Getting children to complete their homework is not impossible;you can use specific strategies and techniques to make it happen. First I’ll review the underlying philosophy that allows a parent to have influence over daily habits, such as homework. Then I’ll describe the nine key strategies you can implement to build a foundation for academic success.
The Terrific Parenting Approach
We all have our own philosophies of parenting. They evolve out of childhood experiences, education, and our experiences as parents. Many of us were raised in environments where parents and teachers used threats and punishment to try to create obedient children. Some parents hold on to the illusion that these strategies were successful; they feel powerless and believe that returning to a harsher and more punitive parenting style will help them regain control. These harsh tactics were no more successful then than they are now. They might create the illusion of control for a while, but eventually they self-destruct.
The reality is that we cannot control our children. So we must learn how to control our own behavior in a way that influences our children to move in healthy and productive directions. To teach children successful habits, we must adopt an approach that acknowledges the importance of firm, clear limits and at the same time values our relationship with them. The model…teach…learn approach to parenting enables you to have more influence on your children’s behavior than you might imagine.
From my perspective, the Terrific Parenting approach has worked so well because we start solidly grounded in reality. This serves to:
- remind us to pay attention to the data and not just our theory about things,
- keeps you focused on what you really have control over (your own actions and the environment your children live in);
- acknowledges your children’s ability to choose and to learn from the consequences;
- recognizes that healthy habits are created over time and are rewarded in predictable ways that maintain self-motivation.
Parental Mindset Must Change!
The mindset that works to produce long-term success is simple: Relinquish control and embrace your influence. As we struggle with child-related problems, we tend to tighten up our controls. We try to control their behavior, to instruct them, command them, and demand that they respond to our requests.
But the reality is that we cannot control our children. We can only control ourselves and the environment that affects our children. The secret is to spend our time mastering our own behavior, and our control of the environment that shapes our children’s responses.
One of the keys to successful parenting is the old axiom “Keep a winning strategy and let go of a losing strategy.” If your children are struggling in school and you’re engaging in every form of coercion to try to motivate them, you probably know already that your strategy isn’t working:
- Maybe you’re giving the daily lecture.
- Maybe you’re yelling the same old message over and over.
- Maybe you’re starting to think no one is listening.
- Maybe you’re threatening your kids with no TV forever.
- Maybe you’re ready to try to buy some good grades.
STOP! This is a losing strategy. Lose it now or it will exhaust you and leave you feeling angry and frustrated with your child.
The challenge is to learn how to control our own behavior so we can influence or teach our children to move in healthy and productive directions. The next challenge is to understand how we use structure and consequences to help shape that behavior.
Successful parenting includes firm, clear limits and consistency with those limits. We learn that words are often ineffective, so we must know how to use action. This mindset is the secret to relaxed, yet highly effective parenting. You will find more about this topic by reading this article