“How do I help the mother of one of my students manage her anxieties about her child’s rate of progress?”
Another excellent and thought provoking question on a private music teaching site.
Often parents identify themselves too much with their children. “If my child is a success, that means I’m a good parent and if my child is not a success, well………” This causes anxiety. So the problem can be broken down into two aspects:.
1. Parent is comparing her child to other students. This is often fatal to the learning process. Kids get enough of that in school with everyone comparing grades and test results. Music lessons are about the only area where there is no competition (formal) or comparison. And it should stay that way – a safe haven to learn safely. But if students and parents are making comparisons, it’s often because of the second problem:
2. Teacher is consciously or unconsciously making comparisons herself. Here I am not talking about ambitious teachers who prepare their students for a constant round of competitions. I mean normal teachers who can easily fall into the trap of: “this one is better than that one, has more talent, is more in tune, holds his instrument better, etc.” We are human beings, too, after all. However, this is a dangerous, ineffective, harmful and counterproductive habit. One of the best pieces of advice I could give any teacher is never compare your students. Why? They will know it if you do and what possible good could be achieved? Children are very sensitive. If you compare your students to each other, then they and their parents will, too, so we have to be on guard about our own thoughts.
But there is a way to truncate this whole thing and resolve the problem of the anxious mom: Continue reading