Writing: first understand why they dislike writing, then negotiate.


a reformed reluctant writer

         A keen proud writer 

Writing fluently will remain an important skill our children need to master.

Your child might not be very interested in writing because they have so many other interesting things they would rather do. Many children are much more interested in doing something physical than sitting down to write. Especially when your child finds writing difficult it will come a definite last in the list of important and fun things they want to do that day.

There are a few quite simple things you can do to encourage them to write.The first thing to do is capture their attention and their interest so that they are willing to write with you. Unless you sell them writing in a way that captures their interest they will not be willing to attempt this task they dislike and they will not work willingly with you. You cannot force them to write ever because when a person is not willing to do something, they usually do it very sloppily and hurriedly. Instead first understand exactly what they don’t like about writing.

Listen closely to deeply understand.

The most successful and respectful way to help someone become a writer, and an excellent way to capture their interest, is to listen closely to them to deeply understand how they are thinking and feeling about writing before you ever offer solutions. Take as much time as necessary to deeply understand your child’s position. This might take several talks with them. Remember to never judge what they are saying by minimizing it, mentioning incidents where it was worse for you or their sister, or believing that they are exaggerating or making excuses. Instead just feel deeply interested in what they are saying and keep asking questions that encourage them to open up to you, and help you understand their position even more. As they talk you might notice that you want to offer the ‘helpful’ solutions that pop into your head. they might not be the right solutions for your child, or perhaps not the right solutions to offer just yet. In fact your child will feel that you have stopped listening to them and that you are trying to just fix the problem quickly, as perhaps you often have in the past, if you offer them solutions as they are explaining their dislike of writing. This time do it differently and take lots of time to understand their position.

Problem-solve with them, not for them, by TENTATIVELY suggesting solutions.

When you are both satisfied that you have fully understood their thoughts and feelings around writing, other quite exciting and useful solutions often pop up, many of them quite different from what you would have first suggested. Feel free to suggest them tentatively as possible solutions, watching your child for their reactions. You might have decided that it is non-negotiable that they will be writing regularly at home, and your child most probably has realised that themselves. However when, where, and how that happens, and what they write about are all negotiable.

Possible solutions I often offer students when we will be writing  include:

  • You will only write about what you want to write about and my job as your editor is to help you discover what that is.
  • I will only let you write for 10 minutes.
  • Don’t worry about the spelling. Just write your ideas down. We will sort the spelling later.
  • Don’t worry about your handwriting. Good writing is all about the ideas not how tidy your writing looks.
  • Let’s get the writing over and done with first then do something that you like more.
  • I will share-write with you too if you like. I think that would be fun! We could write a story together.

Here are some more ideas on ways to respectfully discuss writing with your child.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post and share this post on Facebook with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Tips for successfully helping children develop the homework habit.


Help your child develop the homework habit

how to help your child with homework

Time spent together is precious. As well as homework time to practise skills they are learning in school, children need time to play, read,  chat with you and with their friends, help out in the house, and have free, unstructured  time to explore and enjoy their world. Homework time when you sit down together might be one of the precious moments you have with your child over a busy day.

I definitely don’t think they should watch lots of TV or video games or be on the net for long periods of time. I challenge you to check how much time your child is spending in the virtual world this week. Count the hours – they might dismay you. Then do something to change that. Give them more homework perhaps! Homework does not all have to come from the school, you can create it too. Just make it relevant to your child’s interests and skill level.

Homework and what it is and does. Some of you think that homework isn’t important at all.  Research has shown that families who help their child practise the skills at home that they are learning at school are making a positive difference in how well they perform in the classroom. If they are not getting much from their teacher, I suggest you create some regular practise time for them at home. Perhaps your definition of homework is too limited. It is not all about drills, although some of it might be. Include reading interesting books together, writing stories that get published and read by family and friends, completing regular revision of maths they are learning in class, cooking, building structures and machines, and exploring their environment whether it is an urban or rural one, with them. Here are some suggestions on ways you can work respectfully and successfully with your child.

