Podcast: Academic Excellence Without Burnout

Join me in today’s episode as I discuss the tools and routines designed to help students excel academically and grow personally. From daily reflections to semester evaluations, discover practical tips for navigating academic life. Tune in!


Sheila Akbar: 

ou shouldn’t be homework police, you shouldn’t be their college counselor, you shouldn’t be the therapist, you should not be their secretary, or their Butler, right. And there are days when you’re going to have to do any number of these things. But on the whole, you want to do less and less of these things for your child as they grow older. And there’s research that shows that around age 13, your kids don’t want this from you anymore, you’ve noticed this, they don’t want to listen to you, you may know what they need to do. But you know that just telling them that is just not going to be is not going to be productive, right? They are trying to figure out their independence and do things on their own. So we need you to make room for them to do that. And yeah, they’re gonna mess it up, and you’re gonna mess up too, but they’re still at home, you’re still there to help them and to support them through whatever they’re going through. So they can’t really make too many bad mistakes, right. Hey, folks, welcome back to the podcast. Here we are in May. And I know it’s a pee season and about to be finals and you know, end of the year projects and papers, and our kids are stressed. And we’re probably stressed both for them. And by them, we see all the things that they could be doing better. And we just know, oh, if they had started that paper two weeks ago, or if they just made themselves an outline of what they needed to study, or whatever the tactic may be, you know, what you would do in this situation. But the trouble is, your kid is not you. And so navigating that kind of gap can cause so much tension in the family relationship, and honestly, put more stress on your kid, they’re already stressed out. So I wanted to talk today about academic excellence. Without burnout, we’re going to talk about the things that are precursors to academic excellence, and that will help your students avoid burnout. I’ve want to say at a, you know, at the outset here that I have to make a disclaimer that you cannot time manage your way back from burnout, you cannot study yourself out of burnout, you have to take a different approach. And if it is the case that your child may have a mental health challenge, I do encourage you to seek the appropriate help for them. Because you know, the stuff we’re going to talk about today really executive functions and a holistic way of thinking about academic wellness can get you part of the way there. But if there is a mental health challenge or or some sort of extenuating circumstance, you want to really make sure you get them the support that they need. So let’s get into this. I want to break down elements of excellence here. And excellence means different things to different people. And that’s okay, that’s actually the way we want it to be. But when we think about what colleges are looking for, we’re thinking about, Oh, my gosh, we have to have excellent grades, excellent test scores, all the extracurriculars, some kind of leadership, they need to be an outstanding citizen, you know, doing community service. There’s a lot of that stuff. But I kind of want to think beyond those tangible activities that they’re doing. To think more about really, what are colleges, trying to assess by having your kid report on all of those different pieces of their lives? And yes, a big part of it is academic skills, their ability to learn new things to read, write, think critically make decisions, things like that. But I want to draw your attention away from that for a little bit. Because I know you’re thinking about all of that. And so are your kids to think about these other things. So physical health, how they’re fueling their body, how often they’re moving their body, having an appropriate amount of sleep, for their developmental stage, the physical environment, do they have a clear designated study space that is quiet and free of distractions, that kind of thing. We also want to talk about their mental health, their emotions, their ability to regulate their emotions, self esteem, stress, tolerance, good boundaries, self care, resilience, self advocacy skills are really, really big because they can open the door to a lot of these other things. And then social health, we are social beings, we cannot do things just on our own. We cannot isolate ourselves without having some detrimental effects. So we want to make sure that they’ve got communication skills. They are healthy in their relationships, whether that’s with you or siblings, other adults, family members, friends, and that they have a sense of community. And this is one of the things that actually really concerns me when I see teenagers nowadays. They feel like everybody is their competition, so they’re a little bit guarded. they’re holding their cards close to their chest, they don’t want, you know, their competition, to see them struggling to hear that they’re worried about something. So they’re putting on a show. And that also means they’re not getting the support they need, they’re not getting the validation that other people are struggling with this thing too. And actually, if we start talking to each other, we maybe can help each other or change the tenor of this dynamic. So really work with your kids on making sure that they do have a sense of community. Now, I