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Q: How can I help my child cope emotionally with being held back a year in school?
A: Your child is going to take his cue from you about how to handle the retention. If you are sure that this is going to be the best thing for your child, that will come across when you talk with him. Make sure that other family members (siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles) know that you believe that this will be the best solution and that they should be positive about it as well.
When you talk with your child about the retention, focus on the positives. Remind him of the things that were difficult this year and how much easier they will be next year. Help him understand that next year he will be the leader of the class and the one who will be able to help the other children.
Talk with the school counselor. She may be able to give your child some individual time or include him in a small group to help retained children feel positive. If you see that your child is having problems next year, ask the counselor to help him with self-esteem issues.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.