So we’re almost at the end of the first term, and some of us may have better routines established in our homes than others… ahem…
I ended up having one of “those talks” with my kids the other day, you know the kind, the mom-has-a-nervous-breakdown-and-then-calls-a-family-meeting kind.
Well I took a different approach this time around, and maybe, just maybe I’ll achieve better results – or ideally they will. I thought I’d wait it out a bit before I share my fail-proof recipe with you, in case it’s not so fail-proof. Although let’s be serious, when it comes to young adults, nothing is fail-proof.
These are my:
3 questions to ask your teens to help them succeed:
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
This seems rather self-explanatory, right? But our children sometimes have so much going on that they’re just surviving really. And ten-to-one you’re in survival mode as well. I believe that the amount of time a mom spends in survival mode is directly proportional to the number of children she has – true story. When last have you and your teenager sat down, one on one, and discussed what he actually hopes to achieve? And doing well in a test doesn’t count. I mean what does he REALLY want to achieve? Does he hope to win an award at the end of the year? Does he want an A for all his subjects? Does he want to captain the soccer team? Allow him to be specific about his goals.
HOW WILL YOU ACHIEVE THIS GOAL?
This is the part where you get to explain that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Prompt him to give his input as well, steering him in the direction of the answers you hope to hear. For example, you could aim to get your child to a place where he can admit that watching less tv per day is going to free up time for learning / training for sport / reading a book / hanging out with friends etc. If those words come out of his mouth, you’re essentially not telling him what to do, and for him that’s a great feeling. It works for you too because you’re able to hold him accountable – this was his idea, remember? Help him break down into bite-sized chunks how he will achieve his goal. I find with my teens that it’s fairly easy for them to identify what they want to achieve, but they struggle when putting structures in place to get there. Keep referring back to the goal he has set for himself, to keep it real. For example, you could remind him that in order to obtain an A average he needs to have a timetable in place to prevent other activities from becoming obstacles in his road to success.
I went as far as discussing a morning and afternoon schedule, to improve time management. My teen had no idea she wasted so much time faffing in the mornings until we put it down on paper. You don’t need to cover this if your teen is managing their time well.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL?
This is a great question to ask your kids. Answering it makes them feel important like they are almost telling you what to do (we’ll let them think that, ok?) It tells your kids that you’re also human and that each child is different and might require different things from their parents. Some examples might include: a white board for my room so I can keep note of my own to-do list; coloured highlighters to help me learn; 5min with mom when I’ve completed my homework to check my maths or test my knowledge. Eventually, these will fall away as your involvement in homework time becomes less and less, as they walk the path to self-sufficient adulthood 🙂
We thought you might like this free printable to record your child’s goals and action plans – you’re welcome! We think it’s a good idea to revisit this schedule every quarter as timetables change.