coaching, goal-setting, homework, teens, Working with teens

Helping your teen study when they are non-compliant: What to look out for.


Goals help keep your teen steady and strong when life is difficult.

planning to succeed

 

 

 

Study goals are most easily achieved by taking small steps most days, not by cramming in lots of information just before exams. At this stage of their life they experience rapid growth spurts and sudden surges of hormones. There are often dramas, if not with your young adult then with their friends. Many young adults feel as though they are on an emotional roller-coaster. Although of course there are times they need to take breaks when there is a major event in their lives or in your family’s life, goals will still help them focus on their study again as soon as possible.

Particularly as young adults they can often doubt their ability to achieve goals they want and might feel easily defeated when there are difficulties. They might also hear from some of their friends that study is not really that important. They might become side-tracked by friends into behaviours not conducive to good study habits such as on-line games and drinking and drugs.  (As a side-issue, Gaming Disorder has become a “Condition for Further Study” in the DSM-5(APA 2013).  It is not yet an “official” disorder, but a condition on which the American Psychiatric Association request additional research). Our role as their support is to help them stay calm, focused, and optimistic, by developing goals with them, and then the steady study routines and consequences useful to achieving those goals.

I aim to never give up reaching for the goals students want so that they can continue reaching for them too. Once a teen makes an agreement with me, I expect them to honour their agreements. When study agreements aren’t kept, I expect them to explain why they didn’t keep them. If it seems useful, we then discuss whether they want to change their goals and/or the agreement. I then expect them to explain what they will do to keep the agreement we have so that they can achieve the goals they want.

Teens might suffer from unhelpful study attitudes, poor study skills, and low self-belief In my experience it can sometimes take weeks before they fully honour our coaching agreement, especially those who have not had to be responsible for their actions yet. I aim to steadfastly remain as firm and consistently helpful and respectful as I can be, so they will take responsibility for their own learning and will reach the goals we decided on together.

Does your teen show non-compliance and how does that appear? Students are usually non-compliant when they have not yet taken responsibility for their learning. Sometimes they might actively fight your decisions by arguing, shouting, and refusing. Although those behaviours might shock and upset you, it can be easier to communicate with young adults who are directly and openly fighting with you.

If your teen does not believe that they have the power to actively and openly fight you, they will often be non-compliant in quieter and more passive ways that are often quite difficult to notice. They might talk with you only when necessary, or do what they want to do when you are not looking, or unconsciously sabotage agreements between you while seeming to agree with you. Unconscious sabotage is the hardest to pinpoint and very common in teens and in children. Such sabotage can include when they forget information, appointments, or agreements, lose equipment and books, seem unable to do a simple task set them that they could do previously, often feel sick or tired when it is time to work, seem unable to concentrate, sulk and not talk with you except when they need to, talk incessantly about unrelated matters or pick fights with you about unrelated issues so that you get sidetracked. If your teen has some sort of related underlying condition, they might also behave in some of those ways, but even then I have found that those behaviours can often be minimised when they take full responsibility for their own learning and you both work to find ways that they can learn more easily.

You might not realise at first that many of these behaviours are non-compliant ones and your young adult might not believe that those behaviours are either. Perhaps for example both of you believe that they are naturally forgetful or not able to concentrate well or are often tired. Notice however that your young adult might not forget information they find important and want to remember, that they can be alert, energised and ready for activities they like, and that they can concentrate for hours to master a skill they enjoy doing. It often just depends on their state of mind when sitting down to study. Are they fully on board with getting on with the required work to reach their goals or are they not? It is usually that simple.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails.

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Warmly,

Anne

 

 

coaching, goal-setting, homework, Working with teens

Your teen and you: No 2 – Creating a win-win study agreement.


negotiating with your teen respectfullyCreate a study agreement that both you and your teen are happy with.

Following on from the last post……I have some further ideas to increase your chances of success when you negotiate with your teen, about anything really, but in this case the amount of study they are doing. I talk again about the importance of listening openly and without judgement to your teen, and give more helpful tips on how to listen openly.  Then I explain why you should decide  exactly what study (how much, and which subjects) you want from the negotiation before it begins, and how helpful suspending any privileges/rewards/positive consequences attached to study will be while negotiating with your teen.

Stay respectful all the time: Keep listening until you and your teen know that you deeply understand their position. You don’t have to agree with the opinions your teen has about study. Just listen closely to them first before you  give your opinion, so that you understand as fully as possible what they are feeling and thinking.   A certain amount of humility, a big dollop of patience, total concentration, and keeping silent until they are finished, are your best tools. Perhaps if you understand their point of view without judgement, then your teen won’t experience the lack of power and control that you may have experienced at their age, and together you will find solutions about their study that work for both of you.

