Children who have difficulties in school are having difficulties in their job. They know that it is their job to do well in school, and when they can't, it is very damaging to their self-esteem.
I talk about academic self-esteem. That is very different than social self-esteem or physical self-esteem. One of the key ways to keep a child positive -- and this is going to sound really strange -- is to not praise them. It's to give them feedback.
I remember a parent coming into my office and him saying to his child, "Good job. Great job. That was so wonderful." I turned to the child and said, "Do you know what your father is talking about?" He says, "No, he says that all the time." Praise is saying "good job" or "great job." We all say that some of the time, but we can't help it
If I can say to a student, "I can see that you looked at this mathematics problem and you thought about the sequence of steps, and you thought about the ones with the ones and carried, added the tens and tens and carried. You were really careful about that problem." That student is going to feel really good about their effort.
If we can give feedback about effort, instead of praise for being correct. We will change our children's motivation for being inside them, instead of always having to praise them and push them and tell them they are such great people. They will know it if we give them feedback.