A low grade or a disagreement with a friend can make your middle grader doubt himself.  But regaining his confidence is important to his success-in school and in life.  A confident child dives into challenging projects and is more apt to speak his mind when confronted with peer pressure.

Try these tips to put your middle grader's confidence back on track.

Look ahead.  Have your child think about an upcoming event-a project, a test or an athletic competition-and find ways to improve his skills.  For example, he might study an extra half-hour each evening or shoot a few hoops before school in the morning.  Focusing on moving forward by figuring out a way to do better next time can boost his chances of success.

Ask for help.
  Many kids lack confidence because they think they have to be good at everything.  Explain to your middle grader that everyone needs help sometimes.  If he's struggling with algebra, for instance, you might suggest that he find a study partner.  Realizing his limits and knowing when to seek help are signs of confidence, not weakness, and can keep your child from feeling like a failure.

Play up strengths.
  Encourage your middle grader to keep his strong points in mind.  Maybe he can say, "I try hard to be a loyal friend," or "I brought up my science grade."  By emphasizing his good qualities instead of comparing himself to others, your child will learn to see himself in a more positive way.

Source: (c)2006 Resources for Educators, a division of Aspen Publishers, Inc.