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Aug 22, 2019

Healthy Living: Advice for Parents

The summer is over, and schools across the country have begun re-opening their doors. Tonight’s Healthy Living offers some helpful advice for parents to aid their children through the upcoming academic year. Issues like motivation and building self esteem are important for them to settle them in school.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It only feels natural for parents to want to bring out the very best in their children. When it comes to academic excellence, though, how you push your children can have a direct impact on their mental health. Clinical Psychologist, Deshane Gutierrez, explains that too often parents while well-intentioned are focused on the wrong measures.

Deshane Gutierrez

Deshane Gutierrez, Clinical Psychologist, Buttonwood Bay Medical Center

“As we start the academic year is to let us start to encourage our children to do their best rather than what we think is their best.”


Clinical Psychologist, Deshane Gutierrez, explains that too often parents are focused on the wrong measures.


Deshane Gutierrez

“You don’t want a child to feel like I have to get a 90 or 100 for them to be successful because you want to maximize on the effort. What is the child really doing so that they are functioning at their best potential? Motivation plays a crucial role in your willingness to learn the material. If you’re already struggling and you feel like you are incompetent that becomes even harder. So now when you’re getting the material at school it’s hard to focus. You’re either anxious, you’re too sad, you’re feeling a bit more depressed than normal because you feel like you can’t do it. So effort is very important cause when you feel like you can do something when you fail and you fail again you get up and try and try again but that is because you feel like you have the capacity to do it. If you feel like you don’t have the capacity then one or two failures then you give up.”


It is a part of healthy childhood development to want to please your parents. When parents focus exclusively on grades and not on the effort the child has made, children feel like they’re falling short of their expectations. The effects of this can be devastating.


Deshane Gutierrez

“Some of the long term effects is one their self esteem. Their self esteem becomes severely impacted because now they start to see themselves as a failure. Some children may have couple outcomes two of the main ones. One they may give up and not try. And that impacts learning because when you are at school they may say, “well it doesn’t matter how much effort I put I still won’t get good grades the way my mom or teacher or dad expects.”  And then for some they may become overachievers. They try to strive hard. While we may say that’s a good thing. There it is not because of self motivation they are doing it for external motivation. When you rely a lot on external motivation when you don’t get that applause or acknowledgement, it impacts you and so it impacts the way you socialize and you may be so book driven that they don’t learn life skills. They don’t really enjoy life.”


Paying attention to the effort is one step, but Gutierrez reminds parents to be mindful of the language they use with their little ones.


Deshane Gutierrez

“If you notice that your child is spending time actually studying doing the work then acknowledge that. I noticed that did you’re studying you only got a seventy – you got a seventy – but that’s ok and I’m happy you got a 70. You notice I changed my words when I say you only got a 70 because even things like that. We innocently say things like you only did this or you only scrape or you need to work harder but what your child is hearing is I failed. I am not good enough. So even though we may say its motivation they’re internalizing it differently.  A child can be bright in different areas but still struggle in a particular area. So it doesn’t mean that because your child isn’t producing a certain grade and you know that they are bright means that they’re not putting the effort. Bright doesn’t mean you’re bright across. Learning is a spectrum. So you can be good in certain things and weak in other things. So figure out what you’re weak in and how can you improve that.”


And for those parents, who seek extra help for their kids. Gutierrez suggests being clear on what you expect from a tutor. Does your child need homework assistance? Or does your child need remedial tutoring to get them up to par with weak subjects? While the goal is to get your child to perform at his or her best academically, Gutierrez stresses a balance that includes play or relaxation time. Gutierrez stress that their day should be balanced with some play or relaxation time.


Deshane Gutierrez

“We put grades like grades is everything but for you to be successful in life its more than your grades it has to be in terms of your personality it has to be with different skill set and it has to be with motivation and self confidence.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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