Thursday, September 24, 2015

ME - a Helicopter parent??

We’ve heard a lot recently about helicopter parenting.  Most all parents immediately reject the notion that they might be one.  In defending themselves, they usually reference protecting their kids’ safety, success and happiness.  It’s probably not worth indicting or crucifying them.  The issue is – where do we go from here?   Here’s a parallel: when I worked in a school district, in assessing student’s learning problems, oft-times a neurologist was called in to determine if there was brain damage. REGARDLESS of the neurologist’s finding, the prescriptive remediation and individualized educational plan WAS THE SAME.  In like fashion, whether you or anyone is ‘convicted’ of being a helicopter parent, here’s what you should do or should have been doing:

  • ·        EVERY failure, whether in the classroom or athletic field should be treated as a learning opportunity. Years ago, I heard the expression “don’t lose the lesson.”  Life teaches us lessons about itself every day – but we must be attuned AND open to learning them.

  • ·        In a casual, conversational, non-accusatory way, walk your student through the defeat: in your heart of hearts, being honest with yourself, what went wrong?” “Did you not put enough effort into it?” “Did you not know, clearly and specifically what you were supposed to do?” “Were you too embarrassed to ask what you thought would be heard as a dumb question?” [The answer to that is “the only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask” – because – inevitably – someone else ALSO didn’t get it.

  • Treat them like peers or friends.  The minute you talk down to them, you’re losing them.  Value their mind and their thoughts.

  • Remember – recent research shows that a negative comment has FOUR TIMES the impact of a positive comment or compliment.

·        In my (other) work, developing business leaders, there are two basics: Leadership is influence. To influence anyone, you must (a) listen to them and (b) meet or fill their needs.  A manager who dictates what employees should do gets far less productivity than the one who connects the needed task(s) or projects to the employee’s dreams and goals.  Same thing with your student!!

  • As a parent, your function is to LEAD your student toward his/her optimum success and happiness. Teach them a model or process to deal with defeat and failure and they’ll learn and value one of life’s most valuable and powerful lessons. Explain how you’ve handled defeats and whether or not it worked. As in much of life, showing your vulnerability can be bonding.

·        Whether you’re helicoptering or over-parenting or just compassionate, allow them to fail and get themselves back up.
·        And if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate!
Steve Simons,

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

FOUR Actions to Strengthen your student’s success this year

 By now, your student(s) have been back in school for a week or several.  As you envision their school year, keep the following in mind:  The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.  Whatever you saw them do or not do last year will probably RECUR this year!  In addition – and this is a hard one for many people to believe – all behavior is successful – at living out ‘the script’ that’s in our heads, whether conscious, sub-conscious or other.  Hopefully these are successful behaviors.  But often, they can be self-defeating actions or self-fulfilling prophesies, etc. The ONLY exception to that explanation MAY be that they may simply don’t KNOW any other response.  But if you want your student to change, you have to change the results they experience.  [ACTION 1] The best way to achieve that is to alter or fine-tune their PROCESS.  [ACTION 2] You may (probably?) have to guide them, in explicit detail, in planning what and when they will do something – prioritize, plan, write it down.  Recent research regarding the teenage brain tells us their ability to balance and weigh priorities and thence to plan is weak, not fully formed and incomplete at this age.  That incomplete brain maturation also leads to easily forgetting what they were doing.L  [ACTION 3] Helping them plan toward big projects – and breaking the project into more do-able chunks, perhaps using a large wall calendar or such can be a great tool and strategy to help them see the bigger picture and then to guide their WEEKLY actions.  [ACTION 4] One secret which helps overcome several different issues is SMALLER & SMALLER.  Take any task and break it into smaller chunks. This diminishes procrastination, fear, avoidance, too little time, poor planning, etc.  It also increases the person’s self-confidence [self-confidence comes from repeated successes], hence increases their MOMENTUM toward the next step.  And the key is to ACT NOW. If you’ve seen a problem or weakness in the past, don’t wait until it mushrooms into major problems – begin the correction now.  And please report back on your results!  Steve Simons,

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Life too comfortable for today’s kids?

Life has changed.  Society has changed!  We wanted to give our children a better life – and we did!  But unfortunately we may have made it too easy for them.  Research and observations from college professors, deans and statewide education officials tell us that an alarming number of today’s students simply don’t have the self-management skills and habits needed to succeed in college.  One way to assess this for your student is to ask yourself how well they really deal with challenges and adversity. 
Do they mope around or complain – “it was somebody else’s fault” or do they get back up, re-commit and try, try again? And if you don’t know – because you haven’t known or observed their reactions, you MIGHT be overly protective.  In other words, you may have shielded them so well from adversity and defeat that they never learned those highly valuable and important ‘failure’ lessons!  
Another option: ask yourself whether you have seen and see (now) daily examples of REAL planning, setting short-term goals, working daily toward long-term goals – suffering defeats and getting back up and in the game.  And be careful to discern whether s/he frequently uses that adult phrase “I’m gonna” but seldom DOES what they said they would.  And if you’d like, contact us at [or (518) 475-1538] for a free consultation and assessment.