For any negotiation about study to succeed with your teen – think before you leap, and plan ahead.

Before negotiations: Carefully decide what your ‘bottom lines’ are.Your ‘bottom lines’ are the non-negotiable goals you consider necessary for their success, and also any actions your teen needs to take to reach those goals. Be clear about exactly what you want to achieve and what you expect from them, and hold firmly to those ‘bottom lines’ as you negotiate. Then negotiations will seldom get ‘derailed’ for long. ‘Derailing’ is when you are suddenly and unexpectedly diverted onto another topic, and so away from a topic that they don’t want discussed.

Before negotiations: Think about what happens when your teen is not cooperative and attempts to derail you. Many young adults develop excellent skills at ‘derailing’ those around them. Think back to the last time your young adult stopped you from discussing something with them. What happened in that conversation? Perhaps you were suddenly blamed for something you had done or not done at some earlier time; or your young adult suddenly felt ill or very tired; or they had no time to talk right then; or they became very upset about something that had recently happened to them. I’m sure you can think of more ways your young adult ‘derails’ you when they don’t want to listen.

You will know when you are being ‘derailed’ because you will experience a sudden strong and unexpected negative emotion towards them, such as pity, or annoyance, or worry, or anger. As you notice your teen derailing the negotiation process, take a moment to choose how you will respond. If you choose to be diverted from your topic of discussion, you can easily proceed with negotiations at some later time because you have decided your ‘bottom lines’.

Before negotiations: Write down exactly what you want. Write down what is not negotiable (your bottom line) and what is negotiable (where your young adult has ‘wriggle room’ to negotiate something more favourable for themselves). Then if you find yourself ‘derailed’, you can easily come back to exactly where you left off the negotiation at the next appropriate moment you and your young adult can find.

Before negotiations: Decide the positive consequences related to study.  Study is your teen’s work. A definition of ‘consequence’ is ‘something that follows as a result’.  Anything you provide for your teen not related to your teen’s basic needs could be deemed a privilege.

During Negotiations: Suspend positive consequences until you reach a study agreement that you and your teen are both happy with.I suggest that you suspend privileges that are become positive consequences related to study until  you both have created a win-win agreement. Your teen will usually want to continue negotiations with you as soon as possible to gain access to those positive consequences. Remember that negotiations with them can take as long as needed. There is no hurry. In fact not hurrying negotiations, and suspending any promised positive consequences until agreements are signed and sealed means that your teen will be the one in a hurry to get things sorted.

My next post helps you pay attention to the small print so that your teen and you always know what exactly is expected of them.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so.

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so please Tweet this post or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. I would like you to share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting, homework

Positive Discipline 4: Clinching a fair deal


A positive discipline approach: Consequences
negotiating with your teen

Many family coaches waste valuable energy and coaching time because they either listen to their child too much and feel powerless and exhausted by the excessive arguments and discussion, or they are afraid of losing control of the coaching situation, so don’t listen enough and their child feels powerless.

The positive discipline approach means you both have enough power and control when coaching because you and your child both understand that they are in charge of their behaviours, and through choosing ‘good’ or ‘bad’ student behaviours, they choose the associated consequences. Your role as their coach is to step out of the way as they make their choices, and then make sure that the consequences always happen.

Step two: Make a coaching agreement with your child that you both find fair.

The purpose of the agreement is to create a positive and respectful coaching environment that you both are responsible for maintaining.‘Good’ and ‘bad’ definitions of student behaviour are understood, and your child also understands the consequences in place for when they show both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ student behaviour.

Your behaviour as their coach can also be included in the coaching agreement. For example, your child might want you to stay patient and not use sarcasm or raise your voice. You can also decide negative consequences for yourself if you don’t use good coaching behaviours if you think that might develop a more respectful coaching atmosphere. As when deciding consequences for your child, keep most consequences small, the atmosphere light, and stay the final judge. I often use the first up to five game as the consequence because it is easy to use, and fun. The prize can be a small snack for the winner.

The most effective consequences are relatively effortless for you to implement and monitor, while giving your child immediate pleasure or pain. Don’t rush into any agreements before you have:

  • Made sure consequences can be put into action fairly immediately, and are easy to administer and monitor.
  • Checked that the positive consequences are something they really do want, and the negative consequences something they definitely don’t want.
  • Simplified consequences so they don’t cost you much time, energy, or money.
  • Decided how to increase the severity of the negative consequences if your child continues to choose to use ‘bad student’ behaviours.

