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Parent Student contract: Focus on the WHY, not the HOW
  • Calendar Apr 06, 2018
  • User Jared Wells
  • Category In Uncategorized
  • Comments 0 Comments
In the end, all the tools, tips, and support we give to students to help them improve their organization, planning, and study skills are not going to work if the student is not motivated to improve. And by motivated, I mean willing to put in hard work, even if the work is initially unskilled and misses the mark. And initially, it will be unskilled as is the case when learning any new skill. What is important is the desire to improve goes beyond words into action. So how can we help students find that motivation? As adults, the real world gives us motivation every day. Get your work done, or you lose your job. Serve your clients well, or go out of business. The real world is a harsh teacher. For students, the consequences of doing poorly in a class can seem pretty artificial. Spend a semester doing fun things rather than studying math...and get an “F” in a class. It can be tough for students to find intrinsic motivation, so as parents we need to help them to experience the real world consequences of failure (and of course, the real world benefits of success.) This is where the Parent-Student contract comes into play. The Parent-Student contract recognizes that micromanaging your son/daughter is a stressful process (for you and your child) that simply doesn’t work in the long term. It’s about empowering your student to figure out the HOW on his or her own (and with whatever support you can or will provide them) and providing them a WHY: motivation, both positive and negative (just like in the real world!) for meeting your expectations. Give your student a good enough WHY, and they’ll figure the HOW out on their own (or with support that they will much more willingly accept!) Focusing on the HOW is doing things like -making sure your son starts his homework as soon as he gets home -forcing him to go to tutoring sessions he doesn’t want to go to -fighting with him over what time he needs to wake up in the morning to be on time Focusing on the WHY is doing things like -taking a smartphone away and giving him a flip phone instead if he misses any homework assignments -allowing her to stay out past curfew after a week of being ready to go to school on time. -monetary reward (why not...that’s a way adults get rewarded for good work, right?) for getting chores done on time without being asked. Certainly, you can advise over the “how”. You are more experienced, and more knowledgeable about how to get things done than is your son or daughter. But be a coach or a mentor. Necessity is the mother of invention. Be prepared to assist when asked or needed, but give your teenager good enough why’s and you’ll be amazed at their ingenuity! Continue here to read about how to create the Parent-Student contract.

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