Learn How You can Be a Positive Academic Coach For Your Preteen

A good coach is someone who guides, encourages and inspires.  A noted clinical child psychologist says thinking of yourself in this role is a good way to make sure your child is easy to learn.


Start the new calendar with a resolution that you can be a “positive academic coach” for your child.


Here are some guidelines:

¨         Be a resource.  Never do your child’s homework for him.  But be around, whenever you can be, to give encouragement, answer questions and suggest places (such as a website) that your child might go to find out more.

¨         Don’t scold.  Remember, you are a positive coach.  So skip the comments like, “You’re doing it all wrong.”

¨         Don’t feel you have to know it all.  There will be times when you are not familiar with the curriculum your child is expected to know.  It’s okay to say, “I never learned that.  Are there any hints in your book?”

¨         Talk about what your child is learning.  Grades are important, but they are a product of learning.  It is equally important (many experts say even more so) to emphasize the process.  This includes hard work, effort and making progress.

¨         Understand your child has strengths and weaknesses.  Your child may never need help in social studies, but that doesn’t mean he may not sometimes get confused in math.  Support and encourage your child in every class, but do not expect the same performance in every subject.

Source:  Kerby T. Alvy, Ph.D., The Positive Parent: Raising Healthy, Happy and Successful Children, Birth-Adolescence, ISBN: 978-0-8077-4808-4 (Teachers College Press, 1-800-575-6566,  Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2009, The Parent Institute

Beware of the Bribery Trap When Motivating Your Child

A child who expects something in return for accomplishing even the smallest task is not motivated.  She is letting you know that if your want something from her, you are going to have to bride her.

       Are your efforts at motivation really just a form of bribery?

Ø  Are you are trying to strike a bargain?  “If you clean your room, I’ll get you those new shoes everybody has.”  Your child may not even have been thinking of the shoes.  But now, with your words, she expects them just for cleaning her room.  This is a bribe.

Ø  Does your child understand the worth of what she needs to do?  If you stress that nightly studying helps her master the material and prepares her for class, that is motivation.  If you stress studying because you pay for grades that’s a bribe.

Ø  Does your child understand that in ‘real life” people usually have to work before they play?  With motivation, she chooses the “play,” such as going somewhere with a friend.

You provide the motivating statement:  “When you have taken the dog for her evening walk, then I can take you to Kelsey’s hours.”

Source:  Jody Johnston Pawel, The Parent’s Toolshop:  The Universal Blueprint for Building a Healthy Family, ISBN: 1-929643-34-9 (Ambris Publishing, 1-877-748-4541, www.parentstoolship,com).   Reprinted with permission from Copyright ©2009, The Parent Institute