hug them, kiss them, tickle them, high-five them, snuggle with them on the couch. They’ll feel your love come through.
2. Show your appreciation.
What many of us don’t realize is that kids want and can benefit from our appreciation. Tell them directly that you appreciate their support at random. Also, when they do something helpful or they follow directions, tell them you appreciate it. Kids listen to and remember more than we think they do.
3. Give them one-on-one time.
Your child wants your undivided attention whenever and however they can get it. This means that one-on-one time is like gold to them. It shows that you love them and want to spend time with them. Not to mention this can create a good opportunity to check in on how they’re feeling, especially relating to the problem at hand.
4. Do something exciting.
Finally, do something different and exciting every once in a while. This will help to take your child’s mind off of the problem, instill fun back into their lives, and show them that life still goes on—an important lesson that they’ll pull from time and time again.
Remember: We all struggle. If your family is currently trying to navigate one of the problems mentioned above or another problem, you might feel hopeless, helpless, or guilty that your child is or could be affected. Try to focus instead on providing them with the love and support that will get them (and you) through this difficult time.