Parenting

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Teen, Lisa Read, Goaly Blog

You Don’t Have to Do it the Hard Way

The art of motivating a teen can resemble dentistry – there’s a lot of pushing, pulling, pain-laden groans and brute strength.

Unlike the dentist’s office where your dentist sees you for a few hours a year, you have to live with your teenager every day. Should you be content with the impasse you feel every time you try to motivate your son or daughter, or can inspiring them be more than the parental equivalent of pulling teeth?

We talked with expert parenting coach Lisa Read about the finer points of managing your teen’s motivation. She gave us three simple steps to make it happen.

1. Focus on connection first

The old saying “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” may be a little campy, but it’s 100 percent true.

You can spend hours lecturing your teen on right, wrong and what you’d do if you were them, but your effectiveness boils down to your ability to connect with your son or daughter.

“If a teen feels that you really are interested in their well-being, they are far more likely to listen to your advice.”

“If a teen feels that you really are interested in their well-being, they are far more likely to listen to your advice,” Read said. “Teenagers often complain to me that they’re not listened to by the adults in their lives, they’re just told what to do.”

2. Offer choices

“You will do this” is not nearly as effective as “Here are three different jobs you can do,’ Read said. Giving your teen choices allows them to take ownership over their daily routine.

Teenager, Lisa Read, Goaly Blog

 

“If you’re trying to motivate a teen to be more helpful around the home, for example, you could discuss with them what your needs are,” Read said, “and ask them to come up with ideas about what they could do to help.”

Allowing them to choose their job or their task gives them a small slice of ownership in your plan.

“This gives them a sense of control over their situation, and you still get to have a tidier house,” Read said.

3. Create buy-in

Teenagers are much more willing to help you or help themselves when they can see the bigger picture behind what they’re doing.

“If you want a teenager to be motivated, they need to buy into the purpose behind what you’re wanting them to do.”

“If you want a teenager to be motivated, they need to buy into the purpose behind what you’re wanting them to do,” Read said. “Think about the outcome you’re aiming for and ask yourself, ‘What would have got me motivated when I was a teenager myself?”

As you go through this process, you’ll notice most of your own memories will involve three factors, Read said:

  • Inspiring stories
  • Positive encouragement
  • Clearly setting out expectations all help

Want Some More Parenting Tips?

Lisa Read’s Goaly video strategy is titled “Relieving Mother Guilt”. Her free step-by-step sessions help moms work through their feelings and thoughts in order to bring them to a point of freedom and confidence. Dads can benefit, too.

In the meantime, take a look at Lisa’s introduction on Goaly’s YouTube channel:

Classroom, Motivating Teenagers, Goaly Life Coach Blog

It’s not impossible to motivate your teenager.

This week we talked with academic coach Hayden Lee who specialize in working with teenagers and families. If there is anything we’ve learned from them, it’s that teenagers have the tremendous potential to surprise not only you, but themselves as well.

 

In most cases, though, that surprising ability doesn’t happen magically. It takes a discerning parent, guardian or educator to draw out the awesome which lies just beneath the surface of their teenager’s rather disinterested gaze.

1. Identify a short-term goal

While it may sound deliciously idealistic to help your teenager create a massive goal that doesn’t seem possible, academic coach Hayden Lee says taking small steps is a great way to increase the likelihood your teenager will follow through on his or her goal. 

Creating a short-term goal makes the goal more manageable.

“Creating a short-term goal makes the goal more manageable,” Lee said. “Using the school calendar is a good marker.”

As an example, Hayden said using the end of the semester is a great goal for students who want to raise their grades.

2. Figure out what your teenager needs to transform in himself or herself.

Once the goal is set in place, your teenager can compare what that goal requires to their current state of mind, pattern of thinking or habitual actions. 

Identify what change that you need to make in yourself in order to make that goal easier to achieve.

In most cases, there will be a disconnect between the desired goal – in this case, getting better grades by the end of the semester – and the desired behavior to reach that goal.

“Identify what change you need to make in yourself in order to make that goal easier to achieve,” Lee said.

In the case of his example  (the student who wants to raise his or her grades by the end of the semester), the student might realize they have to take school more seriously in order to reach their goal.

3. Discover the “how” of your goal.

Goals are a great thing to have, Lee said, but they have a tendency to be vague. They might answer the question of “What?” but they don’t always answer the question of “How?”

Answering the “how” aspect of your goal can be just as important as the goal itself. 

Start making concrete and specific action steps that are within your control.

“Start making concrete and specific action steps that are within your control that will contribute toward your goal,” Lee said. “Using the example above, since the teen wants to improve his grades and wants to put in more effort in school, his action step can be to write in his planner every day and to plan out exactly what time he will begin homework during the week.

4. Plan out what you’ll do after school

It’s easy to lose sight of a goal if you aren’t reminded of it every day through intentional, direct planning.

This principle carries over into the life of your teenager. Reaching their goal will be much easier if they have a constant sense of direction and purpose – planning each school day is an invaluable asset to this sense of forward movement. 