Small positive consequences that you can give easily and without hesitation:

  • Praise and a smile.
  • Privileges. Privileges are anything you give your child besides the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, warmth, and love). Privileges include time with anything that they consider fun, such as computer time, DVD or TV time, or skateboard/scooter time.
  • Tangible rewards. This includes small amounts of pocket money, special food, fun toys, books, outings, and points earned towards something bigger they want.

Small negative consequences that you can give easily and without hesitation

  • You gain a point for specific examples of ‘bad student’ behaviour and they gain one for specific examples of ‘good student’ behaviour and the winner is the one who gets the first 5 points and a small reward.
  • A longer coaching time to catch up on the work not done. Add a minute for each minute lost with ‘bad student’ behaviour. Write each minute up immediately and somewhere your child can see, and then erase it after they have worked for that minute.
  • They lose or gain minutes to be used on a favourite and privileged past-time.

More serious consequences that need careful monitoring from you:

  • Losing privileges for a set amount of time. There are as many variations on the ‘losing privileges scenario as there are families. A privilege is anything they like to do or have that is not directly related to their physical or mental well-being.
    • I suggest you make the loss of privilege happen as immediately as possible so that they feel the pain of that loss very soon after their ‘poor student’ behaviour.
    • Give them hope by making it a short period of loss. Time for privileges can be reckoned per minutes, hours, days, or per weeks so that your child has renewed opportunities to have that privilege again soon.
    • No negotiation after. Time, money, or points lost can’t be earned back.
    • Privileges can decrease in set increments. For example, each ‘bad student’ behaviour could lose them 15 minutes of the agreed-upon time with a computer game for that day. Create an agreement that works for you and your child, and modify it until it effectively supports your child to change any unhelpful ‘bad student’ behaviours.
  • They lose small amounts of pocket money. For example, they could earn weekly pocket money for daily chores and ‘good student’ behaviour, but lose a set amount of money for uncompleted chores and for each ‘bad student’ behaviour. You could monitor pocket money with a chart.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails because I only write every week or so as I’m very busy working with children and their families, tending and growing my own life, and writing my book.

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so hello fellow Twitter user! Don’t forget to Tweet this post if you like it, or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. Keep spreading my ideas and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families so they too can develop the skills to create exceptional children in their families.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting, homework, Uncategorized

Positive Discipline part 3: First steps in seizing control respectfully


children learn what they livePositive Discipline: How to stay respectful and seize control.

An important strength of positive discipline is that you can respond quickly and assertively and with confidence when your child behaves badly. Before the positive discipline approach you may have reacted emotionally when your child wasn’t cooperating with you, or refusing to work with you, and you probably felt and expressed anger, resentment, sarcasm or helplessness.

Now, with an agreement about what exactly are acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, and the consequences for acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, you will find it much easier to be fair and consistent and calm and reasonable when your child chooses ‘bad student’ behaviours.

You will no longer need to chose moment by moment how to respond to your child’s ‘bad’ or ‘good’ behaviours and you won’t need to get involved or highly emotional about what they are doing or not doing anymore. Instead you and your child will realise that they have made a choice knowing the consequences of that choice, and as their coach all you have to do is step out of the way while your child experiences the results or consequences of their behaviours.

An important and exciting side-effect of the positive discipline approach is that your child learns that they have the power to change their behaviours in an acceptable way to create the natural outcomes or consequences they want. Over time as they learn to control their thoughts and emotions and behaviours with you, you will help them change negative and unhelpful behaviours at school too.

Positive discipline – the steps to make it work. Follow these steps carefully and you should be able to easily set up a new and more respectful coaching situation in your home.

Step one: Take time to plan ahead very carefully!

Decide exactly what behaviours you need, both from your child and from yourself. Ask yourself, “What does my child need to do so that I can coach and they can learn?” Then ask yourself, “How do I need to act to encourage those behaviours?”

