A Parent's Back-to-School Game Plan

It's a new page for your parenting playbook! Psychotherapist and Life Coach Didi Zahariades joined us share how thinking like a coach can help your kids have a better school year!

Step 1:  Define Your Family as Team.

  • Be proactive and define your family in terms of a team.  It immediately provides the support your children & teens crave!  Be the leader of your family; be prepared to make the tough calls; pull rank; set family meetings; discuss the importance of your family.  Put together a game plan for your family and USE it!
  • Take parenting to the next level by thinking like a Coach.  It will empower your thoughts & actions.  Go Team Anderson!

Step 2:      Explain the Rules: Set Expectations and Penalties before the School Year Starts!

  • Think of this school year like a game; it requires a full team (family) understanding of the rules.  Your child can succeed when he knows what is expected.
  • Set up Expectations BEFORE the school year begins.  Your child has a higher chance to meet your expectations if she has sat down and discussed these with you.
  • If you expect B’s --- then you need to say, "I expect a B from you in every class.
  • Be very cautious & specific in the words you use!
  • A proactive parent will discuss what the penalty is PRIOR to it occurring. 
    Let your family know the consequence of their behavior.  This allows your child to CHOOSE his/her behavior based with knowledge of the penalty.

Step 3:  Everyone needs to know their role

  • Know your role as the leader of the family.  The Coach of the team is not the “friend” on the team.  He/She is the leader.  This is a clear role to the team.  (The coach even dresses differently!)
  • Let a Teen-be a-Teen.  Keep a Kid-A-Kid.  Respect towards parents is important and nurtured by a parent allowing a child to play instead of taking on adult conversation, adult TV, adult arguing, etc.  Allow your child/teen the security of a nurturing environment by safe guarding their space both physically and mentally. 
  • Be cautious in defining a person by her role. For example:  “She’s our cheerleader!”  What happens if she doesn’t make the team?  Your daughter may now be more concerned about letting down the family than in her own feelings about not making the cheer team.
  • Your child needs to explore all avenues from sports to the arts.  It is easy to say, “Susan is our athlete and Tommy has always been the academic.”  Then does Susan feel trapped if she wants to try something new?
  • Recognize the positive & negative roles within your family.  Is Mom making a role negative because of her feelings as a “band-geek”?

Step 4:  Celebrate the Wins!

  • It is very important to give praise and celebrate when things are going right.  When a B+ is achieved, announce it and Celebrate!  Keep up the momentum.
  • Create an environment which encourages the wins because it feels good!
  • Be cautious to support achievement, not perfection. Doing great is good enough.
  • As a coach, your praise is important.
  • Make sure there is MORE focus on the Wins than there is on the Losses.

For more information, visit Didi's website.

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