Recently on “The Parenting Show,” a mom called in asking about how she could help instill good study habits in her child. I explained we need to act as coaches to our children instead of imposing our solutions and tactics on them.
But what is coaching?
Here is a true story that will help to explain.
Yesterday, my daughter came home with a “pink slip” that I had to sign. The pink slip was entitled “MY HOMEWORK EXCUSE.” She had to write her “excuse” for why she didn’t get her homework handed in. She wrote, “I did not manage my time in class responsibly.”
This is a pretty standard school tactic. Here is how I “coached it up” for her:
- Change the word “Excuse” (which has negative implications) and call the slip “Plans for Self-Improvement.”
- Instead of just writing down what made things go off the rails, include an action plan for the future.
On my daughter Lucy’s note, I just had her write it on the back of the note. She wrote: “I will ask for all the materials at the beginning of the lesson.”
What I found interesting in the whole situation is that the “excuse” Lucy wrote initially was not really the issue anyway. She used a prefabricated and “acceptable” answer, parroting back what teachers say generically all the time. This misses the entire point of PROCESSING the situation, and PROBLEM-SOLVING for a future better outcome!
Coaching allows for both in a supportive, positive way.