My Little Brother is a licensed professional counselor. He often tells me that you can change your attitude by changing your behavior.
Apparently the behavior-attitude door swings both ways. If you don't want to do something because you feel frustrated, do it anyway and that will clear up the frustration.
So that's how you can get your attitude and your child's attitude aligned with positive feelings of math.
Stop saying angry math things.
I've pointed out that the real place kids learn math is at home. And I've discussed why grown-ups should quit talking about hating math. But until now, I've never said how to do this.
Because it's easier said than done right? When you're frustrated, or your children are frustrated, you've gotta say something. So you can't "just stop."
HOW do you quit saying "I hate math" (when you really do hate math)?
First, make a list of all the math things you do (download the handy helper here). Here's a starter list for both you and your children:
- I know how long it takes to get dressed and so I can calculate when I have to wake up in the morning.
- I can figure out if our car is getting good gas mileage.
- I can figure out if I have enough money saved to by a nice toy.
- I know what I have in savings and if that's enough to buy the fancy shoes I want.
- I know how many minutes it takes me to walk to my friend's house.
- I know that riding my bike to my friend's house is faster than walking.
- I know that in the past I couldn't reach the middle of the dinner table, and now I can - because my arms are longer.
- I can figure out how much I've grown in the past year by looking at my growth chart.
Copy your list and put it on the refrigerator, in the bathrooms, on the front door and next to your bed. When you find your child or yourself wanting to say, "I hate math," instead say, "I can do math because ____" and fill in the blank with something from the list. If you need to, continue like this:
This particular math problem I'm working on is more challenging than what I already know, but it isn't hard. I just have to figure it out. And since I'm smart enough to do all that other math, I can figure this out!
The behavior of changing what you say will have a positive affect on how you and your children feel about math!
Try it. Let me know how it goes!
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- Help Your Highschooler Conquer Their Maths Fears (mathsinsider.com)
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