don’t want this to feel like I’m giving you this like whole other list of things to worry about. And honestly, when we’re talking about teenagers, high school students, this should start being less of your responsibility as parent and more of your child’s responsibility in terms of taking care of themselves and setting themselves up for success. Now, that’s not going to happen overnight, we’ve got to build towards it. What we’re talking about here is their executive functions, you may have heard this term, I want to give you just a quick definition, this is sort of like air traffic control. This is the higher order part of their brain that actually regulates how they spend their time, how they’re behaving, what they’re thinking about, and their emotions. So you might see this as showing up in their time management or their flexibility, when they’re trying to solve a problem, their follow through their impulse control, and, you know, got a whole bunch of other factors here. And the set of these skills taken together we call executive functions. And nobody is born with these fully developed, everybody can continue working on them, even adults, maybe especially adults, they are developed through experience and practice. So your student actually has to try things, struggle with things, figure this out for themselves, and strengthen these abilities. And strong executive function skills, don’t just help with the learning, they actually help people stick to healthy habits, and then reduce stress. So we’ve got this virtuous cycle of if you strengthen those executive executive function skills, your child will be able to stick to the healthy diet or healthy sleeping regimen that they’ve set out for themselves. And that’s going to enable their performance more, strengthen their impulse control even more, because they’re not just hungry, or tired, or whatever it is, and it’s gonna snowball in this really positive way. But this is not something that you can just force on your kid, you can’t just download it into their brain, how do you force somebody to have better impulse control, you just can’t. And if you could, you really shouldn’t, because like I said, our kids are on their way to their independence, their adulthood, you can’t be their outsourced executive function forever. So one of the things that needs to happen is for you to take a good look at what your role is, and redefine it and really understand how you can best help prepare your kid for that next stage. Right? So maybe you will are some of these things right now. But we want to start thinking about ways that you can untangle yourself from it. You shouldn’t be homework, police, you shouldn’t be their college counselor, you shouldn’t be the therapist, you should not be their secretary, or their Butler, right. And there are days when you’re gonna have to do any number of these things. But on the whole, you want to do less and less of these things for your child as they grow older. And there’s research that shows that around age 13, your kids don’t want this from you anymore, you’ve noticed this, they don’t want to listen to you, you may know what they need to do. But you know that just telling them that is just not going to be is not going to be productive, right? They are trying to figure out their independence and do things on their own. So we need you to make room for them to do that. And yeah, they’re gonna mess it up, and you’re gonna mess up too. But they’re still at home, you’re still there to help them and to support them through whatever they’re going through. So they can’t really make too many bad mistakes, right? You gotta give them a chance to practice these things. And so as you move away from this, you’re not column who move more into the you are column, where you are a supporter, and they can call you in for help. If they call you in for help. You can collaborate with them, you are their champion, you’re their cheerleader, you can still be their confidant, I mean, after all, you’re their parent, you’re their closest relationship, you really want to maintain that as things you know, get more and more dynamic in high school and adolescence. You really want to maintain that clear communication, open relationship and that emotional bond and you are a role model as much as they may roll their eyes at you and be like, oh, gosh, Mom, I hate when you do this thing. They are looking to you to understand how to shape their lives. How to move into being an adult. So you have this ability to model for them, the changes that you would like to see in that, and show them how those changes have impacted your life. And instead of just teaching them how to do this, you can just sort of demonstrate it to them. And that’s going to lead to a better relationship, and probably better learning. All right, this is hard. I do want to know, I want to acknowledge that it is hard to shift your role you’ve been in one role for 1314 15, you know, however old your kid is, you’ve been in these roles for that long is very hard to change, right? The danger is failure to launch. If a parent doesn’t start to decrease their involvement in their micromanaging or direct doing for their child, their child will never grow on that scale of independence, and they will be stunted. And they may still get good grades, graduate from high school go to a great college, but there is going to be some interdependence there that is not serving their growth as an independent adult. And that’s what we call Failure to Launch. We really want, you know, happy well adjusted kids who can handle some stress, who know how to navigate difficult situations on their own, and know that they can call you in for help if they need it, but not depend on you to sort of swoop in and solve all their problems for them. Now, before I get into, how do you do this, I’m going to try to show you what we do. And I’m going to ask you to do something that maybe feels a little silly, but I’m going to ask you to imagine, right now, think of your biggest challenge. Really think about that thing that is just a pain in your butt thorn in your side, the biggest obstacle to your happiness. And think about all the energy and time that this challenge has taken up for you so much space in your life. We all have at least one or two of these things. Okay, great. We’ve got our challenge. Now. Just imagine for a second, just consider the possibility. just magically, whatever this thing is, it just flies away. You just totally disappears from your life. Okay, good. Don’t worry about how, when whatever, it just is gone. Now, how would you feel? If that challenge just disappeared? How does it feel? The first time I ever did this exercise, actually with one of my colleagues who’s who’s a coach, she actually saw my shoulders drop, and like some like worry lines from my forehead melt away. It’s a good feeling, right? And what I’ve just done is something that we call visioning. Right? I’m not asking you, what do you want to be in 10 years, I’m asking you to imagine a world where your biggest challenges are no longer holding you back. I’m not telling you how to solve them or what to do any of that. I’m just asking you to like lock into the feeling of having things be different in a way that you want, right? And it’s powerful. And that’s often what happens with the teenagers, we coach, we get them to imagine a world where their challenge is no longer a problem. And they get so motivated by that vision of a future, that they find the resilience and grit and perseverance to start working on that challenge. Now, here’s our model of behavior change is sort of the science of behavior change. It’s not just flip a switch, I do an exercise. Now your life is different. You know, that’s not how reality works. It’s a process. And where people start is in pre contemplation. Maybe they’re not even aware there’s a problem, right? There’s no intention of changing the behavior. When they get to contemplation, they’re starting to be more aware, but they’re not like, Oh, this is what I need to do. Here’s my plan. They’re just like, oh, yeah, this thing kind of sucks. And then we move in closer to action, where we’re preparing to make changes. We’re evaluating, you know, solutions, seeing what other people have done. And then we take an action. And we’ve got to maintain that action to build this habit, and it’s going to be a roller coaster, you are going to relapse. And then we learn something from that relapse. And the next time we try we try better, right? We learned something. And what I just did with that visioning exercise is I nudged you closer to action. Right? I’m sure many of your kids, even if they have a diagnosis, are not speaking explicitly about the challenge that’s in front of them, whatever you see as their biggest challenge, but If we were to do that visioning exercise with them, all of a sudden, they just like jumped ahead, oh, if I change this thing, everything would be different. It really moves them towards action, but also gets their buy in. Because this is a vision that they have created, right, they’ve identified the challenge. And they’ve identified the world that they want to live in, right. And so a parent can’t do much about this. So I’ll tell you some tips and some strategies. This has to be an internal process, right. But what a parent can do is create the conditions for lasting change. You do that through things like scaffolding, doing it with them for a little bit, until they can do it on their own, almost like you know, riding a bike or holding the bike for a little bit. And then you let go, modeling, we talked about that already. And then mentoring. It’s not a prescriptive teaching relationship. It is a mentorship relationship. And it’s often not with a parent or direct family member, it’s usually with somebody else that maybe you trust as a parent, but the kid is really looking up to that person and accepting of their mentorship. So in my industry, we call this executive function coaching, right, and I just kind of want to give you a sense of like, what that landscape looks like, some places, you know, they just give you a workbook, and it’s a bunch of worksheets, and the kids supposed to work through it on their own. And then I don’t know magic happens. Sometimes it’s video lessons, like they’ll prescribe you, Okay, watch this, and watch that. The thing with those two is that, you know, if your kid has got an executive function issue, they probably are not, you know, together enough to really be disciplined working through that workbook or watching the video and implementing it right, the the challenge that they’re trying to solve is actually going to hold them back from those solutions. So the other set of executive function coaching is usually one on one live sessions with a person, sometimes online. And sometimes in person, I would say, post COVID, most of this is online. But you know, every once in awhile, you find someone who can come to your house and actually look at your kids study area, or help them organize their backpack, things like that. And we have like a couple of different maybe postures, some of them are really a crutch, you bring