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How Parents Get in the Way of Student Success

I’m sure many of you have noticed, as I have often, that when we have experience in something, it’s easy to want to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do.  It’s SO tempting, especially given my line of work, to tell my children exactly what they need to do, and how they need to do it – and I have to mentally check myself to stop. Much as we hate to admit it, sometimes we as parents, can be part of the problem when it comes to fostering independence and ownership in our children – but ultimately, this IS the goal and what it REALLY takes for individuals to develop lasting skills to succeed and manage both in school and in life. Below are several of the themes and observations we’ve seen, time and again, in our 15+ years of executive functioning skills coaching:
  • Kids are missing key life and academic skills because parents do everything for them (chores, making plans, talking to teachers, checking assignments, organizing schedules, etc.)
  • Parents have a tendency to “expect” that kids know how to do things without having taught the skills (then become frustrated when little things become a big deal)
  • Parents micromanage and enable their kids in an effort to “fix” things
  • Parents don’t understand what is holding kids back and how to address underlying issues
  • Inconsistent consequences, frustrated parents, and unrealistic expectations lead to decreased confidence and behavioral or mental health concerns
  • Parents let their own fears drive decisions and/ or project their feelings onto their kids – forgetting who it is really about
At some level, we all know that this may not be the best way. Many-a-time we pine for the “old days”, when life was slower and kids were safer, when there was time to allow natural consequences to unfold, and for kids to learn as they grew. Unfortunately, nowadays, we are rushed, over-worked, and juggling multiple roles. We’ve been there, and we get it. That said, if we desire that independence, ownership and confidence so many of us do for our children, we need to figure out HOW to encourage this to happen.  It doesn’t have to be that hard, but it will take buy-in, consistent practice, and repetition in the face of set-back.
  • Learn how to best support, not enable, children
  • Give students the right skills to become independent and learn to do all of this for themselves
  • Build these skills starting in elementary school, but it’s not too late in junior high, high school, or even college
  • Break down goals and tasks WITH students (not FOR them) –make everything specific, visual and concrete
  • Set the bar high, but TEACH them HOW – focus on the process for everything they do
  • Help foster and access their own unique strengths in order to excel
  • Use easy to understand tools and strategies
  • Allow them to fail, to communicate and to do for themselves; when something doesn’t work out, they learn to figure out (and you can teach) what might work better
If you are a regular follower of our blog, you will soon notice that there are several underlying themes, and these two pop-up repeatedly: consistency and practice. We can provide you with the tools and training and point you in the right direction – but without consistency and practice, no bad habit can get replaced, nor a new habit take its place. Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. We will be frequently posting videos and interviews with practical and easy to implement ideas and strategies, so be sure to visit often! For more information and access to tools, guides, and other tips, visit us on the web at www.Solutionsforstudentsuccess.com or Contact us, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get a FREE downloadable student planner! 
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1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    Angela Conliffe
    April 17, 2019

    You both are great! So happy that your business is expanding. You helped my daughter, Devin, so very much. We will see you in the near future as we have to work on new skills.

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