Calm actions and words are the key to using positive discipline with your child, so plan for all the possible positive and negative scenarios you can think of. Decide what you will say (keep it brief), your tone of voice (keep it low), and your gestures (keep them simple) when your child behaves like a ‘good student’ or like a ‘bad student’. Then you can always use the broken record’ strategy, where you have several standard, brief responses for most situations that arise, and you repeat them just as a broken record/CD repeats part of a song. The broken record strategy allows you to respond decisively, smoothly, calmly and automatically, using minimal energy and maximum impact, to nearly all of your child’s behaviours. Step Two is in the following post.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

coaching, goal-setting, homework

A positive discipline approach part 2: Fair agreements and consequences


A definition of consequences I like is, ‘something that follows as a result.

teaching your chilod to succeedWe create our own consequences in our lives. An excellent example of this for yourself as a parent is the positive changes you can create in your life when you focus on what you can change rather than what is beyond your control.

A fair and consistent coaching agreement is within your control and is the foundation of a successful and respectful positive discipline approach. A fair coaching agreement describes exactly what behaviours you expect from your child, what support they can expect from you, and all the related consequences.

Behaviours and their consequences must be clearly described so there is no room for disagreement, confusion, argument or disappointment and frustration. For example any ‘good student’ behaviour is behaviour that helps your child work well when being coached, and any ‘bad student’ behaviour is behaviour that stops them from working well. You can decide together what exactly  ‘good student behaviour’ and ‘bad student behaviour’  is; and then come to agreements about all the related consequences. I adapted ideas from The Assertive Discipline method  which has been written to help teachers control behaviours in classrooms, so that families can use many of the excellent ideas Lee Cantor describes at home with their children.

A consequence definition: Something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. Find ways to give lots more positive acknowledgement and recognition of ‘good student’ behaviour, while still including negative consequences for ‘bad student’ behaviour. We often stop noticing the positive things our children are doing because we are so worried about the negative unhelpful things. If you don’t like the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ terms, you can find other words that work better for you. For instance, depending on the child, I might describe their behaviour as ‘acting like a mature student’ or ‘not acting maturely’ or I might use age as a measure and say that they are ‘acting nine years old’ or ‘acting younger than their age and three years old’.

I have found that positive discipline works for anyone. I use it with very young children, teens, young adults, and those children and young adults with disabilities. A strong belief underlying it is that our children choose moment by moment how they will behave; and even when a student seems to be out of control and seems unable to behave as a ‘good student’ does, they at some point choose to lose control and act badly, and so are still responsible for their actions. Read part of a series of emails exchanged with one of my families as they reclaimed their parenting power .

I believe that we adults often underestimate our children’s awareness and intelligence. I am still amazed at how fast a child can make radical changes in behaviour when they really do want the positive consequences and do want to avoid the negative consequences.  I have found that  children with disabilities are especially allowed to behave in ways that are considered unacceptable for children without disabilities. Don’t treat them as unable to change their behaviours. Maybe you think you are being most loving but perhaps instead you are limiting their options with your beliefs, and actually being disrespectful. Even the most extreme seemingly compulsive behaviour may be able to be modified. In my experience with my daughter who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and with other children and young adults with disabilities, many consciously and deliberately make choices about how they will act, even when that does not seem the case at the time; and when there are clear agreed-upon positive and negative consequences for their actions, behaviours that they seemed unable to change, are changed.

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails because I only write every week or so as I’m very busy working with children and their families, tending and growing my own life, and writing my book.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

goal-setting, homework, Working with teens

Negotiating homework with your teen: Part 4 – How to still negotiate when it is hard


How to be a shrewd negotiator with your teen.

When agreement about homework is not easily reached, sit back and listen more closely.

negotiating with your teen
Listen closely to understand your teen

Deeply understand what your teen is saying and doing before you open your mouth to speak. When/if they become unhappy with the deal you are negotiating at any point… stop talking and take a deep, slow breath. Never, ever argue with them! You will always lose even if you seem to win. You will lose your temper, your composure, the argument, the homework agreement you were trying to make with your child, etc..

If they have difficulties with anything you are suggesting, take as much time as necessary, at a time you are both able to listen to each other, to listen closely to your child. When they know you deeply understand their position and concerns, they will be able to to listen to your thoughts and concerns. Then you will both be able to find mutually satisfactory solutions together.

Important grounds for successful negotiation.

1. Negotiate when you are both ready. Find a mutually agreed upon time to listen closely. Make it a time when you are both not feel rushed, or tired, or upset, then you will both be more likely to just listen without defending or attacking. Even if things become a little heated, you will both still be able to think clearer and stay reasonably polite.

