Why Productive Struggle Is Important

Learn about the importance of productive struggle in a child’s learning journey and how Connections Academy® can support you and your student.

Do you ever find yourself assisting your child with just about everything, even things you know he or she is perfectly capable of doing? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Parents have a natural tendency to continuously help and protect their children. After all, you want the best for them. Ironically, when it comes to schoolwork, a parent who jumps in to help too quickly could actually be doing more harm than good. 

 Letting your child struggle and even fail sometimes can be highly beneficial to his or her development. 

What Is Productive Struggling?

Productive struggle in the classroom is a form of effortful learning that helps students develop perseverance and core skills. The way we think about productive struggle in learning affects our behavior as students, teachers, and parents. Stepping aside and letting your child struggle a bit is not easy. But don’t be disheartened!  Below are a few productive struggle examples and reasons why helping your child less—or delaying your help—is incredibly beneficial in the long run. 

1. Mistakes are valuable.

Try not to correct your children too quickly. If you notice some mistakes in your child’s assignment or project, encourage them to communicate with the teachers and ask questions. You will be pleased when your child gains a valuable lesson from the mistake and experiences a gratifying “aha” moment. 

2. Failure prepares children for the “real world.”

A constant “quick fix” can make it feel like success is the standard. Instead, teach your child that failing is part of the learning process and that it will help them do better next time. It is important that children feel capable and competent enough to overcome setbacks when they eventually go off to college or enter the working world. It will make the “real world” much less daunting. 

3. Struggle is good for the brain.

If you overstep your support in daily assignments and tasks, is your child really gaining any knowledge? A parent or Learning Coach's is not to do all the work for the student! Instead, it’s important to step back and take an advisory role, guiding children while they learn valuable academic skills so they can become more independent over time. Children need to be challenged in order to learn and cultivate their brains. Allow your child to earn their grades—whether an A or a C—on his or her own merit. 

4. It shapes identity.

Kids face a tough question as they move from their preteen years and into adulthood—“Who am I?” When you attempt to meet your child’s multiple academic obligations, they might never discover a sense of identity. Instead, your child could feel confused and insecure. Sometimes, it’s how children cope with different challenges that shapes who they are. Perseverance, character, and strength often develop in the midst of struggle.

 Helping your children less and allowing them to struggle can positively influence their journey into adulthood. Learn more about ways to support your child’s development by checking out our Resource Hub.  

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