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

How do I get my kids to listen to me?

Episode #1 “How do I get my kids to listen to me?”

Today’s question 

“I feel like I walk around all day barking orders. ‘Pick up your shoes, turn off the TV, finish your homework, clear your plate.’ I’m exhausted from the constant negotiating and push back I seem to constantly get and want to know, how the heck do I get my kids to listen to me?”  Christina

The Parent Education Answer

For 30 minutes a week, I teach English to kids who are new to our country. Getting kids to listen is to me is very important and the technique is quite simple. You get down on their level, slow your speech, look them in the eye, repeat myself often, check for understanding, and ask them to repeat.

If Christina was to do this, I’m sure her kids would listen to her. It would be hard not to. But what Christina is really asking, is how do I get my kids to OBEY me?

The Life Coaching Answer (how to make actual, long lasting change)

I think the reason Christina is feeling so frustrated and exhausted, is because she has the belief that “They should just do what I say.” When we have the thought “They should do what I say AND THEY AREN’T, we get frustrated and annoyed. When we feel this way, we nag, complain, maybe even avoid asking for what we want because we assume we aren’t going to get it. When we act this way, we aren’t coming from our leadership energy. Kids are wired to follow a calm, confident leader. When we have the thought, “they should obey me” and they aren’t, we lose our confidence and authority. The kids pick up on our whimpy, angry energy and are more likely to ignore and avoid us.

If we want to change this dynamic, we need to question the thought “They should just do what I say.” Is it true? Are you absolutely sure it’s true that kids should obey, every time, immediately without negotiation? Try changing your thought to something that doesn’t argue with reality but accepts the actual situation instead.

“I’m so glad I have a normal kid who doesn’t want to do chores.”

“I can trust my kid to ignore me the first time I ask.”

“She is showing me I’m not in my calm leadership energy.”

When you feel calm and in your leadership energy, that is the time to request something from your child. Look her in the eye, slow your speech and ask for what you want.

The problem arises when we ask our kids to do things SO THAT WE CAN FEEL GOOD. We think that if they would step up and do what we are asking, then we can feel relaxed, calm and appreciated. When we do this, we are putting our ability to feel good into the hands of our disobedient child. Not a great plan! Instead, take responsibility for your emotions first and don’t wait for your kid’s obedience to feel the way you want to feel.

When we take responsibility for our own emotions, we have more control and increase our chances of getting what we want.

The energy of leadership comes from our posture, voice tone, facial expression, eye contact. The thoughts we think are what effect these things. If we think, “My kids will comply when I’m in my calm, leadership energy.” and we focus on the things we have control over (posture, voice, feelings, etc.) we are more likely to get what we want. If we focus on things we don’t have control over (what our child says, does and feels) we feel yucky and are less likely to get what we want.

Today’s Supermom Krpytonite – (the secret energy drain you might not know is making you tired) is EXPECTATION. Listen to the story about my daughter on Halloween and how stressed out I became with the innocent thought: “This supposed to be fun”. Align your expectations with reality to help you feel at peace with any situation.

Today’s Supermom Power Boost is to decide ahead of time how you want to feel. Don’t put your ability to feel good, in the hands of your child. Take responsibility for how you want to feel BEFORE negotiating with your kiddo.

Today’s Quote:

“Expectation is the MOTHER of all frustration.” Antonio Banderas

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.

 

Do you want grateful teenagers?

THANK YOU SO MUCH!  I AM SO GRATEFUL TO YOU!

Thank You so much for letting me into your mailbox! Every time I see a new subscriber sign up, or an long time subscriber open an email, I feel SO MUCH GRATITUDE!

It’s like when I was a kid and the doorbell would ring. I’d get a rush of adrenaline, of optimistic potential, hoping someone was at my door asking if I could come outside and play. When you sign up for something I’m offering, I get a rush thinking, “someone wants to play with me!”

Do you want grateful teenagers?

Did you know research shows expressing gratitude, writing someone a note of thanks, can increase your happiness for a whole MONTH after you send it?  Since the #1 way kids learn is by imitation, let’s try writing our kids a note of gratitude and appreciation. They’ll feel more appreciated by us (which makes them nicer to be around), we’ll be role modeling how to express gratitude, plus we get to feel happier for a whole month! Want to join me?

WARNING – Signing up for my Leading Your Teen Masterclass will increase the feelings of happiness and gratitude in you and your teen. Do not sign up if you want to stay angry. Feelings of peace, confidence and control are common side effects. 

Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.

Another study, by psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the UC Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, discovered the effect of gratitude this way. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Instead of focusing on those things teens do that drive us nuts, write them a letter thanking them for the behavior you would like to see more of. It’s a win-win 🙂

Learn more about Leading Your Teen Masterclass 

My a-ha moment and why bother doing scary things

Overcoming fear and life coaching for busy, bored moms

I used to worry. A lot. As a kid, I was scared to say the wrong thing, scared to make someone mad, scared of water, bugs, or walking down the street at night. When I became a Mom, this fear just expanded: scared of something bad happening, scared of running out of money, all sorts of things. It’s easy to be fearful in our culture. The media perpetuates it and I’ve worked hard to overcome it. Now I seek out doing new and scary things. Why? What’s the point of doing things that scare you when the world has enough fear already?

The answer came to me in one, clear “a-ha moment”.

I had just finished a life coach training course with my teacher, Brooke Castillo, and she took us to a ropes course in Lake Tahoe. I’m sitting on a 8 inch square platform, 100 ft above the ground with tears rolling down my face. I’m tied to another coach who is behind me, struggling, scared, I didn’t really know, because I was above her and if I looked down to see her, we would both fall. My heart was racing, my breath was short from the effort of the climb, or from the altitude, or the fear, who knows. There was nothing to do but sit and wait for my companion to be coached into climbing up to join me. I was SOBBING crying, and I didn’t know why.

As I sat and got curious about what my tears were all about it, it hit me. I had spent so much time afraid…. of nothing. Here I was sitting high above the ground, scared out of my mind, and it was actually kind of FUN!  I felt exhilarated! Fully alive! It was a beautiful day. I’m surrounded by beautiful scenery. I enjoyed pushing myself and climbing up so high.

Could it be true that REAL, GENUINE FEAR IS ACTUALLY KIND OF FUN?

All those years I spent in “fake fear” were such a waste!

This started my journey pushing myself outside my comfort zone. Looking for opportunities to grow and challenges to take on, what a better way to go through life!  The way I lived my life constantly worrying, left me drained. Now, with my self-imposed, “bring-on-the-fear attitude”, I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning.

Do you ever feel like your life has become too routine?

If you feel stuck, like you are just going through the motions, busy, but not inspired, then it’s time to shake things up! These feelings happen when we stop growing.

The world we live in doesn’t offer us a lot of REAL LIFE fearful situations. We use TV shows and the news to create scary situations in our minds, but these stop us from taking action. We have to do hard and scary things outside of our comfort zone in order to evolve ourselves as humans.

Don’t let your kids be the only ones who embrace challenge and grow.

Do you have a dream but you are scared to action? Are you so stuck in care-taking that you forgot how to dream for yourself? It’s hard to do scary things without help.

Go to www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me to schedule your free life coaching session and start having more fun.

We aren’t meant to be passengers in this life. I believe we are meant to be creators of our future. The reason I believe it is because I’ve done both and living with genuine, deliberate, fun fear, feels SO MUCH BETTER!