Friday, March 29, 2019


It MIGHT be because they’re working on the goals YOU told them they should have – or goals teachers or someone else said they should pursue.
Would you be motivated by goals someone else told you that you should pursue?  Probably not much!

If they’re truly not motivated, it HAS to be because they have nothing to look forward to!  [Skip 2 paragraphs down.]

Don’t bother to ask what motivates them – very few people know themselves!  Instead, watch what they do or enjoy – or avoid or reject.  All these will give you clues.

Strive to avoid negative comments – it will shut down future communications.  If you must comment, ask innocent, naive questions – just information-gathering questions – that you’re sincerely interested in.

Your wisest strategy is to start ASKING them about their dreams somewhere around 12 y.o.  They may blow you off – but you’ve planted the seed AND made them realize – Mom or Dad may be back – so when you ask again, it won’t come ‘out of the blue.’

You ALSO will have planted a seed in their mind wondering about and even dreaming toward – even if they feign rejection! J

If your teen is ‘older’ -16, 17 or beyond – it’s STILL not too late, but will take longer – and more repetitions – but you will still plant powerful seeds!!

PLEASE KNOW that by subtly influencing your teen to think about their dreams and goals, they will almost always “naturally” become more academically inspired and motivated.  Can’t beat that, can you?


Wednesday, March 27, 2019


You need a framework to understand teen behavior - …
·        What made him/ her do that?
·        Where did they learn it?
·        Was it effective or successful previously?  By whom?
·        Did they see it on TV, etc.?

BASIC ISSUE: all behavior is successful – at living out its expectations. Worst example: a student who acted out so badly to be sent to the principal, knowing he would receive corporal punishment [paddling].  Whether consciously or unconsciously, he craved the attention!!!

So when you see an odd or bad behavior from your teen, ask yourself the questions above.

THEN, be prepared IN ADVANCE to act or react in a way that will diminish or correct that bad behavior.  Will your approach ALWAYS work?  Possibly not.  Some “corrections” may take multiple deliveries.  But every time you DON’T, you’re teaching him/her or letting them get away with it, reinforcing it.

Key Reactions:
·        No emotion – otherwise you teach them that emotions rule.
·        Remove the result they wanted.
·        ASK them what they think their punishment should be [this can be amazingly effective].
·        Be sure there’s some ‘takeaway’ –
o   like loss of phone,
o   loss of some other privilege,
o   loss of ride,
o   loss of car,
o   no friends to come over
o   - nor go there.
o   [fill in your own, here] ________________.

Another key point: if you’ve been wishy-washy for most of their lives – and you will now take a stronger stance, expect it to take several instances.  And if you think you’re being harsh, you’re probably not. Think of it more like a sports coach trying to teach key elements of their sport.  But stay at it.  You love them for their life and future – and allowing undisciplined, unpunished behavior now will impair their adult life – BE ASSURED.


Monday, March 18, 2019


With all the media attention regarding the college admissions scandal, it’s a great opportunity to give your teen the BEST SUCCESS BOOST possible!!

While positive reinforcement of any kind is good, especially the more specific the better, remind yourself of what REALLY leads to life’s success: not the grades, not the college, not the fraternity or sorority. Results seen many, many times over show us that (o) self-discipline, (o) focus, and (o) rebounding from defeat are the heart of any truly successful person. [yes, I lumped time mgmt and prioritization in with self-discipline.]

But here’s the key: compliment and reinforce the ‘Success Behaviors’ you see more than the end-result:
- “Joey, I really admire how disciplined and focused you were in prepping for that science test.” –
“Susie, I thought you did a great job in all that practice and prep on shot-blocking – before your soccer championship game!”

And along the way, you'll probably strengthen your communication with your teen!! ❤️👍

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The GOLD In That AWFUL College Admissions Scandal

The college admissions scandal in the US is MAJOR news – everyone’s got an opinion.  And your teen might even be asking “why bother to work hard – if that’s the way it works?”

But here’s the saddest result: those students who were wrongly admitted to those ‘preferred’ colleges – haven’t – and may never – learn the joy and pleasure of success.

This is a great time to introduce or remind your teen of the joy of success and its’ cousin - happiness!!  [remember – from previous posts – happiness is not success, but is closely intertwined – but UNsuccess almost always leads to unhappiness]

Imagine your favorite sports team – maybe your teen’s HS basketball team or tennis team – comes out on the court – their opponents sit down on the court – and your team scores and scores and scores… how silly!  Every star athlete LOVES the competition – overcoming an opponent.  Of course, many people will argue this point - but they’re wrong.

So, please, take the time to discuss with your teen the joy of success, responding and rebounding from setbacks – and then continue to work with them to guide them to their continuing and growing successes [and don’t forget to VALUE their failures and setbacks –and grow from them.]