I guess we all agree that the younger the child, the less time the child should be expected to spend on homework. A general rule of thumb is that children do 10 minutes of homework for each year level – but I personally think homework should be capped at about an hour for children under the age of 12.

Regular homework can change their lives. You might begin the homework habit with them and then let it drop as your life becomes busy again, or when a child becomes sick or when you are all tired for a few days in a row. In fact, you might be the one who does not carry through with homework. I encourage you to persistently pick up the homework habit again when you let it drop and continue adding value to your children’s present life and their future ones. As I have heard from many parents who persistently encouraged their children’s interests and skills, those children have later been able to create future work or wonderful past-times because of the childhood interests you encouraged during homework time. Here are more ideas to organise for successful homework times.

Ideas to discuss with your child to make homework time pleasant.

Have established homework routines. Establish clear routines around homework, including when and where homework gets done. Daily routines not only make homework go more smoothly, but also foster a homework habit your child will continue to use later at high school and university.

Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom where it is quiet and they can concentrate easily.  Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better where you can monitor them easily. Work with your child to decide on a mutually agreed upon location.

Your child should get in the habit of doing homework at the same time every day. Some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack. Others need to start homework right after school while they are still in school mode. In general, it is a good idea to get homework completed as soon as possible, either before dinner or straight after, so they are not too tired. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the slower the homework gets done.

Simple incentive systems. Some children need to receive some sort of external reward because the pleasure felt when work is completed is not quite enough for them.The simplest incentive system is reminding the child of a fun activity to do when homework is done. It may be a favorite television show, a chance to spend some time with a video or computer game, talking on the telephone or face-time, or playing a game with a parent. Use a ‘when and then’ sentence. Tell them, “When you have finished….homework then you can….”. Having something to look forward to is usually a powerful incentive to get the hard work done. The simple incentive of fun times after the work is done are usually enough, but some children need a little more incentive than that to complete homework.

More complex incentive agreements. These involve more planning and more work on your part and work best when you and your child develop them together. This gives them a sense of control and ownership, making the system more likely to succeed. Your child will usually be realistic on deciding rewards and penalties when they are involved in the decision-making process. Here are some ideas how to create win-win deals with your child. The agreement might include a system for earning points that could be used towards accessing a privilege or reward, or receiving pocket money, or gaining access to the internet, or saving towards buying something expensive they want.

Build in breaks for when they need them. Discuss with your child how long the breaks will last and what will be done during the breaks. Keep them short. Here are more ideas on creating breaks when your child is reluctant to work with you.

Build in choice. Check out more ideas on offering choice. Building in choice not only helps motivate children but can also reduce power struggles between parents and children.

Check out other ideas to make homework time more fun for you both.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post and share this post on Facebook with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

Handwriting – How your child can write more easily


The days of boring old handwriting drills are gone.

In the place of drills teachers give a series of short lessons on how to hold the pencil and correctly write letters and numbers, and then they correct students’ hand-grip and writing direction incidentally as they walk around the room. How your child holds their pencil and form their letters is still taught, but often not as consistently as in the past with the boring old drills, and so many children may not  practice  the correct grip enough to master it.

hand writing - wrong hand gripThis has meant that many children and adults now find handwriting much more difficult and tiring because they are holding their pencil incorrectly and are writing some letters and numbers using the wrong direction. Watch children and young adults as they write, and notice their hand-grip. Many are gripping pens with more than the first finger and thumb. Sometimes they even use their whole fist as a toddler does. As a result their whole hand moves as they write letters instead of just their fingers.

Many also begin to form letters from the bottom up instead of from the top down, and clock-wise instead of anti clockwise. This also slows their writing down, and when they are younger, it makes it more difficult to remember how to form some letters. For example they often confuse the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ because they form those letters in similar ways. The correct way to form the letter ‘b’ is to write the ‘b’ from the top down forming the stem, then up half-way and clockwise around forming the base (down, up, and around), whereas with the ‘d’ you begin half-way between the line and continue anti-clockwise to form the round base, then move up and down (around, up, and down).

Why do we need to help our child hold their pen or pencil correctly?