in this person, and they’re actually doing the things for your kid. So your kid is not learning skills, they’re not gaining independence, they are getting more dependent on somebody else, maybe it’s not you, maybe that’s a good thing. But they’re still leaning on somebody else, they can’t stand on their own two feet, I mentioned that a lot of these places are very prescriptive, they’ll say, here’s a calendar, go use it, or I’m gonna give you this planner, or here’s my system for doing this thing. And they teach a kid how to use that tool or system. And then the kid is on their own, expected to keep up with it. Right, that may have some initial positive impact, because there’s something happening and your kids, you know, motivated to change it. But it’s usually not lasting. Mostly because it’s not organic, it’s not natural to the student, it’s not something that student had a part in creating for themselves, right, which is part of the empowerment and confidence building process. So our third sort of posture here is a true coaching posture, where no one’s coming in to teach your kid and say you did it right, or you did it wrong. It’s asking really powerful questions, guiding a student through this process of gradual realization and collaboration, so that they’re creating solutions for themselves, there’s a lot more sticking power there. A lot of people who do executive function coaching are actually speech and language pathologists. Part of that is because our development of language starts here very early on in the childhood development trajectory. And SLP has sort of the training and the ways of relating to young kids as they’re building these things. Right. So SLPs often offer executive function coaching, usually for younger kids. And then you’ve got other people who have a coaching certification. They have some ADHD or executive function training that may be specific to their organization. There is no real like licensing body for executive function coaching. But these are the two sort of most common types of training you’ll see. And then in terms of rates, the average range is really 150 to 350 an hour, most of them do charge by the hour, usually recommend an hour to hour and a half a week, though, I will say shorter, more frequent sessions are really recommended here. So you may still get to a total of an hour but it might be, you know, 415 minute sessions over the course of the week or one longer one, maybe on a Sunday to plan and then a shorter one, you know, later in the week to check in on progress, right? The touch point is really, really important because it’s that consistency that can help a student really stay on track as they’re learning a new skill or in building a new habit. And typically, a coaching relationship lasts for about three to six months. There are definitely people who do this longer. Very rarely, some people do it shorter. But behavior change takes time. Right? We know it takes at least three weeks to build a habit. But first, you got to figure out what the problem is what the root of that problem is, try out a bunch of solutions, and then turn that solution into habit, right. So we do need a little bit of time. There are no real overnight successes here when it comes to coaching. So that’s what this sort of world looks like. And I want to tell you a little bit more about what we do at Signet. We call it academic coaching, it is broader than executive functions only though we deal with a lot of executive function challenges. Our coaching is very student centered. So this is more on that pure coaching posture, where we’re not saying, Hey, your mom told me, you have trouble with time management. We are sitting in a meeting with the student and any other stakeholders, including you to say, what do we see here? What are the challenges, we always let the student go first, let them name their challenges, because those are the things they’re actually motivated to change. And there may be a whole bunch of other challenges that you see. But if we start with any of those, your kids gonna lose the buy in, right, we really want to start with that low hanging fruit, they’re already motivated to change this thing. Let’s help them build some confidence. And let’s let them lead the way. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re trying to do right to help them grow into adults who can make decisions for themselves. And so this is a great place to practice that. It is totally judgment free. Even if we say, okay, we built this system for your managing our homework, you’re gonna go use it and report back to me on Wednesday how this went, and they come back and they’re like, Yeah, I didn’t do anything. There’s never a I’m so disappointed in you, or what happened, you like, told me you’re gonna do this. Now, I can’t trust you like that is totally irrelevant to this relationship. It’s actually very counterproductive. And what we do is we treat it as data. Okay, you didn’t do what you thought you were gonna do. Let’s try to figure out why did you have a really big fight with your best friend? Did you get sick? Did you realize as you got started, something is just off about this system, it’s not going to work for you. Let’s reflect on this. And let’s learn from it so that when we try again, because we aren’t going to try again, we do it better. So instead of judgment, it’s data. And then we really specialize in teenagers with ADHD, executive function challenges, and or loads of stress, you don’t have to have ADHD or executive function challenges to be stressed out about school. And in fact, some of our