In this article we share with you something that will help
you harness your parenting power.
We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
JFK may have been talking about sending man to the moon, but it applies to studying just as much.
One of our key personal goals is to help teens realise that the process of studying can be made simple, and that anyone can learn to study effectively. But we’re not saying studying is easy.
Studying, at its best, is satisfying and rewarding. Taking on knowledge and coming to understand a complicated concept that previously deceived you but is now entirely clear is the stuff that natural highs are made of.
But at its worst, studying requires you to sit down at your desk for extended periods of time, day after day, forcing yourself to learn something you may have absolutely no interest in.
Studying can be a struggle. But that’s okay. The key is to accept that studying IS often hard. It requires strength of will, character and discipline. But it’s because it requires these attributes that it’s a completely worthwhile endeavour.
Okay… but how does parenting fit into this?
Last week we listened to Adam Robinson interviewed on the Knowledge Project podcast. This episode tickled our interest because Adam co-founded The Princeton Review and co-authored the New York Times best-selling Cracking the SAT test prep book. We were not disappointed.
Adam explains that in one study he conducted looking at what affects test scores, the students who showed the greatest improvement had parents who had experienced struggle. We won’t go into the details here (you can check out Adam’s interview for yourself here; the discussion about education starts around 1hr 30m), but suffice to say it’s very interesting food for thought.
It’s no wonder so many parents are frustrated at their teen’s lack of motivation, their apathy towards school, and that their grades don’t represent their true potential. Because what can you do?! You can’t
force your teen to study and you can’t do their study for them!!
But actually, you can do something incredibly useful that only a parent can do. You can model struggle.
You can show your teen that struggle is a normal part of life, and it’s certainly a normal part of studying. No one gets good grades without struggle along the way. Results come from hard work, determination, and perseverance.
A lot of teens ask us what they can do to improve their grades, and while we can dish out all our advice about motivation, organisation and studying effectively — ultimately — your teen’s academic success boils down to how much work they’re willing to put in.
And it’s on this point that we agree completely with Adam Robinson. It seems that perhaps some teens don’t know what it is to grit their teeth and work hard at something that they’re not going to enjoy all the time. They don’t yet understand the enormous rewards that come with delayed gratification.
Neither us nor you can force your teen to sit down at their desk and study, but as their parent, YOU can be a model for the hard working and determined behaviour they need to see in order to understand that putting in the effort with their study now will pay off big time down the track.
We hope Adam’s message might resonate with you also and inspire you to think of creative ways you can model struggle, perseverance and determination for your teen. We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Clare & Chris
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