If you’re the kind of person who can’t calculate taxes or balance a checkbook without a curse-filled internal monologue that eventually becomes an exterior rant, you may want to back away from your kid’s math homework (also, you still balance your checkbook?). A recent study suggests that, when you express strong negative feelings about math, you’re making your kid hate it, too.
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that kids whose parents were frustrated or nervous while attempting to help them with homework learned significantly less during the course of the school year. Kids as young as first grade also picked up on their parent’s anxiety and internalized it, which resulted in their own struggles with the subject. Look on the bright side, though — now you can spend a lifetime bonding over your shared incompetence!
Researchers expressed confidence that the study shows math anxiety isn’t innate, it’s learned. So, if you’re unable to quell your own emotions when trying to figure out how many apples are left if you start with 5 and the fox takes 2, they suggest finding traditional or app-based games that “allow parents to interact with their children around math in positive ways.”
That, or maybe take up meditation for a week and try again.