– Albert Einstein
By the time you read this article, most people’s New Year’s Resolutions will have been abandoned. WHY IS TRUE CHANGE SO DIFFICULT?
In my experience, it usually stems from three things:
– Inadequate motivation
– Wishful thinking
– Trying to do too much, too fast
Inadequate Motivation: Changing study habits and school performance is particularly difficult because children have a hard time seeing the long term consequences of their bad habits, while the television watching or video games they have to give up to make the changes provide immediate and positive strokes. We parents have to create much more immediate consequences to drive our children to change those bad habits. For example, you might help things along by eliminating your child’s clothing allowance and money for entertainment. Reinforce the lesson by reminding them that in life, when people do poorly in their jobs (a child’s primary job is their education) they get fired and lose their income.
Wishful Thinking: I meet with parents every day who know how far behind their child is in school and yet still resist making changes to their child’s commitments, schedules and habits. They hope that somehow, things will just change, and that learning and grades will turn around on their own. Instead, they need some changed priorities and a time-tested plan to succeed. That plan, almost certainly, will not be to “do what you’ve always done.”
Changing Too Much, Too Fast: The literature is full of data showing how bad we humans are at making big changes. When we undertake big changes all at once, we inevitably slip up, and when we do, we give up. There is persuasive evidence that making small continuous changes is far more effective. Don’t worry, these small, “compounding” changes will ultimately create large results. But start small if you want changes to stick.
If you are struggling to help your child change their academic performance, feel free to call me. We specialize in making lasting improvements in learning and I’m always happy to talk about education with anyone, anytime. Happy New Year!