DO YOU KNOW WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR PRETEEN & WHAT DOESN'T?
Is your preteen living up to his potential at school and at home? If not, don’t give up on him! You can motivate him if you:
¨ Help him set attainable goals. Make sure they’re clear, understandable and small.
¨ Find ways for him to explore his interests. Not sure what his interests are? Ask him!
¨ Praise him when he does well. On the flip side, offer constructive criticism when he stumbles.
¨ Be creative in getting him help. If he doesn’t do well with one-on-one tutoring, for instance, maybe he’d blossom in a study group.
¨ Accept him for who he is. Love your preteen unconditionally.
Be sure you don’t
¨ Set unreasonable expectations.
¨ Threaten your preteen or punish him when he fails to achieve.
¨ Enforce too-strict rules.
¨ Think you should ignore his achievements because achieving “is what he’s supposed to do.”
¨ Criticize him when he stumbles.
¨ Compare him to high-achieving siblings or friends.
Source: “Tips for Parenting Underachievers for Parents of Underachieving Teens,” About-Underachieving-Teens.com, www.about-underachieving-teens.com/parenting-tips.html. Reprinted with permission from © Copyright 2008 The Parent Institute
LISTEN TO YOUR MIDDLE SCHOOLER TO INCREASE COMMUNICATION
Many parents of middle schoolers think their kinds don’t talk to them enough. Be sure the lack of conversation isn’t because of you.
Many parents suffer from the same problem they complain about in their children—they don’t listen.
And you aren’t listening if you:
¨ Take over the conversation. Your child says, “You know that new kid at school, Jake…” You say: “Jake! I met his mom at the PTA. They seem lovely. You should call him.: Maybe your child was going to share something with you. But she probably won’t now.
¨ Always put your child off. You can’t drop everything each time your child calls your name. But if your answer is almost always: “Hold on” or “Just a minute,” your child will save what she was going to say—may forever.
To increase your chances for conversation with your child, try to:
¨ Let your child finish! Don’t just assume you know what your child is going to say.
¨ Think ahead about times when your child can have the floor. For many families, time spent in the car or otherwise doing errands is an ideal time. Be quiet during these times and give your child a chance to bread the silence.
Source: Kenneth R. Ginsburg with Martha M. Jablow, “But I’m Almost 13!” An Action Plan for Raising a Responsible Adolescent, ISBN: 0-8092-9717-5 (Contemporary Books, 1-877-833-5524, www.mcgraw-hill.com). Reprinted with permission from © Copyright The Parent Institute 2008