When it Comes to School: Do you Meddle or Monitor?
Moms of school-aged kids this one is for you! Let's talk about schoolwork and how to approach it. First let me say it really is agony watching a kid struggle in school with homework or grades or responsibility. It stinks, and it is so tempting to swoop in and help them avoid the cliff they are running head-long toward. As a parent, and as a parenting professional, I have unlimited opportunities to watch kids and moms navigating these choppy waters and I've seen some patterns over time that might be helpful.
The biggest pitfalls I see facing kids are:
1) Negative mindest or beliefs leading to stress and anxiety around grades and tests,
2) Time management (either rushing through tests and homework so they make silly mistakes or leaving things to the last minute), and
3) Not reaching out when they need extra support.
The biggest pitfalls I see moms falling into can be summed up into just one mistake: caring more than their kids do about their success in school.
Think about the challenges I listed that face kids. There is an extremely helpful and an extremely UN-helpful way to support a kid through each one of them. The trick is that the helpful approach is the one that is probably the least pleasant for both mom and kid. Saying things like, "Well it looks like you got a pretty bad grade there; what are you going to do about it?" is not easy for some of us. Why? Because it means that our kids might have some crappy grades while they muddle through solving their problem. Sitting back while my kid brings home failing grades is not a comfortable place for me, personally, but I know it's much better than giving him a lecture, getting angry, or worst of all, implicating myself into their school work by either doing it for them or intervening with a teacher on their behalf.
How to help instead?
1) Hand the problem back,
2) Make sure they know I believe they can succeed and I'm here to help if needed, and
3) Use natural consequences to up the odds they will start to care more about their schoolwork than I do.
Do I sound like I'm oversimplifying? I am! A blogpost can't address every child's unique needs! If you want to talk more deeply about the challenges your child might be facing in school, set up a free session with me and let's dig in! And tune into the group this week for coaching videos about how to implement these steps and change the way we think about performance in school.