the new school year gains speed, I’d encourage you to encourage your student(s)
to KNOW what their grades are, often and NOW.
Once in a while, I have some great thoughts. Here’s one: it is impossible to improve anything
without a number - golf, bowling, weight loss, etc. I am currently in the early stages of collaborating
on an initiative called Grade$Count. One
of the foundational elements is encouraging kids – and working with their
school – to have easy access and knowledge of their grades. Far too often, I’ve been working with a teen –
and ask him/her how their grades are – and a disturbingly high percentage of time,
they don’t know.
the stage now – work with their teachers to let them know you want your teen/ their
student to know what their grades are, so that they can intervene as quickly as
possible, if and when needed. And frankly,
‘knowing the score’ almost always inspires anyone to want to do a little bit
maybe, when you and they see those grades, take a minute or two to ask – “How
do you feel about that?” - PAUSE, WAIT
FOR REPLY – then, as it may fit – say “is there anything I can help with to help
you build it?” It’s a subtle way to show
that you’re paying attention, want to help, and encourage their focus and attention.
one more thing – do this
more and earlier you know and can guide your student – the less harsh you will
ever need to be.
score – and succeed!
On another note: Harshness breeds
one on-line post I see frequently regarding dealing with teenagers in which the
writer (“expert”) is constantly advising parents in applying harsh,
overpowering techniques to address bad behaviors – refusal to do homework, disrespect,
etc. – but his approach is ALWAYS very harsh.
While I can’t disagree with most of what he says, it just seems to me
that most young people are inherently pretty good kids – they’re just searching
and exploring alternate behavioral choices – and need just a little re-direction,
guidance and reinforcement.
people lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau
avoid a school year of quiet desperation, why not make this your student’s most
successful year ever? To accomplish that,
some change – maybe a little, maybe a lot – is necessary:
What will be different about school this
year for your teenager?
Will they study more?
Will they manage their time better?
Does your student have a vision for
success that motivates them every day?
you answered no to any of the above, there are several ways you can help your
teenager make this year their best year.
does not have to be a daily battle, but you should enforce a few rules.
Turn off the TV,
but music is fine. Background music may help keep your child more
homework do not mix. Push alerts on your child’s cell phone will pull
their focus away, so have them put their phone out of ear shot during homework
Define a study
space that works for your child and the rest of the family. Maybe it’s
your teenagers’ room, or the kitchen table.
study habits are created, not born.
regular schedule serves all family members best. It helps to build
good study and lifelong successful habits.
intervals. It’s hard to focus on any one thing for hours at a time.
Depending on your teen, a 5-minute break every half hour will increase
cramming. Most students know well in advance when tests are
scheduled. Reading chapters, taking notes, or rewriting notes taken
during class, over a few days, will help with retention.
do you handle a student who constantly avoids doing school work? There’s
a reason they avoid it –and it’s valuable for you to explore and discuss that
with them. Could be a bad past
experience – either with the subject or a teacher. Could be that’s it just hard
for them! Could be distraction by the need/desire to talk with friends, get on
line, etc. Address and resolve these
issues, amicably and consensually.
word of caution: DO NOT LECTURE or “TELL” them what to do or how they should
see things. Be assured – this will ‘shut
them down’ attitudinally. Discuss issues
and help enlighten them. Use QUESTIONS
and questioning, and a few dramatic pauses.
[in other words, when you ask a question and receive a negative, even
hostile response – or no response or “I don’t know” – sit quietly with no
popular teen response is “I don’t know.”
Don’t let them get away with it. Remain
on the subject and or target. Wait for
an answer. If none is coming, ask another
of the best questions, asked in various forms, is “what did you learn from
that?” Every defeat or failure or
setback has a learning lesson inside it.
Ask, explore and identify it!
I’m not a huge fan of his, one of Dr. Phil’s best questions is “how’s that working for
you?” HOWEVER – that’s actually somewhat
sarcastic – so AVOID it. Ask gentler
questions like “what results have you gotten in the past?” – or similar.
– maintain regular follow-up – weekly, may every other day – and strive to
support and maintain that regular schedule referenced above.
IT A GREAT YEAR!
Have you ever had a
coach? A life coach, an executive or
leadership coach? If you have, you know
that the good ones can have a profound and positive impact on your life –
business or personal. Fact is, according
to the people who track such figures, business and life coaching is one of the
fastest growing professions throughout the US!
