Does it ever seem like we live in a world of extremes? Sometimes educators comment, “The parents of some of our students spend absolutely no time involved in their children’s educations. The end result is predictable: Their kids rarely achieve up to their potential.”
Other times teachers say, “Some of our parents are so overinvolved in their children’s homework, school assignments, and grades that their kids can’t seem to function without someone doing most of the work for them.”
Considering these extremes, perhaps it makes sense to compare and contrast healthy versus unhealthy parental involvement, understanding that the healthy variety is essential for high achievement.
Healthy parental involvement means being aware of your kids’ assignments, asking questions about these assignments, and offering assistance if they ask. It means giving ideas and allowing them to do the lion’s share of the work.
Unhealthy parental involvement means constantly reminding and rescuing, essentially taking more responsibility for their work than they do.
I bet you can predict what kind of parent this little girl will become. John Major sends this wonderful example.
Little Grace was feeling quite grown up while experiencing the wonderful feelings of being an important, contributing member of the family. She was responsible for setting the dinner table. Continue reading What Will She Become?→
The other day I caught myself giving a lengthy speech about the importance of kids doing their chores and respecting their parents. Unfortunately, the speech was not to a group of people at a Love and Logic event. It was to my seven-year-old son in response to his eye-rolling and huffing about having to clean up after the dog.
I used to be a parenting expert. That is…until I had kids.
We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! With Christmas just a few weeks away, you may be having conversations like this with your kids:
“What do you guys want for Christmas this year?” Twelve-year-old Josh was quick to answer with a long list of the latest video games and electronic gadgets. Fourteen-year-old Jennifer answered. “Oh, I’m not as greedy as he is. I’m only asking for one thing this year.”
Astonished, their parents looked at each other, each thinking how much their daughter had matured this year. “What is that, sweetie?”
The kids are back in school and it won’t be long before they start getting report cards. One of the most common questions I’m asked by parents and educators is how to respond to bad grades.
The first thing to remember is that the child’s report card is the child’s…not ours. While it’s easy to get down on ourselves when kids perform poorly, it’s very important to our mental health and theirs to remember the following:
More and more really good kids are getting in big trouble with cell phones.
Teachers are pulling their hair out over students who spend more time text messaging than learning. Some students are even using phones to take inappropriate pictures of test answers…and each other!
Teen drivers and cell phones create havoc…and death!
Parents are finding themselves in constant battles with their kids over huge cell phone bills, lost phones, stolen phones, damaged phones, phones being used at the dinner table and during church, phones being taken away at school, etc.
Here are some suggestions:
Be a good model. Don’t use your phone while driving, and show respect for others by turning it off when you should.
Let your child know that they can have a phone only when they can pay for the privilege.
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that your kid has to have a phone for safety reasons.
If the phone is lost, stolen, or taken away at school, it’s gone. Don’t buy them another.
Take it away if it becomes a problem.
While this advice may seem old-fashioned, parents who follow it raise far more respectful and responsible kids.
There was a problem on the playground during recess today. Even though it involved only some of the classmates, the entire class was punished with loss of recess for two days. Patty and Wanda were incensed.
“Most of us were being good! It’s just not fair for all of us to miss recess,” they told their mothers. “You need to call the teacher and make her change her mind,” they insisted.
Wanda’s mother went to the phone, and when the teacher answered said, “Punishing all the kids for what a few of them did just doesn’t make sense. You just need to handle this in a better way. Both Wanda and I think that this is totally unfair!”
Patty’s mother called the teacher and said, “I’d like to share what the girls have told me about the recess problem and get your thoughts on it.”
I bet you know which mother’s concerns the teacher was more receptive to hearing and accepting.
I visited with this teacher. She told me that Wanda’s mother called first and that she immediately found herself being defensive about the situation. The call didn’t go well. The conversation she had with Patty’s mom went better.
She went on to say, “I didn’t feel defensive at all when Patty’s mom called. I liked her opening statement so well that I’m going to be using it in the future when I have to call parents about a problem.”
What was that opening statement? “I’d like to share what I’ve been hearing and get your thoughts.” It’s a surefire way to keep the other person from feeling attacked.
Learn more of these techniques on our Audio CD, Putting Parents at Ease. It’s all about home/school communication techniques that work for both teachers and parents.
Phil, a recent business school graduate, got his dream job. He did so well that he was invited to a retreat with the big shots of the company. Not only did he get to attend, but he also had a chance to rub elbows with the top man, the CEO of the company.
Almost jittery, he approached his idol, “Sir, I was told that I could ask you a question, and what I want to ask is what does it take to become as successful as you are?”
“Well, young man. Success like mine takes a whole series of good decisions.”
“Oh, sir, I’m sure that’s true, but what does it take to make those good decisions?”
“Well, here’s the hard part, son,” the older man responded with pride. “It takes wisdom.”
“Oh, thank you, sir. But that creates a burning question for me. How do you acquire such wisdom?”
“Bad decisions, son. It takes a whole lot of bad decisions. Wisdom comes from learning from your mistakes.” Continue reading Gaining Wisdom and Resilience→
To get a handle on what successful step-parents do, it’s helpful to first get a glimpse at what less successful ones try. I call the first well-intentioned yet doomed approach the “Wrecking Ball” step-parenting style. These folks take on the role of demolition expert in the family. They storm in with a crash, trying to rebuild every aspect of the kids’ behavior. Like drill sergeants, their favorite tools include lectures, threats, lots of new rules and plenty of micro-managing.
I call the second well-intentioned yet ineffective approach the “Refugee” step-parent style. Because they don’t want to step on any toes, these folks never really live in the home. Instead, they set up camp in the backyard. Peeking out of their tent screen, they watch the kids throw their daily refuse onto the lawn in front of them. Because they don’t want to insult the kids by trying to replace their “real” parent, these step-parents use no tools. They simply walk on eggshells, adopting an outsider, doormat role.
Successful step-parents obsessively follow the first rule of Love and Logic:
Take great care of yourself by setting limits without anger, lectures, threats, or repeated warnings.
Instead of trying to reconstruct through strict discipline…or walk on eggshells by remaining an outsider, they use Enforceable Statements to assertively describe how they will operate. Examples include:
I’ll listen when your voice is calm.
I’ll be happy to do the extra things I do for you when I feel respected.
I’ll get that for you when I see that you’ve finished your chores.
I argue at six o’clock on Saturday mornings.
I’ll let you know about that after I talk with your dad (or mom).
I’m fine with you having that as long as you have the money to pay for it.