most meaningful coaching relationships are with students who otherwise have very strong executive functions. But for whatever reason, school is just not bringing them joy. They don’t feel like they have a clear purpose or understand their why their motivation or what comes next. And those are the kinds of things that we work with them on. Because our coaching is very strengths based values based, it’s like very much turning inwards, so that you can then apply your skills and strength to the challenges in front of you. It obviously includes a lot of reflection, at the end of the day, that’s probably the biggest skill that we’re trying to teach students how to reflect. And then action planning and accountability, right, that’s where we’re really different from those places that just give you a calendar and walk away, we’re gonna stick with you and help you adjust the system, adjust your solution so that it does stick and that you have a habit that will last. And when we’re doing this are kind of like two parallel tracks that we’re working on. Right. So we are building new habits, we’re identifying problems and replacing old habits with these new ones. So we have to envision the change, we’ve got to get to the root of the problem. And then we’re going to reflect and iterate until we’ve kind of got our right solution. And that’s going to lead us into an ability to always identify and solve our own problems, we can celebrate progress together, right? Our human brains are really wired to focus on the negative, it’s really helpful to have a coach who can celebrate your progress with you, we are going to come away understanding how your sleep habits affect your ability to do well on the sad things like that, right? Understanding how all of these things are interconnected, you can’t sacrifice those sort of underlying healthy habits to get the A because you’re gonna sabotage yourself, right? And really, what I’m trying to do with students is help them define success on their own terms. Right? You know, there’s certain milestones that colleges definitely want students to be able to hit right and graduate, get some good grades. But there’s so many different paths to success, however you define it, and so the more students can start to reflect on what does success actually mean for me, what is the successful life look like for me, they will stop fixating so much on just getting into college. They’re gonna think about, well, what is this or that college program going to enable me to do in my life? Right? How do I want to design my life? Because college is really just the beginning of it. And I think broadening their perspective a little bit is very, very helpful. So the the parallel track that I was talking about is limiting beliefs. Sometimes the way we think about things is actually the thing that’s standing in our way of, of changing something, or of solving the problem. So we want to explore their attitudes. And procrastination and perfectionism are two really common and good examples of this, thinking that it has to be perfect before you can even show somebody who’s there to help you with it is not a helpful attitude, right? Let’s explore that and see where where it comes from. And, you know, we’re not therapists. And we definitely have like a clear line, there were things crossed into that territory where you need to go talk to a mental health professional about this. But we can help them explore those those attitudes to a point where we can get some productive solutions out of it. We do a lot of like mindfulness challenges. And this is not just, you know, I want you to meditate 20 minutes a day, it might be every time you start to feel hot in your face, I want you to look around the room and Name five things you can see three things you can smell, and two things you can touch. Right, that’s mindfulness, right there, your RE centering on your present moment. And that can really help stop a student from going into one of those spirals, which I’m sure you all are aware of. And then the other thing that we do with limiting beliefs is build some good routines and do some habit stacking. So maybe every morning when they’re brushing their teeth, if got posted notes on their bathroom mirror with some, you know, positive mantras or things that they need to remember, instead of relying on themselves and putting so much pressure on themselves, like I shouldn’t be able to remember all of these things, I shouldn’t have to write it down, like dismantling that belief, and showing them that there are tools and there are routines that you can insert into your day, that will accomplish that goal. And you don’t have to be so hard on yourself, right. And really what this is doing is helping us get out of our own way, embrace that growth mindset, revise our relationship to struggle, which is really tied in with a growth mindset, like, that’s how we learn. That’s how we practice. And it’s going to increase their confidence and give them things that they can rely on, when a different challenge comes up, they’re gonna know, oh, I figured this thing out. The next time, something hard happens, I have faith that I can also figure that out, too. I have a system for this. So I’m gonna give you some examples. Now, you know, these are examples of small interventions, right? We’re getting into finals and APS, the end of the school year, and it may feel like oh, it’s just, it’s too late to do any of this stuff. Or this might feel like a burden to put on my student at this moment. But actually, there are some small things that we could do really quickly, that