The pencil grip, or the way they hold a pen or pencil, will either help or hinder them when they write, both now and as adults. With the growth of i-pads and other devices in schools and workplaces, it might seem that being able to skillfully write by hand might become a thing of the past. Perhaps so. I hope not. There is research to show that handwriting facts helps us learn and remember
and will continue to be an important skill even as our children use more technology to communicate.

handwriting gripWhen your child holds the pen correctly they write faster and so much more easily!

The correct pencil-grip makes writing easier and faster. When we use the correct pencil grip we can write for longer periods of time smoothly and easily. If your child has difficulty holding the pencil correctly you can usually buy a pencil grip in stationary shops that slides onto the pencil and gives your child a larger surface to grip onto.

Follow these instructions for the correct hand grip:

teach your child how to hand writeThe hand uses the thumb and 1st finger to hold firmly but not too tightly onto opposite sides of the pencil. Then the 2nd finger bends under the pencil to form a support so that the pen can sit balanced lightly and securely on that finger. This classical grip allows your fingers to move freely when writing instead of the whole hand. Instead, your hand is still and resting lightly on the paper as your fingers move the pencil around to write all or most of a word. Your hand only moves when it slides along between words or parts of words to help the fingers write freely.

 

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

 

What if your child can’t read or write well….is that it?


A few weeks ago I met a young man in his twenties who in the course of our conversation disclosed what exactly his mother had done to help him at home  when he was young and having great difficulty learning to read and write. What she did gave him the opportunity to fulfill more of his potential than is usual for poor readers and writers. It enabled him to complete tertiary study, and find interesting work that required good reading and writing skills as well as problem-solving skills, flexibility, lateral thinking, and communication skills. He mentioned that he still found reading aloud difficult when one of his bosses was listening, because it made him anxious, but otherwise not; and that he doesn’t have any difficulty understanding the deeper meanings of text now, or writing reports.

I was very impressed by this young man. He was currently working with teens who could not read, write, or do maths well; and he showed great empathy and concern when talking about them. I also watched him engage with the young men around us, and he was warm and fun. He is exactly the sort of person you would want working with your young teen if they needed mentoring, and he was involved in many community activities, and obviously a thoughtful and hard-working man. The sort of person many employers yearn for. His mother must be so proud of him!

As this young man’s mother must have done, I encourage you to continue working with your child at home no matter what others think, what the school is currently doing to help them, and even whether your child wants you to help them. This year I have worked with several students who took a long time to realise that if they applied a little effort, and regularly practised the strategies I coached them in at home with their parents, they could master skills they had thought impossible to learn. For quite some time these particular students were not keen to work with me, and for much of the time I coached them, they were certainly not grateful or willing to learn with their parents.

writing a book

One of my excellent writers

However, we never gave up, and the penny eventually dropped for them. They realised that we were not going to stop working with them and that we continued to believe in their ability to learn, no matter how poorly they behaved. At about the same time they began to notice that they were actually enjoying doing some of the reading, writing, or maths, because the work had become easier and so much more interesting. As they began to comply with their parents and complete regular coaching sessions at home, the parents, the child, and I all noticed a rapid improvement in how fast they learned new skills. They also became less anxious, demanding, controlling and reluctant when their parents and I coached them. Instead they became keen, confident, and self-motivated students who worked willingly and with deep concentration to master skills they now wanted as badly as we had wanted those skills for them. They became a pleasure to coach!

Every parent wants their child to achieve to the limits of their ability…wherever that is. That limit has to be found, then pushed, to see if it is actually the limit to what can be achieved. I have found that we often set limits much too low for ourselves and for our children, and that the actual limits can be much further away than first seems possible.

The young man I had met a few weeks ago was lucky enough to have a mother who believed that although he had Dyslexia, which made reading and writing more difficult for him, he still could and would learn to read and write well.  She didn’t stop at just believing in his abilities though. She worked regularly and persistently with him as long as he needed her too. She read aloud to him for as long as he needed her to so that he would have the opportunity to understand and use all the ideas and vocabulary his peers were currently learning, and she helped him develop his reading and writing skills until he could read and write easily for himself.

