2017… a new beginning. This time of year is always filled with New Year’s resolutions including endless commercials that promise the perfect face, body or life. You cannot escape the continual message being told (or sold), you need to change something to become a better you in one way or another.
How many times have you been asked, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” If you’re like me it becomes overwhelming. The question makes me think I need to make drastic changes in my life, home, family…everything.
Most often, as January turns into February many of those well-meaning resolutions have long since passed. Instead of feeling successful and confident, we are left feeling defeated and frustrated. Why do people fall short of the goals they make for themselves?
Many times goals aren’t realized because we don’t know how to get started. For example, to think of decluttering the whole house in a weekend without a plan is too big a task. A person would soon give up, becoming paralyzed at the enormity of the job. Where would one even start?
In my educational coaching business, I often see this with parents that are trying to help their struggling student. A parent might say, “My child is continually failing classes or missing many assignments.” In response to failing grades, adults jump to the big goal of fixing it all instead of working on something smaller that eventually gets the student to the big goal of excelling in school. The cycle of change happens first with a change of thought, then a change of words, and finally a change of action.
In the analogy of the decluttering a house, first you may think about and maybe even write a list of reasons why you want a more organized less clutter house. Then you can verbalize your intentions to other family members, make an action plan, and enlist help in deciding what to keep and what to toss. Finally, you put the plan into action and work on one area at a time, not the whole house, just one room at a time. Stopping when you need to rest but continuing to move forward gets the job done.
In supporting your student, it is just the same. Help him find ownership of his schoolwork without enabling him through this process. Here’s an action plan for you!
• First of all, reflect on the areas where you see your child struggling the most or the areas where he takes the least amount of ownership (specific classes, studying for tests, handing in schoolwork, etc.).
• Decide where the biggest struggles are or where you are most frustrated with the child’s actions.
• Determine if he possesses the needed tools to help himself or does he need instruction on how to improve.
• Choose words wisely with your child when discussing problem areas. Ask more questions then give solutions.
• When you allow your child to come up with the solutions he are taking ownership over his progress.
• Now you can begin with some actions. Some that I would suggest are homework meetings, creating a home office, and self-reflection. Click on the links to past posts to read more about each action step.
No resolution will work without realistic goals and a clear plan of attack. The cycle of change begins with thought, then words, and finally the correct and purposeful actions.
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.
Hebrews 10:35 ESV
How will you help your child to become a better student in 2017?
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.
Author of Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (And Life)
Contact Megan for one-on-one academic coaching or a parent seminar.