My daughter is in 5th Grade and makes silly mistakes while adding, subtracting, etc. I also found she doesn't take any interest in math and doesn't apply any logic when solving problems. She is not vocal about what she doesn't understand and that makes me angry while teaching her. This is again making her lose interest in the subject.

What should I do to help her?


Thanks everyone. I followed you advice and I am certain problem was with me and not with my daughter. I changed my teaching style and taught the subject as friends. She opened up realising I wasn't getting frustrated. Today she passed with flying colours and she scored the highest in math in her class.

  • I will answer tomorrow, but for me it was because my teacher told me I was stupid. Not those exact words, but that was the reason. I asked why 0 times somthing was 0 and teacher said I was stupid. Guess who did not know? This is why teachers who understand arithmatic should be the only ones teaching maths. I was convinced I was not smart enough until I finally had a teacher who could answer and explain.
    – WRX
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 23:57
  • 4
    What are you getting angry at? That your daughter is somehow deliberately annoying you by not telling you her problems? Or she actually doesn't know what her problem is?
    – Nelson
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 6:19
  • This may not be popular, but maybe stepping back and drilling the basics is what she needs. Nowadays teachers don't have time to make sure the simple stuff is really learned (facts 0-10). When a student struggles with 7+3, stuff like fractions become even harder. Flash cards can help make it fun. Remind her that we all need to practice math to get better. its not about smart/stupid its about how much time you put into learning the foundation.
    – adeady
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 15:00

3 Answers 3


Maybe your daughter is not good at maths and getting increasingly frustrated. I had a time where I was bad at maths, too. And in the end, it turned out I am not at all bad at maths, I just had bad teachers and even the people from my family trying to help me were not good for me because they made me feel like I am bad at maths. Never get angry. Never tell her, her mistakes are silly. This will make her less motivated to try at all. Tell her, she does not have to be perfect or fast but it is a life skill to do some maths. Guide her through it with games and by giving her the time she needs. Let her solve stuff she can solve, rather than making her fail over and over again.

TL;DR: Never get angry. Never tell her it's trivial. It is going to make her feel stupid and loose trust in her own abilities. Make her like the time the two of you spend practicing. End every lesson on a positive note. Take your time. Again, never get angry.

  • 3
    +1 especially for never tell her it's trivial. Even apparently simple math is very abstract, and until something in your head goes "click", it is just a mess of meaningless symbols and rules. And getting that click when frustrated or even scared because someone will be angry at you is very very hard.
    – Layna
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:41
  • 2
    Yup - the biggest single thing the OP could do to help is not get angry.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:58
  • That's a 500% percent correct. I would like to add that you can say it will become trivial for her in the future, but you know it's hard right now to make her feel she will get better and do it easily someday - the same way she learned to walk or ride a bicycle.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 11:45
  • I have a girlfriend of 30 years who thought she was bad a math. Turns out she never got taught the basics. She didnt know that multiplications went before additions and subtractions for example. So she never understuud why her way of doing math was always incorrect despite loving logical things. Chances are that the daughter issn't having a stable foundation for her math?
    – Migz
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 8:22

I once tutored a seven-year-old in math because she'd been performing badly in school, probably largely due to a lack of confidence. After I began tutoring her - just one hour a week - she started doing much better. What I did was I played math games with her, not much else. Math began to be fun for her, and she gained in confidence.

The funny thing is that her father was an engineer, and had all the knowledge needed to teach her math. He had tried doing it, but something about the parent-child dynamic put her off of it, and their math sessions had become a source of tension.

Once I'd tutored her a bit, she started feeling better about things and started playing the same math games with her parents that I'd been playing with her. She became one of the best in her class, and her success continued long after I'd stopped tutoring her.

The bottom line is this. Often problems in math have more to do with self-confidence than with underlying ability. And when the teaching relationship between parent and child has broken down for whatever reason, it can help to hit the reset button by bringing in outside help. That doesn't mean the parents can't take over again later once the child is feeling better about herself, particularly if they've been able to identify what wasn't working the first time round.


Well Skymningen's answer covers it. Plus, if the OP cannot teach his own child -- which is very very common -- then find a tutor. There might be a relative or friend or child of a friend, a volunteer from your religious affiliation, an after school club or a Girl/Boy Scout who might volunteer, if tutoring from a place like Kumon or Sylvan is too costly. The bottom line is -- it is a common problem and as long as the OP handles it well, it can be solved.

The last thing you want to do is make this the hill your daughter loses the battle upon...

Maths are still difficult for me. It doesn't come easily, but I am no longer defeated by them. I ask for help if I need to, but usually I can figure it out. That's is because my great teacher told me I could -- and that was half the battle.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .