How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?

Episode #3

How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?

Today’s question comes from Lyla:

“My son is in 6th grade and isn’t motivated to do his homework. He does the bare minimum to get by. Everyday after school, I suggest, plead, scream, command (depends on my mood) that he GET his homework DONE so he doesn’t have to think about it anymore! All he wants to do after school is get on his skateboard. You’d think that would motivate him to get his homework done! When I make him to sit at the kitchen table with his books after school, he dawdles, complains and argues with me. If I don’t say anything, and just let him ride his skateboard, he’ll pull his books out at 10:00pm and fall asleep shortly after. How can I motivate my son to do his homework after school?”

This is such a great question because it’s the classic example of Mom having a perfectly logical and reasonable solution to a problem. Getting the homework done after school is a great idea. The problem is, it’s not working. 

Lyla asks the question, “How do I motivate my kid?” but what she is really asking is “How do I motivate my kid to do what I want them to do?”

Parent Educator Answer – Motivating kids is about finding THEIR currency. Most kids want to get good grades, they just may not want to do the work required. Motivating kids is about finding out what works for them and this takes trial and error.

You can try no video games during the week, pulling out a favorite snack during homework time, sitting down at the kitchen table with them to do your own work. When the possibility of video games is available, it keeps the brain flooded with dopamine and can make it harder for kids to do the boring tasks of reading and homework. Eliminating the option can help. If the lure of free skateboarding time isn’t working, then it’s time to try something else.

The most important thing is to avoid a power struggle and get on the same team as your child. When our kids hit adolescence, it’s helpful to switch from being the authority with all the answers, to the coach and cheerleader, asking “How can I support the player?” They are so wired to rebel against parental authority, they might refuse your idea, just because it’s your idea. 

Answer compliments of spiritual teacher, Byron Katie –

There are only 3 kinds of business: my business, your business, God’s business (Universe)

My business – Creating a conducive environment for homework: distraction free zone, quiet music, relaxing). Create natural consequence for poor academic performance like hiring a tutor, meeting with the teacher or reducing cell phone access. Be sure to reward the EFFORT, not perfectionism. When kids lose motivation to do well, it’s often because their parents have such high expectation and feel such pressure, that they purposefully rebel against them.

Your business – What, how and when your kids do their homework. You can sit at the table and put books in front of them, but you cannot make them read.

God’s business – If school is interesting or boring, hard or easy, it’s God’s business. Do they like to work hard? Are they detail oriented?  Fast or slow? Are they competitive or collaborative? We can help our kids to appreciate who they are and how they best learn. Do they learn best in groups or alone? Or when they are outside and moving? Be careful not to argue with reality, wishing your kid was wired differently. Once you’ve figured out what is God’s business, you can let it go. There is nothing good to gain from arguing with it. 

Movement helps kids process their learning. What if skateboarding is helping him integrate the information he’s already taken in? As our kids grow, we want them to have a good understanding of who they are and how they best learn. As moms, our job is to recognize that there is no right or wrong way. What works for us may not work for our kids and that’s ok.

What gets in your way when you think about giving up your authority? Do you have a fear of letting go control? It’s really common with Supermoms. But trying to control something you have no control over puts us into struggle. 

At sixth grade, Lyla’s identity is still very enmeshed with her son’s grades and behavior. Her ego is probably tied up with her son’s performance and it’s a great age to separate. How can you still be a good mom while your kid has a D in math? Just because your child has a bad report card, doesn’t mean you get a bad report card as a mom.

You can separate out your ability to feel like a good mom, from your child’s grades, by staying in your own business and the things you have control over. This will allow you look deeper at the issue to understand why he is struggling, without making either of you feel like you are doing something wrong.

The most common thought moms have when their kid has bad grades or isn’t doing his homework, is “I’m not doing a good enough job as a mom”. We think we need to do MORE, which gets us all anxious, trying to control the situation.

Circumstance – My kid isn’t doing homework

Thought – I’m not doing enough as a mom / I should be doing more

Feeling – anxious, embarrassed, insecure

Actions – do more, yell, plead, encourage, restrict, get more involved, overreact  

Result – We don’t sound like a coach or cheerleader. We seem needy and attached where our child HAS to great their grades up in order for us to feel calm.

Instead of the thought, “I’m not doing enough as a mom”, what if we changed the thought to something like ….“He’s showing me what works for him and what doesn’t” ?

Feeling – calm

Action – observe, pay attention to, learn more about who he is, what works and what doesn’t.

Result – You both are learning more about how to help the “player” win at the game of school. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite – Unproductive worry. Productive means there is an immediate action step to take. Ask yourself, “Is this productive worry or unproductive worry?” If I’m worrying about his bad grade, I could email the teacher, ask a friend for a tutor recommendation. If there is no immediate action step to take, let it go. 

 

Superpower Boost – Only try to control things you have control over. Figure out what here is mine, yours, The Universe. Example: 

My business: The food I buy, cook, serve and store in my house.

Their business: What they put into their mouth.

God’s business: They have a sensitive palette, hypo-sensitivity, hyper sensitivity, sugar addiction. 

Make sure you only try to control the things you have control over. You always have control of the thoughts you think, the feelings you feel and the energy you bring to the relationship. If you want your kids to obey, make sure you stay in calm, confident energy.

 

Quote “Pay close attention to the particular thought you use to deprive yourself of happiness”  Byron Katie

Spending the holidays with annoying people

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung

So you will be spending the holidays with an annoying family member you don’t like.

You think it will be better this year. You won’t let them get to you.

As soon as you see this annoying person, you tighten up. You look away, then remember you are trying to be polite. You smile, say hello, engage in enough small talk so that you can avoid them the rest of the night without appearing rude. It works for a little while…until the wine kicks in and the comments come out….

Trumps latest political tirade. Your son’s behavior. Your daughter’s weight gain. The passive aggressive bragging about why they are better than you. The off-color joke. The rude comment.

You feel yourself starting to lose it. Promising yourself you won’t do this again. This is the last time.

You. are. done.

This holiday tradition happens in many homes around the country. But the best way to deal with it is before the event begins.

Instead of avoiding the issue and pretending like everything will be fine, use your past experience to predict and plan for the future.

I know it seems like THAT person is the annoying one and if they would just behave appropriately, then you could enjoy the family gathering. But THAT PERSON isn’t the problem.

The reason we get so annoyed is because of who we become when we are with them.

We don’t like tensing up and “making nice” when we don’t feel like it. It’s easy to get annoyed with ourselves for not saying the right thing at the right time. We wouldn’t be so bothered by them, if we acted in a way we admired. The reason that person gets under our skin is because of how we act when we’re around them.

The best way to stay true to yourself, no matter who is around or what they are saying, is to give other people permission to be who they are.

Give your uncle permission to think Trump is the lord and savior of our country.

Give your aunt permission to make passive aggressive comments about your unruly children.

Allow your Dad to raise his eyebrows at your spending habits.

Trust your Mom to make comments about your weight.

Give your brother permission to brag about his expensive splurges.

Expect your boss to make inappropriate comments about your co-worker.

Write down everything ridiculous thing you think might happen at your holiday party. (Doing this with a friend doubles the fun!)

Then watch the party unfold and your brain stay calm. This activity keeps you from arguing and getting annoyed “He’s an idiot, She shouldn’t say that, that is NOT OK!” to feeling satisfied, “I knew he was going to say that”.

This creates a win-win scenario for you. You either get to be right, or you get to have a peaceful evening without getting triggered by idiots.

You get to decide what you think, how you feel, and how you act. When we spend time with annoying people, it doesn’t feel like we have control over this. Allowing other people to be idiots, allows us to be ourselves, and stay in control.

If you struggle to stay calm and true to yourself around certain family members, schedule a free discovery call and let’s get you reconnected with your higher self, no matter who is around you.

 

Should I go or not?

Are you dreading an event that you’ve decided to go to?

I’m trying to decide if I should go to my class reunion. It starts in two hours so I can’t procrastinate any more. No one I was close to in high school is going to be there so it will just be vaguely familiar names and faces, that I will probably never see again.

I don’t feel strongly about going, or not going, which makes decision making difficult.

Are you going to an event, even if though it make you feel uncomfortable?

Maybe it’s your school auction, family reunion, class reunion, or work party that you feel obligated to go to? Going into an unfamiliar setting with unfamiliar people is awkward for many of us. As I get ready to go to my class reunion tonight, I’m pulling out two life coaching tips I use in situations like this and I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. One way to get people to connect with you is to make yourself vulnerable (teenage girls are really good at this). It’s counter intuitive because when we are nervous, we tend to put up our protective shields and act “cool”. But if you can humble yourself in some way, others will connect more easily and feel invested in your well being. Tell someone that you feel nervous or uncomfortable not having anyone to sit with. Ask for advice with something simple like, “Where should I put my coat?” or “What drink should I get?” I’ve got a button on my dress that I can’t reach. Instead of working on it, I decided to leave it unbuttoned, then ask someone in the ladies room to fasten it for me. People like to help others so just by lowering yourself a little, you can make them feel good about being around you, making a slightly deeper connection than small talk provides.
  2. When I think about walking in there by myself tonight, I feel nervous about so much unfamiliarity. It’s overwhelming. By narrowing my focus, I can feel calmer and more in control. So instead of thinking about everyone else, I set an intention to experience something I value. You can choose to focus on enjoying food other people have prepared for you. Maybe you value new restaurants to explore or maybe there is one person you are looking forward to seeing? I know that people will be asking the very broad and annoying question “So what have you been up to for the last decade?” So I’ve decided to tell them about the up and coming projects I’m excited about (my new Supermom is Getting Tired podcast and facebook group!) These projects are much more interesting to me than my past and make me more excited about having the same conversation over and over again.

If you’ve decided to do something, you aren’t sure you want to do. Try these two tricks to enjoy yourself more. Humble yourself so that others can feel helpful and invested in your success, and set the intention to experience something you value. Thinking about your favorite conversation topic, beautiful scenery, or discovering a great new show to watch on Netflix, can make you feel in control.

Most people regret the things in life they don’t do, more than the things they do. So when in doubt, say yes.

 

Click here to watch the facebook live video

 

Do you want your life to be even better? Study Success

Life is pretty good, right?

You’ve got a lovely family, meaningful work, but you’d like to turn the volume up on your life. One way to improve your life is to study successful people. Find someone you admire and pay close attention to WHY you like them so much. I recently attended a memorial service for an AMAZING women. 

Katie was one of those people you just feel privileged to know. While her death was a tremendous loss, her life was a HUGE inspiration.She had a way of giving her full attention to you, making you feel listened to, cared about and important, while also raising the bar and encouraging you to be even better. She prioritized her female friendships, always making time for parties, gatherings and social connections of any kind. She was full of vibrancy and joy and I’ve assigned her a permanent place on my committee of spirit guides. 

You can draw inspiration from others or your own past successes. Do you remember the feeling of falling in love? Amazing feeling. If you miss feeling that much excitement, exuberance and joy, study it, and see how you can bring that feeling back into your life today. When we’re falling in love, we obsess. We are “blinded” by love so we only notice the good stuff. We look over the rude comment he makes to the waiter, we don’t even notice the stinky socks on the floor. Our thoughts are all positive, all the time. We’ve told our brains where to look, so that’s what we focus on and it feels amazing. Love isn’t something that happens to us, it’s a state we create by focusing our minds in one, very positive direction.

Want to feel more loving? Notice the love that surrounds you every day. Obsess about it. Watch movies about it. Read romance novels. Watch people reunite with loved ones at the airport. Share your love with strangers and family members alike. Watch how it grows and expands.

Want more beauty in your life?  Pay attention to it. Take pictures of that flower growing through the crack in the sidewalk. Look into the mirror and appreciate something about your physical body. Go to a botanical garden, a museum or a beautifully designed building. Bring something of beauty into a corner of your home.