would relieve a lot of this burden. So one of the stories I love to tell is about a better morning routine. And I have a free gift for you all. That’s about revising the morning routine for your student. There was a student who has a very strong student, we work with her a couple of years ago. And she had great grades, and she’s generally pretty happy about her life. But the biggest challenge she found was that she could never get to school on time. She tried so many things. Her mom was just like tearing her hair out, like what are we gonna do with you? How can you not get to school on time. And so she worked with one of our coaches. And as they explored what the chain of events was, in the morning, they realized that, you know, she had this really cozy bed, and she didn’t want to get out of it, because it was cold in her room. And so they figured out to do was she had like this little mini coffee machine that she put in the other corner of her room. And it was on a timer, and she’d set it up at night. And so in the morning, it would brew coffee, and the smell of the coffee would wake her up. And she went across the room to get to it. And she had a blanket on the table right next to her bed so that when she got out of bed, she could put this other blanket on and stay warm as she went across the room to get her coffee. And this is an exemplary story. It’s not always this easy, but it worked like a charm, right? We figured out the first domino, her getting out of bed in the morning, we solved that there. And then everything else fell into place, right. And she didn’t have to rush to school. She wasn’t so stressed in the morning, she got there had some time for herself in the morning. So she was like really relaxed and like ready for her day. And that’s the kind of thing that you can do right now. And it might change things for your kid tomorrow. And then, you know, I’ve got some other examples here too, that may take a little bit longer. But there are better ways to take notes. There are ways you can teach a student to study to track their tasks that are pretty simple, really. And the simpler the solution, the better. Right? That’s the ones that that really stick. They’re easy to do. It’s not such a big lift to make a change. But we do have bigger interventions. I have students worked with us for quite a while and they ended up building out this very elaborate system of interconnected tools and routines to stay on the ball and we build them like kind of a dashboard trackers so they can track this and they do a semester reflection they do weekly reflect And a daily reflection. And it’s really a beautiful thing. They’re so on the ball, they see assignments and tests way ahead of time, they know exactly how to manage their calendar. And they’ve got great relationships in place to help them stay accountable. But that does take time, you’ve got to iterate and be creative with every single solution and turn it into sort of an elegant system that a student can manage. You don’t want the management of that system to be like a full time job, it should just be natural. uncovering a sense of purpose and personal values does also take time. And if things are on fire, like they’ve got an AP test in two weeks, this is probably not something we’re going to try to talk about right there. They’re just not in the right mindset to talk about it. But over the summer or on a school break is a great time to think about that. What can we learn from what’s happening at school, how you want to show up in the world that would help us define the set of personal values are really tap into what motivates you. And similarly, developing an inspiring vision for the future beyond college, as I was talking about earlier, is the thing that takes some time. But if they can do it, especially if they are a little bit earlier in high school, that really sets them up for an excellent smooth college process. Because we know what we’re going after we understand their values, we understand what they want to be set up for. And of course, those things may change as they grow older. I mean, they’re teenagers, but they have a process, they have a framework that they can fall back on. So that they can always kind of update their purpose, update their vision, and make decisions accordingly, it does take a little bit more time, it takes a little bit more space. So that might be something we would start over a summer. And probably gotten a sense of this already. But like our real secret sauce here is and we use the pure coaching model of motivational interviewing, we are never telling a student Hey, do this. We are saying, Hmm, sounds like if I can reflect back to you what you’re saying, Do you have a problem with x? What have you seen other people do to solve that kind of problem? Or what do you think you want to try to do differently next time, and then you know, through our questioning will guide them and if they’re truly clueless on this, we will offer a suggestion, we will ask them for permission to offer a suggestion before we just offer it. And it creates this really trusting relationship. They know that our agenda is their agenda. It’s not mom or dad’s agenda. It’s not the school’s agenda. It’s not a college agenda. It’s what is it that you want to focus on, I’m going to help you direct all of your attention and resources to solving that problem. And our mentors or coaches are just really awesome people, right? There are people that you probably would all say, Oh, these are mentors, they all went to great schools, they have a lot of volunteering, great