Choose a proven success formula

For many of us, we find our children slipping in their academic performance as each year passes. We lecture, we plead and we nag to get them to put in better efforts. At other times, we end up battling and yelling with our kids to get them motivated. Yet, nothing seems to work.
Insanity: Do the same things, but expect a better result
Too often, I find parents repeating these same strategies over and over, and getting the same results. Yet, somehow, they expect a better result. We can change this by adopting a simple formula that requires more from our children.
The simple success formula for a better school year

1. Prepare the kids for a change
Have a chat with your kids, and let them know that you’re going to be making some changes. No threats or heavy handed talks. Instead, mom and dad will do things differently. This begins with:
2. No more nagging or prodding or pushing from mom or dad
Promise the kids, “We will no longer nag, prod, push or constantly remind you about things.” And honor this promise!
When you do, your kids might begin to celebrate. That’s okay, but it would be wise for them to hold the applause. You are making a commitment to stop all that nagging and prodding that you (may) have used in the past.
After all, it was exhausting and frustrating – and little changed over time. So, from this point forward, none of that. Instead, explain that.
3. “No goodies until the homework is done”
This is the magic. We often make the mistake of setting up life so that the kids get to enjoy all the goodies (i.e., toys, TV, computer, phone, playing ball, friends, video games, etc.) BEFORE they do homework and chores.
This is a major mistake and almost guarantees that most kids will not perform their best. Why?  Because we give up our leverage before requiring the work be completed.
How do we do this? If we are clear, we see how hard it is to force kids to do homework. So stop trying to do this. Instead, control the goodies, and wait until you actually see that the work is done.
Yes, there will be drama. Yes, the kids will resist. Yes, many will test your resolve and do nothing for a few days.
This is predicable. But stay strong and focus on controlling the goodies while ignoring the drama and whining and the complaints. Just be patient. No phones, no IPads, no TV, no video, no going outside, no toys, no extended conversations with Mom and Dad. No friends over. Nothing – but taking care of homework and responsibilities.
4. Hold them accountable every day
The final piece is that we must take responsibility to inspect the completed homework. Why? Because children will mislead you. They will lie. They will be cunning and deceive you. It happens.
Instead of guessing that they will be honest, inspect their work. After you see the completed work, then and only then, can they get access to their goodies and friends.
When you commit to this process, you will see that a magical process unfolds. You are no longer fighting and struggling with them. Instead, they realize that getting their homework done is in their interest.  Everything changes once this awareness unfolds, but it all depends upon your commitment and consistency to stick to the simple formula.
I encourage you to try this formula if you are struggling with your child’s academic success. You may be surprised at your ability to shift their habits in the weeks to come. Best of luck!
Dr. Randy Cale offers practical guidance for a host of parenting concerns. For more information visit


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