Get the picture? In what area of your life would you like to “turn up the volume”? More abundance is available to you any time just by looking around at the abundance of cars, people, clothing. You just need to decide what you want, then study success in your own life and in others.

Sometimes parenting is so overwhelming, it’s hard to KNOW what we want, because our families wants scream so loudly in our ear. If you struggle with this, sign up for the 14-day Supermom Challenge, and learn how to listen to YOU again.

Feeling pressured? 5 ways to cut yourself some slack

As Moms we ask a lot of ourselves.

We want to be great at mothering, cooking, friendships, work, home maintenance, health, family dinners, you name it….we want to be good at it. If our Mom always kept a clean house, we think we should too. If our neighbor is always heading out for a jog looking fit, we think we should too. If our husbands always say yes to playing with the kids, who am I kidding, we take that opportunity and run…but inside we kinda wish we were more playful and energetic, too.

The reality of chasing this unattainable perfectionism is WE GET FRICKIN’ TIRED!  And we don’t know how to stop because this pressure is internal, invisible and self-inflicted so it’s really hard to notice. We can’t change what we aren’t aware of but if you are feeling pressured or exhausted, chances are you are being too hard on yourself.

The biggest change you can make today to feel more energized and alive is to CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.

Moms make their lives much harder when they beat up on themselves for making mistakes. If you yearn to feel more relaxed and focused with calm energy, follow these steps today.

Five ways to cut yourself some slack and take the pressure off.

  1. Give yourself permission to drop the ball, in more than one area.
  2. Forgive yourself when you forget things or make mistakes.
  3. Say No to things that demand your time or mental energy. (Be part of the other percentage!)
  4. Recognize the voice of your mean inner critic and commit to listening to your inner cheerleader instead.
  5. Model imperfection and self forgiveness for your children.

Do you know the 80/20 rule? It applies to many things: 20% of your clothes you wear 80% of the time, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. But let’s apply it to motherhood:

80% of Moms are NOT volunteering at school.

20% of Moms never send in money for the field trip.

80% of Moms have not registered their kid for any summer camps.

20% of Moms clean 80% of the time, and 80% of the Moms clean 20% of the time!

Try being a part of the other percentage! Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Your energy goes where your ATTENTION goes so when you have to remember lots of different things, your energy leaves you and goes to all of those tasks.

We like to blame others “People will be mad at me” or “I can’t be one of THOSE moms!” but I guarantee, the thing you are scared of the most, is the mean things you will say to yourself, about yourself if you make a mistake. “I’m so stupid, why didn’t I remember, I never should have ____, when am I going to get my act together, why am I such a loser, how come I never do anything right, everyone else has their shit together but me”……and on….and on. If any of this sounds familiar, YOU are enemy #1 and this is excellent news because YOU get to choose what you say to yourself.

I dropped the ball last week. I normally send my blogs out every Wednesday but last week was so hectic that I just blew it off. Did you notice? Probably not. Did you curse me? “That horribly unreliable Torie! I was sitting by my inbox all day waiting and her email never even came!” I doubt it. I didn’t curse myself either. I gave myself permission to NOT CARE. I also avoided a few “Signup Genius” emails until they were all filled up, where normally I’m part of that initial 20%.

I made a mistake. I was supposed to submit a copy of a scholarship my son was awarded so it could be published in the graduation pamphlet. I tried, but by the time I realized a technology error, I had missed the deadline. I felt bad that my son wouldn’t have his award mentioned like everyone else so I told him what happened and apologized for not getting in on time. Do you know what he said? “That’s ok, Mom. No big deal”. He sounded just like my inner cheerleader! When our kids hear us practicing self-forgiveness and imperfection, they learn how to grant us the same kindness.

It’s May Madness. Crunch time for Moms with school aged kids.  Now is the perfect time to practice dropping the ball, making mistakes, forgiving yourself, saying no and not caring so much about doing everything right. If you’d like help with this, or just an outsiders perspective, schedule a free coaching call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me