My expectation and belief is that’s because it works! Bill Gates has said “everyone should have a
coach.” Ever seen any sports teams go
onto the field without a coach? Actors have directors, singers have voice coaches,
Here’s the bad news: despite
the best and most dedicated parenting, many (!) incoming college students,
despite stellar academic performance, have weak self-management skills and
habits. And when the first big challenge
hits them in college, they collapse ("mentally"/ behaviorally) !
As the fall school semester
approaches, it might be worth your considering a success coach for your teen –
not because s/he is failing or stumbling – but because you want the best for
them – and a coach would accelerate and assure their success [and happiness!] –
now, into college and into life!
If you’d like to learn about
success coaching for teens, contact us at CoachSteve@Launch-Your-Life.com
– or visit our website, Launch-Your-Life.com
, complete the Success Snapshot on the Teens Programs page – and decide for
High schoolers and young adults are maturing toward
adulthood, no matter how you slice it.
Let’s make it easier for them by using a learning and growth process for
something they like to do but wrapped or hidden inside a sports or leisure
activity. This will also increase and
strengthen the bond between parent and teen – in a positive way, and embed an
approach to improving AT ANYTHING – transferable to any area of life.
Have you ever tried to sit still and do nothing for more
than 20 minutes? Not reading, sleeping,
singing, writing, watching TV or surfing the ‘net. Almost no one can, including your teen! So the challenge becomes – how to gently
guide your young person during these long leisurely summer days – and make it
enjoyable and worth THEIR motivated action!
There’s almost nothing we don’t want to improve at (even
teenagers): golf, bowling, lacrosse, tennis, cross-country running, baseball,
video games, gpa, body structure [weight loss, working out, getting in shape],
Motivating Your Teen
Gently inquire as to something they like to do
or become better at. [if you don’t know
what they like to do, THAT’S your starting point!]
Ask them what “level” or score they’d like to
move up to or achieve.
Key point: it’s impossible to become better at anything
without a number – a score, a measurement of some kind. If anyone you tells you “it can’t be
measured” – don’t believe them. They
simply haven’t thought about it long enough.
And “I’ll just know” is similarly a hollow answer.
Find a number – a score or measurement
One gentle challenge you could use: “I’ll bet
you can’t …” - [beat your last score…]
Basic process for
Motivating Your Teen
After finding that score or measurement, ask
“HOW do you think can boost your score, or do better, or beat your best”, etc.
This is critical – because MOST people don’t
really even know how to improve at anything- they just believe if they keep
practicing, it’ll just happen.
Powerful insight: practice does not necessarily
make perfect, it makes permanent. This
is where your guidance comes in.
You may get a little push-back here – don’t let it dissuade
you. Go into the conversation with some
possible actions or steps. If they avoid
or deny, offer your thoughts as possibilities.
Even if they reject yours, you’ve begun a dialog!
Avoid “WORK HARDER!”
as a solution or strategy. It means
Try converting it to “practice longer” or “spend more time
learning with my coach” or “spend more time throwing with my teammate” or
“concentrate on hitting the upper right corner of the net”, or “hit 40 of 50
free throws” etc., etc.
· Identify and collaborate on steps/ actions your
teenager can take to improve: planned time, go to gym, go to field, etc.
· If you don’t know, and your teen doesn’t know –
Think ‘finer and finer levels of detail’
Compliment OFTEN, no matter how small the change
Make this a recurring event or occurrence
without being intrusive or annoying
The key points are (1) measuring and (2) small, sequential
growth and progress steps. AND
reflecting on progress. And if there was
or is no progress, that’s further basis for growth – maybe finding someone who
knows and can help. In any field of
endeavor – sports, academia, etc. – the secret is almost always breaking it
down into finer and finer steps or actions [“finer levels of detail”].
And the MOST important point for Motivating Your Teen
The LEARNING that
occurs is easily and directly transferred to life and the pursuit of success.
Try a Sample CASUAL
“how’re you doing at _____?” [whatever they like
“How much better do you want to be or get to?
“HOW do you improve at this?” [“I don’t know” is often the easy/lazy answer
– don’t allow it to drop there, or, if it’s your preference, come back later
“When do you do that? For how long, etc.”
Ask “When will you be going after that?” “Can I watch?” OR – “Can I check back afterward to see how
Expect that, if this a whole new approach for
you, s/he may be suspicious: what’s Mom/ Dad up to now? Did they read another ‘Grow Your Teen book’
or something?” Weather the storm –
Maintain YOUR focus and attention on these steps
– because far too many people – not just teens – drop the ball, lose focus,
‘forget,’ become distracted, etc.