2. Have a firm ‘bottom line’. For example if you want them to improve their reading skills as quickly as possible, you might decide that 30 minutes reading a night five nights a week is a good beginning. I seldom shift from my bottom line, because I believe that it is what is required for my student to achieve well. However, stay flexible still, and if after discussion 30 minutes seems too much for them, you can agree to 20 minutes with the proviso that next negotiation time you want it to raise to 30 minutes. Next negotiation time can be any time you consider they are enjoying reading more, and reading more easily.

3 Ask more from them than you expect to get. Then be willing to negotiate down from there. I also make sure that they somehow get what they really want. When you listen closely to your child, you will learn more about them, their worries, and their goals. Continue to take into account their concerns as you negotiate.

4. Keep negotiating until the homework deal between you and your child is extremely clear for both of you.

The conversation might go like this:-
“I’d like to help you become a better reader, would you like this?”
Child responds and you listen carefully.
If they respond with ‘yes’ you can continue negotiations using  questions about how long/how often/what books/when and where we’ll read. Remember to check in with them and see if they really agree after each question.
For example:
“What about we read together after school most days for 20 minutes. Is that okay with you?”
“I’d like to read together five times a week. Do you think we can?”
“Would you like me to take turns reading (share-read) with you and then we can pick a book that is harder but more fun. What do you think?”
“Would you like to read at the table or on the sofa?”

If they respond with ‘no’ at any p0int, listen closely to what they are worried about and then together find solutions that suit you both. A successful negotiation is when you are both happy with the agreement reached.

Some of their concerns might be that:

You will want to read boring books with them. Assure them they have to agree with the choice of book and that they are to pick one that is fun for them.
You will lose your patience and be critical of them. Promise them that you will do your best to be a good coach. Tell them you are learning how to coach and might make mistakes. Come to deals as to how you will both handle difficult situations so they feel safe and in control too.
It is hard it is for them to read for an extended length of time. You can negotiate a shorter time, or offer to share read with them.
They might not want to miss play time or television. Take their concerns seriously, and find solutions that you are both happy with.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

 

goal-setting, homework, Working with teens

Your teen and homework : Part 5 – further tips with respectful negotiation


Stay respectful with your teen throughout the whole homework negotiation process, and never give up!

how to negotiate homework with your teenDon’t hurry homework negotiations. Even when feeling provoked, impatient, annoyed, attacked…stay respectful. If the atmosphere becomes tense between you both, slow down the negotiating process, but without intending it to stop. Believe that there is no hurry – that time is still on your side even in the face of their tight deadlines and impending exams, and you will relax and stay calm and sure of yourself.

When you step back from the negotiating process a little, you are giving your teen  the room to think about why you are wanting them to do more homework on particular subjects.  This gives them time and space to face their own fears and concerns about failing that they have perhaps buried, without the pressure of defending their perceived right to keep everything as it is.  Let them know that you are still negotiating, but that you are letting them have time to think. Your teen will appreciate your calmness and persistence, and at some point walk towards you and begin to negotiate. To stay persistent, remind yourself why homework is important.

When they do walk towards you again…..Keep negotiation times as brief as you can, and be prepared to negotiate over time, which also gives your the time to think things through before you agree to a deal. Take your time, especially when your child is an excellent and ruthless negotiator. I suggest you confer with a more skilled negotiator in between negotiations to make sure you are getting teh clearest and most useful deal you can, and that all loopholes are closed.

What do they really really want? Think carefully about ways more homework can be an inviting prospect for your teen. A good sales person doesn’t pressure, she invites. So make the deal you are offering your teen at least one of the following:- worth their while, interesting, or enjoyable. This approach works particularly brilliantly with stubborn children and teens who want to stay in control, but I tend to use it with all students whatever their age, because it gains their permission to  do homework they mightn’t want to do, but that they know they should be doing in a respectful and gentle way. Here are some more ideas on negotiating with respect.

Offer something they want when they are particularly reluctant to work with you. It is perfectly okay to involve pocket money, extra computer time, use of the car, and anything that your teen particularly wants and you don’t mind giving, as part of the negotiation process.

Start small. Don’t offer too much of anything. Allow some room for your child to negotiate up.
Remember – no coercion. Always get permission. When a student says ‘no’ at any point, my first response is to say ‘okay’ and my next is to ask with great interest, ‘why is that?’ Then I listen very closely to understand. When I have listened well and thoroughly understood any concerns, we can always begin finding possible solutions that work for us both.

 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible so hello fellow Twitter user! Don’t forget to Tweet this post if you like it, or follow me on Twitter if you find me interesting. Keep spreading my ideas and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families so they too can develop the skills to create exceptional students in their families.

Warmly,

Anne