By Jim Fay
You're on your way home from work. You're anxious for some encouraging talk and a little relaxation after a hard day. You need all the support you can get to recharge your batteries and feel strong enough to go back tomorrow and face another working day.
You are greeted with, "Hi, Honey. How was it today? Where are your papers? I want to see how you did all day." "It was OK," you reply. "I really don't want to talk about it. I'm really beat." "Well, no wonder you don't want to talk about it. Look at these papers. You can do a lot better than this. Where was your mind today? You sit down right now and we'll go over these proposals you wrote and get the spelling straightened out. And look at these paragraphs. You'll never get promoted at this rate. I don't understand this. You have so much more potential than this."
How long would it be before you find a more comfortable place to go after work? "Who needs this?" you'll say."I can find someone who can show me a little more appreciation for my hard work!"
Many school–age children face this same situation daily. They are greeted after school with, "What did you learn today?" and "Where is your homework? You get on it right now!"
Children are also requested to bring home their papers so that the mistakes can be corrected. Even though this is done with love and caring, it trains them to focus on their weaknesses.
The problem faced by students is that they can't choose to go somewhere else after school. They can't avoid facing a replay of their daily failures. They must return home and listen to whatever their parents have to say. It is very difficult for a child to say,"Mother! Do you realize you are training me to keep my school progress a secret from you?" Soon they quit bringing home papers. They make excuses and blame it on their teachers. "She never gives me my papers to bring home."
The next step is for the parent to go to school demanding that the teacher develop some sort of foolproof reporting method. Teachers are actually faced with writing daily and weekly reports for parents. This never provides a long-term solution because it addresses the wrong problem. It also robs teachers of valuable teaching and preparation time.
The real problem is that the child has learned that it is unsafe to discuss school with his or her parents. Rather than developing a reporting plan, it is much wiser to work on the real problem–helping children and parents learn to talk to each other in safe and supportive ways. This solution works, and it lasts a lifetime.
You can teach your child to discuss school with you. While you are doing this, you can also lay the foundation blocks that will build a true winner out of your youngster.
Sit down with your children two to three times per week. Have them point out the best things they did on their papers.
Make sure your child describes to you the reasons for his or her success. As they put these into words, the reasons for the success will be imprinted on their brain, never to be erased. They will start to believe they are in control of their success.
Work with your children on their mistakes only when they ask for your help. Let the school work on deficiencies. Teachers have training to help with the deficiencies in effective ways.
Be patient. This is a real change in operation. It will take the child a period of time to believe that this is not just a new phase his parents are going through. Look for the real benefits to show up in several months or maybe during the next few years, depending upon the child's past history.
Winners always think about how they are going to succeed. Losers always think about their possible failures.
People who are really successful implementing this skill purchased Winning the Homework Battle.
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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.