Plan to succeed.  As that wonderful mother of that out-standing young man did, and all the other persistent parents do whom I have worked with and continue to work with right now, create ambitious and exciting goals for your child, then keep them in sight, and each week take small steps towards those  goals. Each step counts.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

Help your child develop phonics skills and they learn to read for pleasure


reading

Why reading for pleasure helps your child

There is good evidence to suggest that young people who read for pleasure daily perform better in reading skills tests than those who never do. However, a recent survey carried out by the National Literacy Trust has indicated a decline in the amount of time children and young people spend reading for pleasure. Here are some ways to help your child read more if they are reluctant to read.

What are the benefits of reading for pleasure?

  • Pupils who say they enjoy reading for pleasure are more likely to score well on reading assessments compared to pupils who said they enjoyed reading less
  • There is some evidence to show that reading for pleasure is a more important determinant of children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status
  • It can have a positive impact on pupils’ emotional and social behaviour
  • It can have a positive impact on text, comprehension, and grammar.

How do you improve a child’s independent reading?

  • An important factor in developing reading for pleasure is providing choice – choice and interest are highly related
  • Parents and the home environment are essential to the early teaching of reading and fostering a love of reading; children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued
  • Reading for pleasure is strongly influenced by relationships between teachers and children, and children and families.

First learn how reading works so you can read easily.

High quality phonics teaching gives children a solid base on which to build as they progress through school. Children who master the mechanics of reading are well-placed to go on to develop a love of reading. The English Education Department is pushing phonics in schools and has established a phonics screening check for all students after year one. Here is further information about why they are spending so much money and energy on doing this.

Schools in New Zealand have also begun to teach phonics again the last few years. As a parent or grandparent you can make a big difference in a child’s ability to read easily and also to spell easily by making sure they understand the sound-letter relationships in words and teaching them phonics.

Make it fun and they learn faster. Play games with them so they they stay focused and interested, then they learn faster. For example you can play the game I invented with a six year old boy many years ago now. When you play The Weird Word Game  they will learn while they are competing with you.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

 

Warmly,

Anne

Your teen and you – No 4 – time to create a win-win deal


teen and parent negotiating

It’s time to get down and decide a win-win deal together and take turns speaking and listening to each other. For negotiations to be successful  create a situation where your teen will stay comfortable and alert enough to listen closely to you. The most important thing you can do is to keep any of your positive or negative emotions out of the negotiation. Instead aim to be helpful and positive about the agreement you are negotiating, but in a businesslike fashion, even when they are derailing the negotiation.

Here are my best tips when negotiating with teens:

  1. With teens who are extremely private, don’t stare in their eyes, stand higher than them, or even stand or sit very close to them. They might find that close proximity threatening and too personal. Instead, position yourself so that you can glance at or towards them occasionally.
  2. Speak briefly in short and simple sentences.
  3. Speak in a low, quiet, businesslike voice.
  4. Speak slowly and pause briefly between sentences, checking they have understood what you are saying.
  5. When they seem easily distracted, you might ask them to repeat your main ideas in a mild and helpful voice. Listen closely to their responses,
    • and if necessary briefly repeat any information they might not have heard, understood, or remembered.
    • Then check again that they have understood and remembered what you have said. Helpfully repeat this sequence until it is clear they are paying attention.
  6. If they interrupt you while talking you can choose to either stop talking briefly to listen closely to them to understand their concerns, or ask them to remember that point for when you are finished talking.
  7. There will be a time to ask for their opinion of what you have said. Listen closely to understand. Repeat what they have said until they feel you have understood them, then discuss any concerns they might have.
  8. Sometimes it is helpful when deepening your understanding of each others’ concerns to write down what those concerns are in a pros and cons list.
  9. Only accept win-win solutions or there is no deal. You both have to be relatively happy with the agreement otherwise you have one winner and one loser. However, the perfect agreement is hard to reach and you both might have to compromise on some of the things you wanted. Still, if you are both happy enough with the deal, then you have created a deal you can both live with.
  10. Take your time to find an agreement you both believe is the best possible one you could find. Sometimes you may negotiate for several days until you are both happy. There is no hurry to come to an agreement.
  11. Remember that all privileges relating to the agreement as  consequences are suspended until an agreement is reached. At some point this will negatively affect your teen and they will want solutions decided so that they can have their privileges back.

