Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Affluenza Teen – Helicopter Parenting to the Extreme

The Texas teens parents on court day in 2014
You’ve probably heard about the Texas teenager, raised in a very affluent home environment, who killed four people driving drunk – and yet was sentenced ONLY to probation. His attorney defended him by explaining that he was never taught to be concerned about the consequences of his actions – because Mommy and Daddy would always take care of the consequences by throwing massive amounts of money at it.

Please recognize that affluenza parenting and helicopter parenting have parallels, i.e., excusing away bad or ineffective actions and behaviors.

One of the most pervasive responses I have seen in MOST human beings in over 25+ years of coaching human performance is that when the individual comes up short, i.e., misses a goal or fails or procrastinates – is rationalization. You will recall that a rationalization is an excuse YOU BELIEVE. It’s different than “the dog ate my homework” – which no one believes. Each time you or your teenager attempts to rationalize away some erroneous or failed attempt, it’s important for their future and well-being to note it, discuss it, and plan how to avert or avoid it ‘next time.’ IF YOU DON’T, even if this time the excuse was legitimate, you have laid the cognitive foundation for future such excuses – which they will or may believe! You should strive to recognize and install ways to think and plan which will avoid or prevent such bad habits – for a more successful life for your teenager!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Even DEEPER Hidden College Costs You Don’t See!

As college costs continue to rise, there are EVEN MORE hidden and UNEXPECTED COSTS!

As this recent NY Times article outlines, more and more students are taking 5 and 6 years to complete a 4-year degree, if they complete the degree at all. Of course, this issue has been around for many years – but the increasing proportion is disturbing. Costs to parents and students are painful AND delay the “graduate’s” entry to the workforce, i.e., becoming a contributing member of society – and even A SUCCESS! But there are other negatives as well. Each of the reasons why students take that long has potential, if not probable, repercussions.
"At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, the report found. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time." -NY Times artcle, Most College Students Don’t Earn a Degree in 4 Years, Study Finds
One of the first questions a potential employer will probably ask is “why did it take that long to complete your bachelor’s degree?” And almost inevitably, the interviewer will leave the interview with hesitations about hiring. Another potential issue is if the student will see themselves as “successful” despite taking 5 or 6 years to complete a 4-year degree, that’s one form of rationalizing – an excuse you believe. Alternatively, they may leave with a negative self-perception or self-image, even if they leave with a degree. And the REAL problem there is that all human performance is dictated and controlled by self-perception. Hence, they will carry that emotional baggage for a long time.

What’s the solution (or better yet, prevention)? 
(1) Guide them toward dreaming
(2) Teach them about goal-setting and 
(3) De-brief them on failures and defeats, so they learn from them 

For further insights, read our other blog posts. Most of which are directed toward this and similar issues. To learn more about how Launch Your Life can help your child succeed, click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Parents: Time To Check Your Student’s Scores

As the fall semester comes to a close, parents should want to know: do your son’s or daughter’s school achievements so far this year reflect what s/he is truly capable of? 

And if they do not, what did he/she learn about themselves?  If they worked hard and didn’t achieve the level they expected, what did they learn, upon reflection?  About themselves, about their teachers, about their habits – time management and control, self-discipline, effectiveness of studying, etc.?

“A failure is a mistake you DIDN’T learn from” is one of several similar expressions conveying the same message: LEARN something from your setbacks!  One excellent insight in recent years comes from the work of Carol Dweck in her book MINDSET.  The key learning I emphasize here is to learn from our mistakes – or our ‘almosts.’ DON’T let your student walk away having given up and quit.  Value and learn from the experience.

All teachers and college professors have a duty and responsibility to at least be available and clear when students ask “how am I doing/ what could I or should I do better or differently?”  Find out – have your teenager/student ask “how am I doing?” And be sure that what you learn or hear is worthwhile, useful and applicable, in order to make changes in how to approach that class.

·         Discuss with your teenager how s/he feels they could strengthen their learning.
·         Ask – what do you think you could or should do differently?  [do not be surprised if they simply don’t know – it happens!]
·         DO NOT accept “work harder” – it’s such an empty phrase. 
·         Does “work harder” mean grit your teeth, ‘knuckle down’ or spend longer hours with the books – with NO CHANGE in how you study? [of course not]
·         Don’t be accusatory – be supportive – act like a team member or coach, not ‘the boss or team owner.’
·         Most teachers and schools now post homework or study assignments on-line.  Check them WITH your student. 
·         Be sure you AND your student knows and understands what’s expected.
·         There are many sources of ‘How To Study found on the internet.  Search and locate one or two, then USE and APPLY them!
·         Break tasks down smaller and smaller.  This is THE SECRET to almost all success!!  Procrastination and avoidance arise – almost exclusively – because the task is too large.
·         Have your student/child (o) set, (o) adhere to and (o) follow a schedule for larger assignments.
·         When it comes to larger projects, earlier is always better. 
·         Post and USE a wall calendar – the larger the better.
·         As soon as a project is assigned, GUIDE your student through a timeline of sub-tasks to complete it, with time left over.
·         Talk through – IN DETAIL – specific tasks, actions and choices they will need to make. 
·         Research regarding the teenage brain is awesome and scary.  The lack of full development of the executive or management part of the brain leads to poor, unbalanced and immediate-gratification decisions, not done maliciously – they just ‘didn’t realize…
·         Bottom line? Be inquisitive, supportive, repetitive/persistent and POSITIVE. 
·         Don’t be over-protective – but guide learning from every defeat – and look for GREAT success in your child!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to tell if your high-schooler has the basics for success

Most high school and college commencement speakers tell graduates something akin to “you are the future – this nation depends on you!  And most parents tell their children something similar, perhaps like “you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”  Unfortunately, for the majority of graduates, one of two things happens: (1) little to nothing, or (2) they fail once or twice and have no clue what to do next – so they give up.  We hear lengthy discussions from professors and college officials about today’s college students responding weakly to challenges and failures.  If today’s young people – ostensibly the leaders of tomorrow – are going to change or improve the world, they are going to have to begin by changing THEMSELVES – soon!

How to tell if your high-schooler has the basics for success:  

Does s/he:

  • ·        Have a beautiful, lofty life-goal yet, even if it’s probably unrealistic?

  • ·      Take initiative toward his/her goals and hopes?

  • ·      Take some small step(s) daily or at least weekly toward it?

  • ·        Demonstrate self-discipline by forgoing immediate gratification for future success or gain?

  • ·        Thoughtfully decide how to use his/her time, both work-time and leisure?

  • ·        Rebound or recover from defeat reasonably?

  • ·        Maintain attention to time control, i.e., keep a calendar or daily planner – and follow it?

  • ·        Receive positive, encouraging parental support toward his/her goals and dream?

Of course, no teenager (or adult?) will be absolute in these areas – so your question becomes – how much is reasonable?  Does s/he demonstrate these habits - 
·        Very little?
·        Sometimes?
·        Often?
·        Usually?
·        Always?
And here’s the bigger question: is anyone ‘in charge’ or taking the lead in further strengthening them?  If you’d like to learn how you might strengthen your student’s possibilities, please email or call us at, (518) 475-1538.