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Helping your child cope after failing

By Faeza
09 December 2016

There are a number of reasons your child might be struggling academically. Your

child might not understand the material or they could be struggling to manage

their time between school work and extramural activities or they might just not be

doing the work.

But there are ways that you as a parent can help your child achieve the best

results at school.


According to psychologists, Andri Burger and Annemarike de Beer from Synergy Psychological Services in Gauteng, there are several factors that contribute to your child failing at school.

These factors include the child, you as the parent and the study environment.

“Factors regarding the child include intellectual capacity, lack of effort, learning disability,

emotional problems such as a low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, ineffective study methods, bullying and lack of interest,” says Andri.

Annemarike adds, “Your lack of support or lack of interest towards your child’s school work can have a negative effect on their schooling. Also a conflicted relationship between parents, unrealistic expectations and lack of positive reinforcement or discipline can play a role.”

They say if the school environment is not supportive of effective study or there is a lack of

support from the teachers or the relationship that the teacher and child have is not good, this can have an impact on your child failing.


Mandisa Twala, who is a foundation phase teacher at a school in Joburg, says, “If a learner fails in the foundation phase it is either the learner is young for the grade that they are in or the child might have learning challenges and these can be pointed out by a professional educational psychologist who will then give recommendations on where a learner needs support and how best the parents and teacher can work together to help the learner reach their full academic potential.”

Mandisa says teachers tend to know a child well. “We are not merely teaching, but are helping to shape global leaders of tomorrow, so when a child fails, it means a lot of extra work and help needs to be provided.”


Adri says as a parent, you can help your child after failing by ensuring they receive the necessary support depending on what the challenges were that contributed to failing.

Andri and Annemarike also encourage that as the parent, you should go to the child’s school after your child has failed. “Frequent follow ups with the teacher are also recommended. Sometimes an academic or emotional assessment is necessary to determine what your child’s challenges are,” advises Annemarike.

Mandisa says learning does not end when the school bell rings. “Parents can do a lot for their children by introducing more reading time at home, as well monitoring the TV shows their children watch by making them watch more educational programmes,” she says.