We all love to hear affirming and encouraging words, no matter who it comes from, no matter what our age. But parents, in particular, have an extraordinary impact on their children, so hearing those words from you will be the most influential.

Your son is up against a lot at school—his piers, his education, learning to do life. It’s enough to make them feel overwhelmed and defeated. What do you do when your child is struggling in school? In order to know exactly what’s going on in his school life, and help improve his performance, there are a few things to consider — and it doesn’t involve trying to get him to be perfect. One of the worst things you can do, is expect perfection. To figure out what your son needs that will motivate, inspire, and drive him to succeed, is to do these things I wrote bout in this article, which involves ingraining yourself into his school atmosphere.

Getting your children to open up and talk about their feelings is no easy task. But something we neglect to address is the possibility that you might not be listening. When they don’t feel hear, why would they feel safe to share their heart and open up on a deeper level. Age is also a huge factor when it comes to how and when they will open up—when they are little, in most cases, children will open up fairly unprovoked—so listening and being attentive in their younger years will make a huge difference for when they get older.