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How to Help Your Student Focus on the Positive

Change is hard. You start with the best of intentions and declarations about how to be better, but often end with disappointment when the change is harder to institute than you thought. What if that could be different? Here’s a new way of thinking about making positive changes with your family.

We often think of change in terms of ending something we don’t care for – a habit or a behavior. Maybe our kids spend too much time on their phones or play more video games than we would like. Or maybe that algebra grade could be higher if studying took priority over Snapchat. Whatever the case may be, clear it from your mind right now. Rather than thinking about what is going wrong, let’s look at what is going right. Does your child excel in a specific subject or in an after-school activity? Has there been a standout moment of success either academic or personal? Does your child have an interest in a hobby that requires more time to foster? With those questions in mind, ask how you could help your student make a change that encourages more of that positive behavior. 

If you find it helpful, ask your child to write down the three best things that have happened this school year so far. Perhaps your son or daughter took the lead on a group project and enjoyed it, but is too shy to do it again. Ask if trying again would be something he or she would be willing to do. Or perhaps learning to play an instrument gave your child a sense of pride. What else can he or she do to continue to encourage that passion?

Of course, we can’t always add more activities into our busy schedules, so don’t hesitate to talk with your child about what areas of life could be simplified. Homework isn’t going away, but maybe those two travel soccer teams are a bit too much. No matter what the outcome, opening a dialogue with your child is a great way to support them in their academic success.

Lastly, don’t forget to apply the same strategy to your own life. Start by asking yourself about your best moments. For example, what do I do really well in the parenting department? Was there a moment when I felt truly proud of my family and myself? How can I continue that? 

Focus on the good when making a change, and together, you and your student can be even better than before.

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