This blog is for parents who have kids in school, and who are now at home; but can apply for any leadership role.
A client of mine reached out to me, asking for some tips on motivating her teenage children to be ‘on top’ of school work. She said, "Trying to get them motivated to be on top of what's posted for their school work is a great task. Trying to help them understand the material is an even greater task." It's been years since my youngest son graduated from High School. However, being a parent myself, and a Personal-Professional Development Coach earns me some authority to talk about issues like these. This is the situation: Mom is stressed out with job + dealing with kids; and kids are demotivated. Both mom and kids are trying to cope with the new normal, and they were shaken with the disruption of their more structured schedules. WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON? Let’s face it. All of us, regardless of our situations, have been shaken by this crisis. There is no one person who is coping so smoothly. However, as a leader (and all parents are leaders of their homes) (and each person is a leader in his own right), you and I are expected to be the Captain of the ship, whoever our passengers are. Though we are stressed out, we have to stay strong for the sake of those who look up to us. This is the case with children. They observe every single thing we do and say, without intentionally doing so. I mean, think about the great lessons you’ve learned from your parents. Most of them were not even verbally taught to you. These are things you’ve observed, and even acquired. WHAT DEMOTIVATES US? The simple fact that all of us have been taken out of our normal routines and schedules is already enough reason to get demotivated. Any change, more so unexpected ones, creates several phases of reaction. The first phase is shock, followed by denial; and when the reality sinks in, the mind goes into a rebellious or helpless mode. Understanding where the demotivation is really coming from, and how unexpected change can affect all of us will help in seeing the situation more clearly.
BACK TO KIDS’ DE-MOTIVATION If adults like us can go through cycles during this crisis, imagine what kids go through. Of course, younger children are more resilient, because of their innocence. They feel like everything is a game, and they’re simply playing. This is the beauty about little children, and we can surely learn from them. With teenagers it is more challenging. The changes in their bodies, hearts, and minds during this phase in their lives are already challenging in themselves. Add any stressful thing to that, and they can surely crack up. Therefore, as a Parent and Captain of the Ship, it is your responsibility to put yourself together and stand strong for your children. No matter how stressed you are, you have to act like you are in control. No matter how uncertain the situation is, you have to make them feel that everything is going to be okay. Any fear, doubt, and weak feeling you project will transfer to them. In my video, Dealing with Covid-19 Crisis, I talked about an experience I had when I was a kid. It was Christmas season and my Dad lost his job. I didn’t know about this until I became an adult. I didn’t know because my Dad never showed any signs of fear or uncertainty. What I remember was that Dad bought us (I am the eldest of 5 children) a rocking horse as a Christmas present for all of us. Nobody complained. We were all happy with the corporate gift that we took turns using. My Dad proved to be a great Captain of the ship.
WHAT TO DO Other than standing up as Captain of the ship, gather your children and talk to them as a team. Or, you can also talk to them one by one and listen. Involve them in finding solutions to the problem. Hold them accountable. Make them a part of a family project, which includes them staying on top of their school work. Ask their suggestions. Solicit their opinions. Now is the time to be creative. Now is the time to be the leader you were created to be. Now is also the time to correct bad habits, both yours’ and your kids’. LET ME SHARE SOMETHING My two sons are 10 years apart. Everything wrong I’ve done with my eldest, I corrected with my 2nd. One of these ‘corrections’ was their study habits. My eldest was more spoiled. I was a full-time mom then, spoon feeding him on everything. When I finally started working full-time, he would call me up at work telling me he was bored. He didn’t know how to do things without mom. I changed all these with my youngest son. At an early age, I taught him to be independent. He learned very good study habits as early as Elementary. This surely paid off.
Kids who never learned good study habits are the ones suffering now with the closing of schools. Therefore, it’s time for them to learn. It’s never too late.
I hope that this helps you in any way.
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