Tuesday, May 31, 2016

No More Helicopter Parents!

Recently. I heard a mother say “I’m the worst helicopter parent – I can’t stop myself…”  [I’ve also heard people are tiring of the term “helicopter parenting.”]  So whether you’re ‘guilty’ of helicopter parenting or not, let’s transcend it– and focus on STRENGTHENING what a parent can do - - to build achievers, succeeders and champions.

Let’s start here: those notorious IQ tests –the real ones, administered one-on-one by a licensed psychologist, measure THE SPEED at which people learn, NOT whether or not they CAN learn.  Take that one step further - when a student encounters difficulty learning, it simply means the learning may take more time, not that they CAN’T learn.  And instantly one excellent quote comes to mind:  “All things are difficult before they are easy.”  (Thomas Fuller, circa 1650.)  So if your teenager is experiencing difficulty learning – in any field, your role becomes supporting their progressive steps toward mastery. 

And based on the research findings of Carol Dweck and colleagues – who found that, when students understand that the ability to learn is NOT finite and limited – that they are NOT ‘terminally dumb,’ students CHANGE their perception of “failure.”  They realize that a failure is simply a step along the way to success.  And that directly supports the notion that failure is a REQUIRED step along the path to success.  [The key issue – and this is where parents’ role becomes more valuable – is that the student LEARNS from a failure.]  Failure is simply a road sign that says “we’re not there yet.”  Remember those family road trips when your kids asked, after the first 4 blocks – “are we there yet?” - Same thing. J

One of the best ways to reverse a misperception is to hugely alter the expected paradigm.  When a student glumly looks like – or even says – “I’m so dumb” – or “I worked so hard and failed – I give up” - you could say something like “you got a D? That’s great!  At least it wasn’t an F – and you’ve got room to develop and grow.  Now how do you think we can do that?”

Or – “you studied a lot for that chemistry exam – and didn’t get the A you expected.  If you had it to do over, how would you change your strategy?”  [and DON’T let them off with “I’d study harder.”  That’s too global and hence meaningless.]

So the key elements are: (a) intelligence is NOT limited, and (b) recognizing that failure is just one step closer to success! [AND you should throw in – those who don’t fail aren’t even in the game!!]

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Three ABSOLUTES for Your Teenager!!

Your teenager’s success [or non-success] will be decided by THREE basic, foundational PREREQUISITE building blocks.  Without them, s/he is committed to a life of mediocrityL!
And WITH THEM, even if they’re average in all other areas, they are essentially guaranteed success. 
Here’s why: we believe that knowledge is power.  IT IS NOT!  Like a battery, knowledge is potential power – but it’s useless until and unless it’s connected to something – to life, as it were! To connect that battery, the three attributes below are the ‘connecting cables to success! And as reported by college officials, far too many college students are significantly lacking in these three traits.

Here’s what they NEED to succeed:
1.      The stamina and willingness to rebound after a defeat.  No one has ever achieved anything of significance without failing along the road to success.  And if you’ve shielded them from failures or defeats, they have probably not developed this capacity. [hopefully, not your teenager.]
2.      After suffering a defeat, it’s crucial to LEARN from that setback. REMEMBER - a failure is a mistake you didn’t learn from. If they keep repeating the same mistake over and over, success is getting no closer! L As a parent, it’s OK for you to ‘comfort them’ - “oh, it’ll be OK” – but then move quickly on to “what did you learn?” This can take time, effort and exploration. Recognize that it’s overly simplistic and virtually worthless to say “work harder.”  Your student needs specifics: do more of WHAT?  Do LESS of what?  Focus on what specific area or element?  And if they were ‘lazy’ – there’s A REASON they were lazy: didn’t really care, didn’t really know what or how to it.  This is where you explore, ask, ask, and ask, deeper and deeper.
3.      The final prerequisite building block is true and real goal-setting.  Real goals are specific and measurable.  If they aren’t either of those, they aren’t goals.  And if they’re not specific and measurable, you’ll never know if or when you arrived.  The pursuit of goals IS LIFE – whether family and relationships, business or professional success or physical health, etc. Goals need to continue THROUGHOUT life!
As we said at the top, if your teenager possesses and APPLIES these attributes, they WILL SUCCEED.  And if they don’t, you can pretty well bet they will fall short of their true potential throughout all of life.
And your key role as a parent is to check, assure or help them obtain these traits and habit patterns.  For an assessment tool go to Student (or Parent) Questionnaire at Get Started, at Launch-Your-Life.com and see what you learn!  And as needed, please contact us at Launch-Your-Life.com for further information or guidance!  SUCCESS!!