I did not become a parent so that I could have little people around to hound and nag on a daily basis… but sometimes, I simply do not know what else to do. I know that I SHOULDN’T and that it is NOT effective, but I often find myself doing it anyhow.
By general (non-scientific) estimate, I find that at least 80 percent of the parents who come to me for support have exactly this concern (difficulty finding better ways to interact and defaulting to nagging, hounding or lecturing as a result).
It comes from somewhere good, somewhere deep within. We want our children to have the best chance for success and to not have to learn so many lessons in the hard ways that we often learned. We want to protect them from the consequences of some of the choices we see them making (not turning in work, choosing to procrastinate in lieu of studying, handing in mediocre work, poor time management, being socially unaware, lack of planning, acting out in search of attention, not asking for help – I could go on).
Oddly enough, as much as we think they don’t, our children DO KNOW this. They know we have their best interests in mind. Remember they are children (even the teenagers). Regardless of age, they haven’t lived and learned nearly as much as we have. Their brains haven’t developed to have the maturity and foresight that we have (or the ability to make logical and non-emotional decisions). Sometimes, there is a neurological explanation for why they are having trouble getting things accomplished or remembering tasks (attention, learning, social-emotional, sensory, anger/frustration, or stress/anxiety related challenges and more).
However, because we tend to have selective memory (and generally grab small bits and pieces of our past experiences, mostly positive in nature), it’s easy to forget the valuable lessons that came as a result of each decision we have chosen to make in our own lives.
For today’s post, I am sharing a few tried and true “Instead of this, try that” suggestions. I’d love to hear how they work for you (or what works), so message us or post a comment as you give these a try.
INSTEAD OF emailing the teacher,
TRY helping your child write an email or jot a few bullet points down about what they want to ask, so they can do this on their own.
INSTEAD OF listing reasons why homework is important and matters,
TRY asking them what value it has, or help them think forward and consider the outcomes of their efforts (if I slack on homework, it means ____, which means _____ which means _____) to help find their OWN values associated with these tasks and their day-to-day.
INSTEAD OF telling them what to do,
TRY asking what they want to do or accomplish; then ask what will that take…. and what will THAT take…until they come up with their OWN solutions or ideas.
INSTEAD OF calling them in late to school or writing an excuse,
TRY allowing them to realize the natural consequences. Consistently. When used in conjunction with other strategies and an overall plan, the results have potential to be profound and lasting.
INSTEAD OF repeating directives a hundred times,
TRY removing the verbal aspect. Perhaps make a sign: “shoes,” “teeth,” “planner”… Gesture or guide them with no words-even whisper instead of raising your voice.
INSTEAD OF checking their grades,
TRY letting them know you would like to check their grades soon, and ask if they think it’s a good idea to check themselves first (Side-note: this is a tough one, and the majority of students express that the negative feedback from parents contributes to further resistance and anger on the student’s part…sometimes they avoid doing the work on purpose out of frustration that parents make a big deal of grades – particularly when grades are often not updated, entered as a zero or as a placeholder by the teacher, or are inaccurate for some other reason. They express, quite often, that their confidence comes down, and they feel that all their parents really care about are the grades).
These are just a few of our go-to strategies. We have significantly stepped up our social media efforts, and are regularly posting ideas, tips and articles. For more fabulous ideas and insight, be sure to click the links to follow us, and be sure check out our previous blog posts as well.
We look forward to hearing what works for you, and what ideas you find most successful or have come up with to manage these challenges at home.
STAY TUNED for more exciting announcements and offerings – coming soon!
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