It’s much easier to stay motivated when you know exactly what to do and when to do it.

“It’s much easier to stay motivated when you know exactly what to do and when to do it,” Lee said. “Encourage your teenager to use a planner every day in every class in which to write down their homework and to plan out how they will spend their time after school.”

One of the best ways to do this is to have your teenager set aside time on Sunday night to do most of the planning. With planner in hand, they can write out their schedule for each day, including what homework/project is due and what they’ll accomplish after school.

 

Need a Little More Motivational Wisdom?

Hayden Lee’s step-by-step strategy, “Sustaining Motivation”, gives you and your teenager nine quick videos which can help you both maintain your motivation for the things in which you want to succeed.

Click here to get started on “Sustaining Motivation”!

 

Photo Credit: Christopher Sessums, Flickr Creative Commons

Kathy Caprino is one of many coaches who’ve donated their time and expertise to Goaly’s free, step-by-step video strategies for personal development. Kathy is an expert in helping women achieve career success and bliss.

Today, Kathy is sharing with us a post she wrote for Forbes titled  “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders”. The article has been read around 7 million times ; it’s a must for any parent. Enjoy!

Kathy Caprino

While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors.

As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be. 

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today — coddling and crippling them — and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be.

Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their FutureArtificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Tim had this to share about the 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:

1. We don’t let our children experience risk

We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect.

Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults.  

The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. 

Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

2. We rescue too quickly

Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and over-indulge our children with “assistance,” we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own.

Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. 

It’s parenting for the short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, kids get used to someone rescuing them: “If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.”

When in reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.

3. We rave too easily

The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend a little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner.

This “everyone-gets-a-trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality.

This “everyone-gets-a-trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now indicating this method has unintended consequences.

When we rave too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it.

4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well

Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what they really value and need.

As parents, we tend to give them what they want when rewarding our children, especially with multiple kids. When one does well in something, we feel it’s unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds.

Be careful not to teach them a good grade is rewarded by a trip to the mall. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.

5. We don’t share our past mistakes

Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll need to try things on their own.

We as adults must let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.)

Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience.

Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.

6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity

Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That’s not the case.

Some professional athletes and Hollywood starlets, for example, possess unimaginable talent, but still get caught in a public scandal.

Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That’s not the case.

 Just because giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas.

There is no magic “age of responsibility” or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves than your child does, you may be delaying your child’s independence.

7. We don’t practice what we preach

As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. To help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their words and actions.

As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies will surface and slowly erode character.

As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies will surface and slowly erode character. Watch yourself in the little ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice too. If you don’t cut corners, for example, they will know it’s not acceptable for them to either.

Show your kids what it means to give selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or with a community group. Leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will take note and do the same.

Fear and Lack of Understanding

Why do parents engage in these behaviors (what are they afraid of if they don’t)? Do these behaviors come from fear or from poor understanding of what strong parenting (with good boundaries) is? Tim has some great answers for us:

“I think both fear and lack of understanding play a role here, but it leads with the fact that each generation of parents is usually compensating for something the previous generation did. The primary adults in kids’ lives today have focused on now rather than later. It’s about their happiness today not their readiness tomorrow. I suspect it’s a reaction.

The primary adults in kids’ lives today have focused on now rather than later. It’s about their happiness today not their readiness tomorrow. 

Many parents today had Moms and Dads who were all about getting ready for tomorrow: saving money, not spending it, and getting ready for retirement. In response, many of us bought into the message: embrace the moment. You deserve it. Enjoy today. And we did.

For many, it resulted in credit card debt and the inability to delay gratification. This may be the crux of our challenge. The truth is, parents who are able to focus on tomorrow, not just today, produce better results.”

How can parents move away from these negative behaviors (without having to hire a family therapist to help)?

Tim says: “It’s important for parents to become exceedingly self-aware of their words and actions when interacting with their children, or with others when their children are nearby. Care enough to train them, not merely treat them to a good life. Coach them, more than coddle. “

“Coaching can be an intimidating world for parents. Here’s a few tips on how to coach well:

1. Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about adulthood.

2. Allow them to attempt things that stretch them and even let them fail.

3. Discuss future consequences if they fail to master certain disciplines.

4. Aid them in matching their strengths to real-world problems.

5. Furnish projects that require patience, so they learn to delay gratification.

6. Teach them that life is about choices and trade-offs; they can’t do everything.

7. Initiate (or simulate) adult tasks like paying bills or making business deals.

8. Introduce them to potential mentors from your network.

9. Help them envision a fulfilling future, and then discuss the steps to get there.

10. Celebrate progress they make toward autonomy and responsibility.

How are you parenting your children? Are you sacrificing their long-term growth for short-term comfort?

 

This article was originally posted on Forbes.com and written by Kathy Caprino. Click here to read the original article.

Kathy also has several other amazing articles on Forbes.com, including: “7 Ways You’re Hurting Your Daughter’s Future“, “Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid“, “The 7 Types Of People Who Never Succeed At Work” and “Successful People: The 8 Self-Limiting Behaviors They Avoid