When I talk to parents one of the main topics we discuss is work ethic. It’s a broad topic that encompasses many different viewpoints, but usually starts with education. The one thing we usually agree on is the importance of a good education. Regardless of where you live, or whether you kids are in public or private school, you will at some point encounter a challenge with school work.
It can manifest in many forms. Most often it occurs in middle school. As children are moved from the single classroom model they must learn to go to different rooms, meet different teachers, for different subjects. They are also made more responsible for turning in assignments, and turning them in on time. These are crucial steps in preparing them for high school, and this should be the key motivation for your child.
During this time in there education some students struggle acclimating. Not every child is born with a great work ethic. If your child does have one, there is no guarantee that it won’t change at some point. That is why our role as parents is so important. Teachers have different methods to help students get through this, but as with many things, not all methods work with all students. This is an opportunity for parents to really get involved. Don’t wait until your child is struggling before you begin this journey. Not to say that you can’t correct the problem, it’s just much easier to be out in front of it.
How can you be proactive? Start with meeting all of your child’s teachers. Find out what is expected in each class. Learn which systems they use in class. Be sure you know their preferred method of communication and don’t be afraid to use it. These are stepping stones to help you be involved so you are not surprised if you child begins to struggle. This is also where your child’s work ethic will be cultivated. That said, even if you have done all of this it may not prevent an issue from occurring, it will just help you teach them how cope with it, and correct it.
Different children respond in different ways, but it is our job as parents to get a favorable response when challenges are met. Don’t be afraid set expectations, and then deliver consequences when they aren’t met. I see so many parents afraid to take away a child’s privilege to do something. Whether it be a phone, a gaming system, or time with friends, you have to find something to use as leverage. For instance, my son loves the Golden State Warriors. I told him recently that any assignments that aren’t turned in on time will result in him not being able to watch any games for a week.
It’s also important to reinforce WHY you are using the leverage. Don’t give them the ‘because I said so’ speech. Use these moments to teach. Make sure they understand that the reason you are handing down consequences is because their future success depends on their ability to follow through, and meet deadlines. They all have dreams, or wishes for the future. You just have to find out what theirs are so you can relate how important their education is to attain it. Constant reinforcement, followed by rewards when they do well will benefit them greatly in the future.