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PCI Certified Parent Coach, Nita Talwar, on how to approach parenting challenges using Mindset techniques
My journey through life has led me to many unexpected places, from various roles in the apparel industry to an executive position in the home industry, then later into freelance photography. Now, as a PCI-certified Parent Coach, I feel that I have come closer to my authentic self and found my ideal vocation. Although I truly enjoy my role of helping others, I have arrived here through successfully overcoming bumps in the road both professionally and personally. Setbacks ranging from career disappointments to health crises have taught me the importance of a Growth Mindset. I have now progressed into a vocation that I am passionate. Would you say that I have a Growth Mindset? I say yes, and no. It is a something that I continuously work on.
Despite our best efforts as educators and parents, many students still underperform or struggle academically. Most teachers observe that their students would succeed if only they would invest more effort in their work. In some cases, we see a grave lack of student engagement leading to classroom management challenges, low student achievement, and high drop-out rates.
While some studies cite boredom and disinterest as the cause of these problems, perhaps they are actually symptoms of a broader issue: lack of motivation. Numerous studies have shown that, as student motivation goes up, so do effort and student achievement, in both short and long term situations. In addition, attention, which is a scarce resource in most classrooms, has also been proven to increase with kids’ motivation levels. As we empower students to increase their own ability to focus and apply effort, we witness them becoming better able to process relevant information, which impacts their ability to succeed academically. This, in turn, will set the foundation for an intrinsic love of learning, by teaching students to value their own progress and growth.
Here are three techniques you can use to increase students' motivation:
Giving a child feedback – both criticism and praise - is more than just useful; it’s essential. While it may be hard for kids to get motivated, it’s impossible for them to stay motivated when they aren’t sure if they’re on the right track. Giving well-crafted, frequent feedback is one of our most important jobs as parents and teachers.
But as every one of us knows, sometimes the feedback we give doesn’t seem to be all that motivating. Even with the best intentions, our words of encouragement or disapproval can easily backfire or seem to fall on deaf ears, and many of us have a hard time understanding why.
Luckily, scientific studies on motivation have shed light on why some types of feedback work and others don’t. If you’ve gotten it wrong in the past (and who hasn’t?), then you can do a better job of giving feedback from now on by sticking to three simple rules:
Based on Silver's new book, Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8: Teaching Kids to Succeed
“You are not the boss of me!” “You can’t tell me what to do!” “I want to do it my way!” These are age-old proclamations from young people who want to declare their independence. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan (Deci, 1995), founders of self-determination theory, believe that autonomy, competence, and relatedness are essential in helping children to become self-actualized individuals. The concept of autonomy is particularly worth exploring because it not only helps build a growth mindset, but it also helps to instill a healthy sense of independence in kids.
Children perceive their circumstances as either autonomous or as controlled. With a perception of autonomy, individuals are willing to do what they are doing and embrace the activity with a sense of interest and commitment. If the situation is perceived as controlling, they will act without a sense of personal endorsement; they feel manipulated. Autonomy does not necessarily mean that one has strictly to “go it alone,” but rather it means that one is acting with a sense of choice and volition. This can happen simultaneously while one is enjoying interdependence with others.
5 Tips on Promoting Autonomy in Learners
4 Things Parents Can Do
“What we’re seeing is something I call ‘Generation Squeeze,’” says Paul Kershaw, Ph.D., referring to a study he published showing that parents of school-aged kids are incredibly stressed.
According to Kershaw, a family policy expert from the University of British Columbia, we parents are “squeezed for time at home, squeezed for income because of the high cost of housing, and squeezed for services like child care that would help [us] balance earning a living with raising a family.”
Sound familiar? When we’re squeezed for all these resources, here’s another thing that gets squeezed: our happiness, and our ability to raise happy children.
This is a special problem for me, being a parenting and happiness expert and all. (I define an “expert” the way the physicist Niels Bohr once did: “a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”)
I love my work—this “happiness expert” thing is a really good gig—but I also strive to not work long hours, as this compromises the “parenting expert” part of things.