Put the final agreement in writing then you and your teen can always refresh your memories as to what was agreed. However, you can both agree to modify this agreement as you go along because situations change. I want to warn you that your teen might know you better than you realise. Many are shrewd negotiators who might push you to change agreements with them before you have had time to think coolly and calmly about what you really want, and what your bottom lines are.  So check out my suggestions on working with teens before you agree to any changes

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

Your teen and you: No 3 – Pay attention to the small print


coaching your teen study skillsWhen you create a firm agreement with your teen about anything, including homework, curfews, chores, and polite behaviour, always pay attention to the small print.

Take a little time and remember why you want to negotiate new behaviours with your teen. why you want things to change in your house. When you are sure that change needs to happen – it will.

You both need to know exactly what behaviours will keep or break the agreement. In other words, you both have to agree which behaviours they are to stop and which they are to begin or increase, and by how much, so that you will both notice when your teen is keeping or not keeping the agreement

How do you define exactly what your teen is required to do? It is too vague to both agree, for example, that your teen will do homework or household chores every day. You both need to decide on when, how much, and what they will do. The agreement should include all the factors you both need to know around time, amount, and exactly what work will be done. For example you both might agree that they get on with specific study or homework tasks or household chores within five minutes of being asked, or at an agreed-upon time, and that they work five days a week on housework or homework for at least one hour.

To ask for ‘respect’ from your young adult is also too vague (and think about how respect goes both ways and the agreement can also include you as well). For example ‘respectful behaviours’ might be that you both talk to each other in a quiet voice, or that you both show that you are listening by stopping what you are doing as soon as possible and then facing the person talking.

Perhaps your teen is misusing your car and you want them to treat your car ‘carefully’. Describe exactly which behaviours are ‘careful’ and which are not. You might want them to be ‘on time’ when you take them somewhere, so explain what ‘on time’ means to you and when they will be ‘late’. Perhaps you want them to complete ‘all chores each day’ so describe exactly what ‘complete’ means and what ‘all chores’ and ‘each day’ require from them.

Any vagueness in your agreement allows you both room for confusion, disagreement, and cheating. Clear, exact, and detailed descriptions of exactly what the agreement means, allows both you and your young adult to know exactly when the agreement made between you is kept, and when it is not kept.

Keep the time you are talking with your young adult brief, and then they will pay closer attention to what you say. Have you noticed that some adults talk too long on subjects they find important? I think we all do this at times, often without realising we have. I know I still do, especially when I’m enthusiastic or concerned about something. You may also talk too long to your young adult at times, and they may be using a few useful strategies to manage their boredom or frustration while you are talking.

The ‘switch off’ is the most common and politest strategy used by many. Your teen will seem to be listening attentively, while they have actually stopped listening to you after two or three sentences, and have began to think about something else. I have often been fooled when a student uses this strategy on me.

Sometimes a student looks so convincingly attentive that I don’t immediately notice that they have ‘switched off’. Your young adult ‘switches off’ for what they believe are very good reasons. Perhaps they have heard it all before, feel uncomfortable with your intense and emotional tone, don’t agree with you, feel blamed by you, or just don’t want to do what you want them to do.

My last post gives you some useful tips about how to talk with your teen so that they don’t ‘switch off’ on you. 

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

Your teen and you: No 2 – Creating a win-win study agreement.


negotiating with your teen respectfullyCreate a study agreement that both you and your teen are happy with.

Following on from the last post……I have some further ideas to increase your chances of success when you negotiate with your teen, about anything really, but in this case the amount of study they are doing. I talk again about the importance of listening openly and without judgement to your teen, and give more helpful tips on how to listen openly.  Then I explain why you should decide  exactly what study (how much, and which subjects) you want from the negotiation before it begins, and how helpful suspending any privileges/rewards/positive consequences attached to study will be while negotiating with your teen.