character, you know, share our set of values. And students just think they’re cool. They’re impressive people, but they’re never like, arrogant or judgmental, or lording their credentials or smarts over somebody, they’re really there to connect with the student and meet them where they are. A lot of these coaching programs, ask students to be someone they’re not to start the program, the food kind of kid with real time management issues. I know it might take a few extra nudges, to get them to a meeting on time. So we can’t let their challenges stand in the way of getting the help that they need. So we really want to meet them where they are. And gradually, we will bring them up together. But it’s that sense that we’re there to partner with them. That really helps students stick through it, because sometimes this can be really hard, but they really do value having a partner of their own. Who doesn’t have an agenda. Okay, so now we get to where can you start with your student, right? If you’re not sure they’re ready to start working with a coach or even know what their problems are, you have some work to do in understanding your role visa vie, there’s right. And one of the best places to start is by having some agreements with your child. And it’s a fancy way of saying talk to them, and get on the same page. And I know that it can be hard with a teenager. But if you come at it, you know, in a moment where nothing is on fire, they’re not having a meltdown, maybe you’re driving them somewhere and it’s like a relaxed time, you’re not confronting them. You’re saying, Hey, I know that you’ve got a lot on your plate, and I want to be able to help you. But I also want to let you spread your wings a little bit. So can we talk about where you want my help? Or how you can ask me for help in a moment that you need it? Can we just come to some agreements, it could be as simple as, okay, here are all the things that I have to do, Mom, I want your help with this, this and this. It could also be let’s set a code word, but I really need your help. I’m just gonna say this code word So you know, you know your kids, figure out how to approach this with them, but come to some clear agreements about when you’re going to step in and when you’re not going to step in unless they ask you. And that’s going to just the fact that you’re coming to them like this will show them that you trust them. And that can be amazing for the dynamic there. And then when they are struggling with something or something goes wrong, try to approach the situation with some curiosity, you may know exactly how to solve this problem, or how you would solve the problem. But that may not be the way they feel comfortable solving the problem, or even aware that that’s a way that they could solve the problem, right? So approach it with some curiosity. If they’re late to school, or they forget that they had a test, say, Hmm, I wonder what happened there? Can you kind of talk me through it, and then just ask sort of open ended questions, do your best to leave the judgment at the door, until you can help them see what the root of this problem was? Because that’s going to help them stay open to you, they’re not going to feel judged by you, they’re gonna say, oh, mom’s curious about this, too. And that will help. And then the final ones, though, is probably most important. One is compassion. This is both compassion for your child, but also compassion for you, you know, you’re entering a new stage, a new role, and you probably won’t get it right. And that’s okay, nobody does. So you have to have some compassion for yourself, right? That you’re not going to be able to fix this in some pre set timeline, or you’re probably not always going to say the right thing, you’re going to lose your temper, you are going to swoop in sometimes, right? You are learning a new habit too. So you need to practice it. And you need to be gentle with yourself, and also help your child be gentle with themselves, right, they’ve built up a lot of pressure and expectations, whether or not you have put that on them is sort of in the air in high school. So help them have some compassion for their own learning process. Right? Nobody is perfect at something the first time they try it, we’ve got to practice we’ve got to stick with it. We’ve got to build the skills got to build the muscle, right? You can’t go into a gym and expect to benchpress 200 pounds your first day, we start small we learned form, we do you know light reps, until we can graduate to the next level and the next level the next level, right? That’s the same thing that’s happening here. When we’re building skills, I want to give you this wellness guide, where I’m going to give you the morning routine worksheet, and a how to video for your kid really what you can use it to on you know, how do you look at your morning routine and think about what’s the best order and what’s a system that I can use for this and you can use it for an evening routine as well and gives you a sense of how to use this reflection process on any challenge they have. So the link to that guide in the morning routine worksheet and video and all those resources will be in the show notes. I really hope that you check it out. It should be very helpful to you. And if you have any questions about how to do this, what to say what kind of routines and tools and skills your kid might benefit from where you might benefit from feel free to drop me a line. I’m always happy to talk about this. Thanks. We’ll see you next week.

Picture of Signet Education

Signet Education

More Resources