Updated: Nov 13
Since I am the self-proclaimed School Whisperer and run a thriving School Coaching business, you'd think I probably have school all figured out or at least my kid (age 10) would be a shining example of how to thrive in school. Wrong. It's almost as if because I am the School Whisperer and I coach private clients and families on school success I struggle at times at home. Being the expert, knowing all the things that need to be done with lots of tools at the ready doesn't exactly translate as easily with my child as it does with my clients. I know why. My emotional attachment and expectations for my daughter are complex which makes coaching her on school success complex.
Here's an example, when I'm working with other student clients to develop and follow an organizational system, I am very patient. It takes time for them to learn and practice this new skill, I remind them, and when they don't write in their agenda for the 9th time, I'm not disappointed but I'm more in problem-solving mode- knowing that it's not a kid problem but a process problem when they forget to use the agenda. So I keep trying until I find a way that fits for them. With my kid, I expect her to learn it quickly and do it most of the time. That's crazy! Because I am my child's mother who loves her deeply and worries about my ability to prepare her for her future, I can show up as impatient and perfectionistic when I'm not aware of what I'm doing.
The school struggle these days at our house is FORGETTING things and assignments. (Really, we are two lunchboxes down and it's only October). I've introduced a couple of strategies to my daughter- she'll listen but not use them. I've reintroduced strategies plus one. Still nope. She isn't biting because 1) she senses my perfectionist tone and 2) I continue to remind her of upcoming assignments, forms, lost jackets, and tests, so why would she ever need or use an agenda? So I decided to try less hard- and became a scientist observer like I am my clients. Since my very clear decision to stop, something magical is happening. She is figuring it out - in her way, not mine, and she knows if she needs advice, help, or suggestions, I am here.
It's odd that trying less hard really works.