Dear Reader,

Last week, I witnessed a school sports session where in the first 5 minutes people were being shoved, equipment was being thrown around and balls were being kicked all over the place. To my surprise, there wasn't a single child in sight. This session was being run by teachers, for teachers. The adults were excited to have a day off to enjoy together and they were cutting loose.

It struck me that if our young people had been engaging in this behaviour, we would have likely have been inclined to begin screaming for order. However, because it was adults, it was viewed as plain old good fun.

This contrast raises a key question....Why do we demand certain behaviours of our children?

Helping a young person develop is hard work. It takes huge amounts of energy and requires us to constantly make decisions about whether or not to challenge behaviours. It can (to say the least), become exhausting and at times we feel like we are nagging. If we try to address every issue it can really strain our relationship with children and young adults. 

So, how can we guide them, without becoming a miserable, tireless taskmaster?

By choosing what really matters....

A lot of the time, when we are challenging behaviour we are acting on autopilot. Our subconscious is interpreting our values and giving us feelings of irritation, so we act to bring our children back in line. You and your children only have so much energy and time. Using it wisely is really important to your health and supporting your young person/people. Picking 2 areas of focus for your standards and focussing your time and energy on these helps you get the most from your effort, whilst keeping stress down. As things get better you can add introduce new standards.

Share the plan

So often in life we avoid talking about things until the last minute because we worry there will be conflict. Well guess what? addressing things at the last-minute guarantees maximum conflict!

Sharing our plans to enforce a standard is going to get some grumbles (especially from teenagers) but in doing so we bring them into the decision making process. This increases their buy in, and gives them time to digest so there are no surprises. This maximises our chance of success.

I'll be back the same time next month, for more on educating young people effectively.

Best wishes