Stay respectful all the time: Keep listening until you and your teen know that you deeply understand their position. You don’t have to agree with the opinions your teen has about study. Just listen closely to them first before you  give your opinion, so that you understand as fully as possible what they are feeling and thinking.   A certain amount of humility, a big dollop of patience, total concentration, and keeping silent until they are finished, are your best tools. Perhaps if you understand their point of view without judgement, then your teen won’t experience the lack of power and control that you may have experienced at their age, and together you will find solutions about their study that work for both of you.

For any negotiation about study to succeed with your teen – think before you leap, and plan ahead.

Before negotiations: Carefully decide what your ‘bottom lines’ are.Your ‘bottom lines’ are the non-negotiable goals you consider necessary for their success, and also any actions your teen needs to take to reach those goals. Be clear about exactly what you want to achieve and what you expect from them, and hold firmly to those ‘bottom lines’ as you negotiate. Then negotiations will seldom get ‘derailed’ for long. ‘Derailing’ is when you are suddenly and unexpectedly diverted onto another topic, and so away from a topic that they don’t want discussed.

Before negotiations: Think about what happens when your teen is not cooperative and attempts to derail you. Many young adults develop excellent skills at ‘derailing’ those around them. Think back to the last time your young adult stopped you from discussing something with them. What happened in that conversation? Perhaps you were suddenly blamed for something you had done or not done at some earlier time; or your young adult suddenly felt ill or very tired; or they had no time to talk right then; or they became very upset about something that had recently happened to them. I’m sure you can think of more ways your young adult ‘derails’ you when they don’t want to listen.

You will know when you are being ‘derailed’ because you will experience a sudden strong and unexpected negative emotion towards them, such as pity, or annoyance, or worry, or anger. As you notice your teen derailing the negotiation process, take a moment to choose how you will respond. If you choose to be diverted from your topic of discussion, you can easily proceed with negotiations at some later time because you have decided your ‘bottom lines’.

Before negotiations: Write down exactly what you want. Write down what is not negotiable (your bottom line) and what is negotiable (where your young adult has ‘wriggle room’ to negotiate something more favourable for themselves). Then if you find yourself ‘derailed’, you can easily come back to exactly where you left off the negotiation at the next appropriate moment you and your young adult can find.

Before negotiations: Decide the positive consequences related to study.  Study is your teen’s work. A definition of ‘consequence’ is ‘something that follows as a result’.  Anything you provide for your teen not related to your teen’s basic needs could be deemed a privilege.

During Negotiations: Suspend positive consequences until you reach a study agreement that you and your teen are both happy with.I suggest that you suspend privileges that are become positive consequences related to study until  you both have created a win-win agreement. Your teen will usually want to continue negotiations with you as soon as possible to gain access to those positive consequences. Remember that negotiations with them can take as long as needed. There is no hurry. In fact not hurrying negotiations, and suspending any promised positive consequences until agreements are signed and sealed means that your teen will be the one in a hurry to get things sorted.

My next post helps you pay attention to the small print so that your teen and you always know what exactly is expected of them.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so.

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. I would like you to share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

Developing a respectful relationship with your teen


coaching your teen study skillsIf you want to develop a more adult relationship with your teen, the next few posts are particularly for you.

Be brave and plan to rock the family boat now. There is no better time! While you hold most of the purse strings you can create consequences that affect your teen quite easily. It becomes more difficult as your teen earns their own money or leaves home, so decide now what qualities and skills you want your teen to develop, and decide how you will help them develop those skills.

Teens experience rapid growth spurts and sudden surges of hormones. Many feel as though they are on an emotional roller-coaster. They doubt their ability to achieve goals they want, and might feel quickly defeated when there are difficulties. They also might hear from their friends that study is not that important, or they might want to go out and have adventures you might not approve of. There will be dramas, if not with your particular teen, then with their friends.

