by Joey & Carla Link
photo credit: freemagebank
A friend of mine who is the CEO of a very large company with plants in several countries often talks about how he uses some human resource business practices in the parenting of his kids. One of his favorite phrases he likes to use is “SUCCESS!” He says he wants to be sure in everything he does with his kids, whether it be helping them understand how to live for God or to prepare them for the day they leave home, he is setting them up for success.
What a great plan of action. This takes his parenting out of the negative of “You didn’t do this…” or “We can’t count on you to do anything! You are never going to amount to anything.”
Why don’t they get their stuff done? What are they doing instead? Are you asking too much? Are your expectations too high for them to see success?
At a parent-teacher conference when our son was in high school, we asked each of his teachers how much time a day should the homework they assign take. It was apparent some of them had never thought about it. When we added up what they all said, our son had about 3-4 hours of homework every single day. No wonder some of his chores weren’t getting done.
When we knew he had a test coming up or a paper to finish, we offered to do them for him. You are your kids greatest champion.
Now, perhaps it was an issue on your child’s part that stopped him from completing his tasks. If so, why and how will your child fix it or do you need to step in to help him figure it out?
For instance, a mom called me frustrated with her 12 year old son. He was forgetting something he need for soccer practice or a game 50% of the time they left the house. Being a good and loving mom she went back to get it for him every time. She asked me how many times she should continue doing this before giving him a consequence.
What is this mom doing to set her son up for success? She said she reminded him several times to be sure he got everything ready for soccer, and he responded with “Yes mom.” But yet somehow he still didn’t get everything in his soccer bag.
This kid knew he didn’t have to check his bag. He figured his gear would be there, forgetting he often got it out to play soccer with his brothers in the back yard. When he found he had forgotten something, he knew his mom would go back home and get it for him. This was not setting him up for success.
So what could this mom do to help set her son up for success? First, instead of calling a reminder out to him as she walked through the great room on her way to the kitchen, she calls his name and waits for him to respond so she knows she has his attention. When he comes to her he is looking her in the eye, and she tells him to check his soccer bag and make sure his gear is all there.
Now it is a matter of obedience which holds her son accountable. Reminders do not hold kids accountable. This is the appropriate thing to do for younger kids but this boy is 12 years old!
Setting a child up for success means you are going to give your child all the tools he needs to fulfill his responsibilities. One tool parents often don’t give their kids is the ability to think outside their box, and to think about how to make right choices and decisions on their own.
While mom was graciously reminding her son, at some point she needs to turn the responsibility of getting his soccer gear together over to her 12 year old son. If a child is capable of remembering what day practice is and what day the games are, he is capable of remembering to check his bag and make sure all his gear is there.
Mom decided she was tired of doing his remembering for him. She told her son she was giving him ownership of his soccer bag and was through running home to get what he forgot. A couple days later, sure enough her son didn’t have all his gear. She just looked at him and shrugged her shoulders and reminded him what she had told him earlier.
Setting your kids up for success in things they want to do is teaching them to think through their life’s responsibilities. The time will come all too soon when you won’t be around to be there back-up team.
Carla and I are putting the finishing touches on a book titled “Taming the Lecture Bug and Getting Your Kids to Think” that we believe will be a big help and encouragement to parents. It will be out this summer!