Archive for September, 2011

The surprising truth is that while most parents hate it when their kids make excuses they are quite by accident creating the need for the child to do just that.  When you turn to the child and demand in an angry tone, “WHY did you DO that?”  or  “Why on Earth DIDN’T you do that?” you are often forcing the child to make up an excuse.

How can this be?  Easy.  You may be forgetting to look at the child’s point of view.  Most often when the furious parent demands a reason for the unwanted action by the child, the child has no idea why it happened.  If they do they are afraid or ashamed to admit the real reason for that action.

If you demand a reason for the action (or lack of action) the child has these choices:

1.  Make up a “reason”

2.  Admit a fear

3.  Admit something they are ashamed of

Do any of these choices sound appealing to you?

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Joella looked at Melissa wide eyed, like the proverbial deer in the headlights.  “Now what?” Melissa thought.  “We’ve been down this road before.”  This is not the first time (by any stretch of the imagination) that Joella had put off a school project until well after the last minute.  Melissa could feel the paralysis setting in.  This state of mind would not help your very bright, but often late, daughter get this paper done.

Genuinely wanting to be helpful and feeling the blood rush to her head, she excused herrself to go outside for a few deep breaths of fresh air.  As she stepped out onto the back deck and gazed up at the brightly twinkling stars above she began to look out into her daughter’s future.  Her brow furrowed with concern.  She could see Joella’s soccer scholarship being jeopardized because this year in 9th grade her grades had already dropped dramatically and it was only the 5th week of school.

Suddenly she remembered a demonstration she had seen last year at that very expensive seminar for parents of gifted underachievers.  Yes!  That’s it!  It is certainly worth a try.  She had seen this quick transformation process called “Isolate and Resize.”

Melissa strode confidently into Joella’s always wrecked room and exclaimed,  “Joella!  Let’s cut this paper down to size!”  Scrunched over her desk absently shuffling through some 3×5 cards, Joella peered up at her with just a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“I’m sorry Mom I meant to …”  “No, no, that’s ok” Melissa interrupted.  “Let’s try this thing I saw at the conference last year.”

Joella nodded in agreement.

Melissa swept out of the room and returned a couple of minutes later, her arms filled with….

What does Melissa have for her and will she really get this paper done?  Stay tuned.

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Sep
29

Time Box – Lock and Trade

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The basic idea of time boxing is that you put a box around a particular block of time on your calendar and mark it for a specific use.  Several time management experts recommend this basic core idea.  Many students try some form of it but often meet with failure.  The hardest thing to deal with is how to keep some flexibility in your schedule but still have some concrete time blocks that you can count on to get your most important things done.

This can be particularly difficult for children and teens.  You might think their challenges would be fewer and smaller than those of adults because they have so much of their time dictated by school schedules and time dictated after school activities.  The difficulty can come from their unsuccessful efforts to manage the time they can control.

For some children and teens obligations that are not specifically dictated in a time slot simply bear the calendar spot called “LATER”  which in child or teen speak can mean “whenever” or just plain “never”.

To successfully help your child learn to manage this problem you can introduce “Time Box Lock and Trade.”  In this simple system you look at the calendar page and ignore all the time dictated items such as school hours and specifically scheduled after school activities.  You can be sure those things will be done on time (well usually at least close to on time) because adults are controlling those scheduled times.

The time you will want to work with would be what is left after scheduled items.  For example, if your middle school or high school student has to write a term paper and hand it in 3 weeks from now, you will want to see some boxes on the calendar with the label “term paper.”  That is good for as far as it goes.  But here’s the catch.

Let’s say your son has been wanting to ask this very attractive girl out for over a month now and has just not had the nerve to do it.  His term paper is due on this coming Monday.  It is now Wednesday.  Suddenly at lunch your very happy son is talking to this exact same delightful young lady when she casually mentions her birthday party on Saturday at the lake and how much she would like for him to come.  “Perfect!” he thinks.  But then he remembers those red boxes on his calendar for Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.  Those red boxes are our “lock boxes” meaning they can’t be moved.  This is the “lock” portion of our “Time Box Lock and Trade” system.

Will he get to go the lake with all his friends and the girl of his dreams?  Stay tuned for our next post.

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How would you like to show your child or teen a short simple path from where they are now to where they want to be?  You can shine a light on the path to success.

When you set up situations where you child can see a definitely doable but reasonably challenging task you are starting to create a brick of success.  The next step is to be sure they have a workably clear path to navigate to completion of the task.

Now you have helped your child slice off a step of a larger task or select a bite sized task on their list.  That’s what we mean by “doable”.  You have helped slice or select a task that has some challenge but is not overwhelming.  That’s “reasonably challenging.”

The last step of “being sure they have a workably clear path” is a bit more complicated for many children.  On this step you must include considerations particular to your child such as distractability level and both physical and mental stamina.

Once you have done all this (and it will become 2nd nature to you after a while) you are helping your child engage in the confidence building activity of “Creating Bricks of Success.”

I welcome your comments and questions and would be delighted to see your comments below.  Best success to you and your child!

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