Moving From Critic to Coach
“I do have a success story I have to share:
My daughter has been unmotivated and struggling in math, so we got her a tutor for Monday evenings. On Monday she texted me from school to say she really needed to see the tutor that day as she had a test Wednesday and had no idea what was going on in class — but the tutor had just emailed me to say she was sick and couldn’t tutor this week. When we both got home she was angry and crying, saying she was going to fail. My go-to would be to take what I thought was a teachable moment and tell her she needed to plan further in advance and study more rather than spending so much time on screen. BUT I DID NOT DO THAT!!
I sat back on the couch, hit her with some heartfelt empathy about how stressful that must be, and asked her what solutions there might be. She pitched skipping school or ditching that class. Rather than rising to the bait, I asked her if she could think of anything she could do TODAY, not tomorrow when the test was. She said she couldn’t think of any, so I offered to brainstorm. When she agreed to hear my ideas I suggested calling a friend or showing it to me to see if I could help. She got mad and stomped away.
But an hour later she came back, apologized and asked if I would help. Thank heavens it was geometry, my strong suit in middle school math, so we had a good study session where she learned how the concepts and applied them successfully with the study packet. It actually went fine!
I really believe she never would have asked me to help if I had been critical from the outset. And stepping back to a coaching role was way less stressful for me too.”
— Mom of a 12 year-old who participated in the Redefining Discipline online 4-week class in March 2019