Help your teen succeed with their study: Take small steps most days not sudden panicky rushes of study just before exams.Your role as your teen’s family coach is to help them stay calm, focused and optimistic by helping them develop clear and exciting goals, and good study routines to achieve those goals, so they carry on working even when there are dramas in the rest of their life.

Before you speak – listen closely to your teen to understand . Remember back to a time when an adult didn’t understand or listen to you when you were a teen and talking about something important to you. Remember the feeling of powerlessness you felt when adults made important decisions that affected you, without consulting with you. And find ways to work more closely in partnership with your teen so they don’t experience the lack of power and control that you may have experienced.

Develop respectful decision-making gradually with your teen. Sometimes we parents believe that we know what is best for our children, and mostly we do. However, as our children become teens, we have to gradually share that decision-making with them so that they get the opportunity to learn how to make their own decisions, and reap the consequences of those decisions. A teen reminds me of a toddler you have on reins. As the child grows older you allow them to wander further away from you, but you still hold the reins. As with toddlers, teens need to be guided by us to take responsibility for their decisions. Then they grow into independent adults who no longer need our restraining hand, and who walk safely away from us.

The next post will suggest other ways you can develop a respectful relationship with your teen.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so.

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. Keep spreading my ideas and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

Positive Discipline 5: When it all goes wrong it’s severe consequences time.


how to negotiate homework with your teenWhen it all goes wrong – severe consequences step in.

Severe consequences are for when your child’s negative behaviours continue beyond acceptable limits after other consequences have been used consistently, and after two strong warnings.

 

Severe consequences are not punishments! Some or all of these consequences happen immediately and are non-negotiable; but at no point are they a punishment. Remember that your child is choosing and is usually more in control of their behaviours than we (and even they) probably realise. They also will be testing the boundaries and seeing if you stay firm and keep your end of the agreement.

Stay calm and take action immediately.

  • Down tools and stop coaching for that day. Walk away and have a calm and pleasant time without your child. You can shut yourself into a room if you can’t actually ‘walk away’. Removing yourself from the situation helps you stay calm, and also immediately stops escalation of any further arguments or discussion with your child. Being briefly alone is a time to think about what happened, and what needs to change. Think about your own thoughts and behaviours as well as your child’s. You are in control of your thoughts and actions aren’t you?  Changing what you are think and do will often change your child’s behaviour.
  • You can stop coaching and all agreed-upon privileges for longer than a day until you have decided what you will do to help your child develop ‘good student’ behaviour and stop ‘bad student’ behaviour. When you remove privileges until coaching resumes, your child will realise that when you said that privileges they receive depend on how they behave, you actually meant what you said.
  • Take as much thinking time as you need to decide what needs to change. Ask yourself, “What can I change to help my child develop into a good student?” Often the changes you decide to make are small ones that are surprisingly effective. Focus on what is within your power to change. For example, after checking your own behaviour and responses to your child, look at the positive and negative consequences in place, and the time and place you coach in. Gather ideas from trusted advisers around you, and read my other posts. My book ‘How to coach your children to be excellent students’ also has useful and easy to use strategies that can stop many negative behaviours children use.
  • Make a new coaching agreement or amend the old one with your child if you realise that the coaching agreement was not working well because it did not cover all important circumstances, or did not have effective consequences.

Tips
Tend towards being neutral with your attitude and words. Don’t gloat, blame, or ;feel particularly upset when they choose a negative consequence. Instead, use a neutral tone, and statements that include “you just chose to…” so that responsibility is clearly placed with your child, and you are never in the position of the nasty punishing coach.

Don’t be overly enthusiastic, encouraging, or relieved when your child chooses ‘good student’ behaviour. Instead praise briefly using a matter-of-fact and business-like tone. Then you give your child the message that ‘good student’ behaviour is normal student behaviour.

Save warm and extended praise for big changes in behaviour that are consistently happening for a while.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails because I only write every week or so as I’m very busy working with children and their families, tending and growing my own life, and writing my book.

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so hello fellow Twitter user! Don’t forget to Tweet this post if you like it, or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. Keep spreading my ideas and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families so they too can develop the skills to create exceptional children in their families.

Warmly,

Anne