A Blog post
Upkeeping your Parent-Student contract
- Apr 06, 2018
- Jared Wells
- In Uncategorized
- 0 Comments
So you’ve got your agreement with your child. What do you do from here? First, remember that it is not your job to determine HOW the expectations are met. That means, no micromanaging, no “nagging”. If our goal is to help our kids become self-directed workers and problem solvers, we need to give them the space to figure out how to succeed. That doesn’t mean you can’t provide advice and support when asked for it (and during the contract creation process, you should indeed make clear that you are available to provide support when asked!) But it needs to come from the student. Part of your contract could include a daily discussion about what is going on in each class, and the plan for succeed, if that close oversight is needed. It also means that consequences must be consistently enforced. Schedule a time every Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to check how your child did that week. If your son or daughter did not meet your expectations, help them problem solve what went wrong during the week and, most importantly, what your child could have done differently to succeed. You can also move to more frequent check in's (2 or 3 times per week) if that is the level of oversight that is needed! Remember, the purpose of consequences is not to cause pain. The purpose is to eliminate distractions that are getting in the way of success, and to safely simulate the kinds of consequences the real world is going to mete out if the student doesn’t live up to other people’s expectations. Just as we remove the training wheels from a bike once our child has shown she has the skill necessary to succeed without them, so too do we give our son a smartphone once he has shown he has the focus and discipline to use it responsibly. Taking the training wheels off the bike before your child is ready will necessarily lead to failure and pain. Periodically, you should re-evaluate your expectations for your child. The goal of course is that your child's competency will, over time, increase, meaning that your expectations should too. On the other hand, you might find that, in some areas, the expectations were too high, and might need to be adjusted downward for a time so that your child can experience success. Here is a sample contract. If this is a process you are interested in, we can offer consulting and mediation to help you create a contract with your son or daughter, and help set the tone for the process as well. It’s about helping your son or daughter gain the skills they’ll need to be independent, successful adults.
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