Reap the rewards of a more success-powerful
And from a test I gave when I was a school psychologist:
“Success makes people happy!”
We have BAD news and Good news - - -
First, THE BAD
As we hear almost
daily, there’s an ever-increasing number of teenage drug addiction cases,
Addiction SUCCESS is
VERY LOW –
90% (!!!) of drug
rehab clients FAIL or FALL BACK
Success rate is approximately
10% - nationally!
The HUGE cost is not
just $$$$ – it’s HUGE and long-term
strife, aggravation and worry for the family as well as the teen
The effects are
ALWAYS long-term – for life!!
Parents – it’s
time to pay attention
yourself – “maybe others, but not my kid”
PLEASE pay attention
Please go to this
link for signs and indicators:
But there’s GOOD NEWS!!
A positive and preventative strategy!
This is the process we use at Launch-Your-Life.com
- you can use it too:
Steve’s Success Tips of the Week
these in sequence]
1. Brainstorm Dreams
2. Select 1 or 2 as Goals
3. Work toward them DAILY
4. Learn from setbacks
5. Be Persistent– DON’T GIVE UP
if the goal changes, THAT’S OK! [it’s the
goal-pursuit PROCESS that’s the power]
And we are available to speak to parents
and other groups – on this and other teenage success-related topics.
PREVENTING teenage drug addiction - News Challenge 13, WNYT-TV. PLEASE WATCH – IMPORTANT INFORMATION for
parents of teens.
Pride of achievement is THE most
powerful motivator influencing human performance. [for dogs, it’s probably treats or affection.]
Pride of performance is especially
important for teens as they and their self-perception grow. They waver between [believing] they know
everything – against doubting and questioning themselves, their parents and the
world. So building a resilient self-image at this age can only strengthen their
future. How does a parent begin to build
or strengthen their teen’s self-pride?
We usually think of three kinds of
motivation: FEAR, INCENTIVE, and PRIDE of ACHIEVEMENT. Experience and even empirical evidence shows
that Pride of Performance is THE most powerful!! So – let’s use it! [FYI - There are spiritual or Biblical
references to pride as one of seven deadly sins. This is NOT that kind of pride.]
One approach we find that begins
influence motivational initiative is to invite teens to identify one thing they
would take pride in achieving “tomorrow or this week.” “Billy/ Joey/ Bobbi, what ONE thing could you
accomplish this week that you would feel really good about?” Sometimes, you’ll receive a sarcastic reply…
Pause, wait them out – say nothing but don’t walk away. Make it obvious “we’re not done.”
When you get an answer - DO NOT
JUDGE. If it’s important or meaningful
to the person, that’s sufficient. What
also can happen – if or in a group – is that someone else – a peer – may say
“oh, c’mon, Joey, that’s lame, who are you kidding?” And if Joey is sincere, he’ll defend his
goal. And if it IS a weak, limp,
‘minor-league’ goal – he’ll replace it. For
a parent, let it go. DO NOT critique or
judge. They’ll come around soon
Now on to the keys:
As days and weeks continue, invite and
request that they progressively increase what they’re pursuing. As this progression continues, the achiever’s
self-expectation AND self-image strengthens.
And self-image is THE single-most influential, guiding and defining factor in all human
KEEP SCORE! Put up a chart on the wall in which your teen
is asked to WRITE “Yes or No,” achieved or not, or a mark or number – whatever
makes sense. Be absolutely assured that
this is a very effective mode of drawing attention. Basic rule of business which directly applies
here: What gets measured - gets attention!
Can you imagine how motivating it is for
someone to FAIL to achieve the goal they said they were proud of pursuing and
achieving? INEVITABLY, if it truly was
important to them, they will re-commit the next week – and probably the week
after, and so on - and that’s what we’re after!! And here’s where you’ll know you hit a
home run – when they say to you – “I’m gonna bump it up higher this week!”
Try it out, keep score of achievements
and progression – and watch them grow!
Several years ago,
driving to the Outer Banks for vacation, on a Pennsylvania country road, I
stopped at a “four-way stop” intersection [I thought], I saw a car coming on my
right and assumed they would also stop. I
proceeded into the intersection – BAMM!! My mistake – that road did NOT have a
stop sign! L Afterward, I got to thinking of the definition
of “accident.” It’s something you simply did not expect, it ‘came
nowhere’ – you thought you had it covered.
That’s EXACTLY what’s
happening to many of today’s incoming college students. They have the
best academic preparation ever – and yet a disturbing and increasing proportion
ARE FAILING. WHY? [and how about yours?]
