coaching, homework, teens, Working with teens

Your teen and you – No 4 – time to create a win-win deal


teen and parent negotiating

It’s time to get down and decide a win-win deal together and take turns speaking and listening to each other. For negotiations to be successful  create a situation where your teen will stay comfortable and alert enough to listen closely to you. The most important thing you can do is to keep any of your positive or negative emotions out of the negotiation. Instead aim to be helpful and positive about the agreement you are negotiating, but in a businesslike fashion, even when they are derailing the negotiation.

Here are my best tips when negotiating with teens:

  1. With teens who are extremely private, don’t stare in their eyes, stand higher than them, or even stand or sit very close to them. They might find that close proximity threatening and too personal. Instead, position yourself so that you can glance at or towards them occasionally.
  2. Speak briefly in short and simple sentences.
  3. Speak in a low, quiet, businesslike voice.
  4. Speak slowly and pause briefly between sentences, checking they have understood what you are saying.
  5. When they seem easily distracted, you might ask them to repeat your main ideas in a mild and helpful voice. Listen closely to their responses,
    • and if necessary briefly repeat any information they might not have heard, understood, or remembered.
    • Then check again that they have understood and remembered what you have said. Helpfully repeat this sequence until it is clear they are paying attention.
  6. If they interrupt you while talking you can choose to either stop talking briefly to listen closely to them to understand their concerns, or ask them to remember that point for when you are finished talking.
  7. There will be a time to ask for their opinion of what you have said. Listen closely to understand. Repeat what they have said until they feel you have understood them, then discuss any concerns they might have.
  8. Sometimes it is helpful when deepening your understanding of each others’ concerns to write down what those concerns are in a pros and cons list.
  9. Only accept win-win solutions or there is no deal. You both have to be relatively happy with the agreement otherwise you have one winner and one loser. However, the perfect agreement is hard to reach and you both might have to compromise on some of the things you wanted. Still, if you are both happy enough with the deal, then you have created a deal you can both live with.
  10. Take your time to find an agreement you both believe is the best possible one you could find. Sometimes you may negotiate for several days until you are both happy. There is no hurry to come to an agreement.
  11. Remember that all privileges relating to the agreement as  consequences are suspended until an agreement is reached. At some point this will negatively affect your teen and they will want solutions decided so that they can have their privileges back.

Put the final agreement in writing then you and your teen can always refresh your memories as to what was agreed. However, you can both agree to modify this agreement as you go along because situations change. I want to warn you that your teen might know you better than you realise. Many are shrewd negotiators who might push you to change agreements with them before you have had time to think coolly and calmly about what you really want, and what your bottom lines are.  So check out my suggestions on working with teens before you agree to any changes

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

homework, reading and writing skills

How to make helping your child with homework more fun for both of you.


Homework with your child can = serious fun!

help your child learnSome of it isn’t much fun of course but during a successful homework time together there can be wonderful shared moments of laughter, chat, triumph and pleasure. Here are some of my favourite ideas.

 

Keep things light. When you and your child become too serious, irritated, bored or worried about what has to be completed, you as the parent-coach are responsible to lighten the atmosphere again. I use my own attitudes and emotions as ‘the canary in the mine’ to monitor the density of the coaching atmosphere.

Notice when you and your child become too serious, irritated, bored or worried about what has to be completed, so you can lighten the atmosphere again. I use my own attitudes and emotions as ‘the canary in the mine’ to monitor the density of the coaching atmosphere. Remember how miners used to take a canary in a cage with them down into the mine? the canary was an early warning sign something was wrong with the air and if it died, the miners moved out of that tunnel very quickly. When we as coaches find a coaching session hard work, or boring, or irritating or frustrating to name a few negative emotions, so does our child. When you worry, your child worries to so notice the early warning signs of boredom, irritation, or worry, and take action.

Action is quite simple – do something quite different. Some ideas are:

  • Change the topic you are studying,
  • Negotiate to only do a few more (state the number),
  • Have a brief break and talk about something else,
  • Make a game or competition out of the learning, and have a laugh.

Don’t worry – change your negative thinking! When you’re worried or unsure how to teach a skill, relax and realise that you don’t have to be an expert in everything. Smile and make a note about what you have to learn (actually write it down). I assure you that you will think of solutions to that difficulty soon. After all these years of working with children, I still don’t know every aspect of the subjects and skills I coach. However, learning  long-side you, where you can both learn together, is an excellent way for your child to learn. I still tell my students at times that I have to figure out a skill or topic, and that we will work on learning it together. Here are some more ideas.

Don’t worry – be very interested instead. When I was worried or dismayed about a students’ lack of basic skills in a subject I’d remark, “How interesting,” and then could make myself stop worrying about their lack of skills and feel very interested that they didn’t know something I took for granted they would know. When you feel very interested in something or someone, they know it immediately. We have all experienced how much nicer it is to feel someone’s interest than their worry. As well, realise that you have just made an important discovery that they don’t have a particular skill or understanding which might be holding them back from progressing in that subject. You might be the first one to have discovered this lack too, so such finds are definitely very interesting, and in fact very exciting.

Check this post for more ideas on making working with your child more fun. Buy my book which is a practical guide on ‘how-to’ work with your child at home so that it is fun and rewarding for both of you.

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

Take control: Help your child’s reading, writing, and Maths skills.


I’m going to give you a way to work gently and firmly with yourself and your family so that the coaching happens regularly and you help your child succeed at school.

Think about what you can do: Expand your circle of influence

Stephen Covey in his book ‘First things first’  talks about the difference between the have’s (“If only I had…”) and the be’s (“I can be…”). He and I both agree that focusing on what you don’t like (if only I had….) is disempowering, and that focusing on what you can do  to help your child succeed at school is proactive and empowering. He suggests you examine what you can do instead of worrying about things over which you have no control. teaching your chilod to succeed

First notice all your concerns about helping your child succeed at school.

Then, among those concerns, determine where you can take action to help your child do well at school.

When we think of ways we can act, our circle of influence will enlarge and our circle of concern will shrink.

 

How to expand your circle of influence.

Create coaching goals to help your child succeed at school that are exciting, achievable, and interesting. Ask yourself the following simple but powerful questions in order and write down your thoughts as they pop into your mind.

Why do I want my child to improve these skills? Keep asking ‘why?’ or ‘why else?’ to each of your answers until you know you have discovered the core reason you deeply wish your child to improve those particular skills. You will know when you find the core reason. You will feel full of energy, urgency, and excitement.

What can I do to coach my child to improve ……………skills?

  • Write down all the things you could do. Write down even the ones you might think won’t work.
  • Don’t judge any of your ideas until they are all written down.
  • When you can’t think of a single more idea about what you can do – order your ideas. You can write numbers besides them in order of importance and ‘do-ability’.

The other ideas about helping your child succeed at school might be useful later, so keep them too. I’ve been impressed with the book on ways to set goals we will achieve calledThe Magic Lamp . Keith Ellis has wonderful ideas. Here is one of them.

 Begin today what you regret not having done yesterday, and you will avoid that regret tomorrow

What do I need to change so that my child and I can coach regularly together during the week? Write down only the things you have the power to change. We can only take responsibility for our own actions, and work within our own circle of influence.

When you change how you are thinking and acting, those around you change too. Here is a website that summarises his ideas. Stephen Covey calls this expanding your circle of influence so that your circle of concern will over time become smaller. My website has some good ideas to help you set goals so that you help your child succeed at school. Check out more of my ideas on how to help your children become excellent students at this blog site here.

Warmly,

Anne