Parents today give
their kids the best schools, the
best parenting, the best mentoring, the best tutors – and they still fail!
[certainly not all, but the numbers increase every year: drop-outs or taking 5
or 6 years to complete (a very expensive) 4-year degree, etc. But wait, IT
GETS WORSE: very often, these students haven’t developed the skills and habits
to succeed at a job AFTER graduation! They
don’t know how to undertake and complete projects and tasks, plan, prioritize,
allocate their time - and that’s what employers WANT and NEED!
The critical issue is
that, you, the parent, have very little way to KNOW if they’ll succeed in
college until they’re there!
Take the quick survey
below for immediate feedback! And if you’d like to strengthen
your teen’s success,
even if they’re already strong, consider this:
developing success skills – goal-setting,
self-discipline, self-motivation, planning, time management, rebounding from
setbacks and defeats – are the
core and habits built through the program and process of
Launch-Your-Life.com. Whether your teenage student is weak, average or
strong, developing these skills, knowledge and habits can only IMPROVE their future!!
Connect to Launch.Daily@gmail.com
for further information, respond to this blog, or email us.
Is your teenager poised for success?
1. My teenager starts most days with clear,
specific goals, directed toward some long-term dream goal
2. When my teenager does not achieve a goal - fails’, they find
out WHY – and begin strengthening for the next attempt
3. When my teenager does not
achieve a goal - ‘fails’, they interpret it as a challenge to perform better the next
you scored your teenager as 1’s on all questions, they are solidly poised for
success. If you would like to
strengthen, accelerate and assure their success in college and in life,
Launch-Your-Life will still be a wise investment, to strengthen, assure and
accelerate their future. To learn more,
go here… ____________. [note to self: which page?]
you scored your teenager as a mix of 1’s and 2’s, there’s room for growth. To learn more, go here… ____________. [note to self:
you scored your teenager as a mix of 2’, 3’s and 4’s – they will need to
strengthen their self-management skills to release their true potential and
capacity. Launch-Your-Life can
definitely strengthen and prepare them for an even more successful college and
life career. To learn more, go
here… ____________. [note to self: which page?]
NOTE to parents: if you
scored them as all 2’s, it shows a need for growth and change – otherwise their
real potential will remain partially dormant.
hope for it, wish for it, would do anything to help our teenagers achieve it!
we talk about success, many of us quickly become quite philosophical and say
“It’s not just money.” And of course, that’s right. SUCCESS surely
includes family life, interpersonal relationships, good health - but be assured
that a frustrated, unfulfilled career WILL reverberate, permeate and diminish
first recognize that career success is not simply from knowledge – but rather
if and how that knowledge is USED. If the most skilled surgeon in the
world doesn’t USE those skills, s/he is as average as the rest of us.
- - average? What was Garrison Keilor’s line about Lake Wobegon – “where all the men are handsome and all the
children are above average.”
times, average [or above or below] is defined by an IQ test score.
However, those tests measure and predict only ONE THING: school success.
As soon as a student leaves school, IQ scores become (relatively) meaningless.
We all know countless stories of people who couldn’t read well – or didn’t
possess some other school skill – but who achieved great things in business or
science or entertainment, etc. Henry Ford said he wanted to
surround himself with people smarter than him – and he was clearly very
UNTRUE that everyone’s created equal. We’re not! We each have
differing strengths, weaknesses, talents, shortcomings, etc. We’ve
certainly seen MUCH unexpected talent on TV shows in recent years. So –
one key element is to discover what your child’s talent is.
people (and others) are sometimes cautioned about pursuing a goal for which
they aren’t “talented.” I’d suggest - let’s let him/her pursue that goal, learn what’s needed to achieve
it, see how dedicated or committed s/he is – and regardless of natural talent –
go for it! Worst case scenario is that they’ll learn about
themselves. BEST case? They may become the world’s best musician OR
teacher OR engineer OR coach OR heart surgeon, etc., unless they were guided
away by someone’s well-intentioned advice not to pursue that goal.
Daniel Goleman in his seminal book EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
documented the fact that the greatest
predictor and driver of success is how one handles defeats – it’s NOT
intelligence, talent, level OR source of education nor genetics. The
deciding trait is whether s/he handles defeat or failure in a non-emotional,
learn-from-this-experience and try again manner.
coming weeks, we will explore how to strengthen and accelerate your child’s
course, please feel free to comment on these thoughts.