Awesome Strategies For Unmotivated, Apathetic, Bored Students

Teachers, they don't give you motivation-makers when you are in college. It takes about 2 minutes in the classroom to realize that you could have really used courses on motivating the motionless. From our popular workshops, books and posters, here are just a few of our favorite motivation-makers that you will use everyday.

** For kids who often complain about where they ended up, you can encourage them to "bloom where they are planted." This is a wonderful intervention for foster kids in particular.

** For kids who can't imagine ever having a positive future, or any future at all, ask them to write a letter to you as though it was the year 2045. In the letter, the youth can describe what happened to them since they last saw you. For non-writers, they can draw or make an audiotape instead of writing, or, you can write for them.

** For kids who are "wrapped in barbed wire," their apathy and harshness hiding a very gentle and vulnerable child, ask them to decide which they would rather have: "a bruised heart or a boxed heart?"

** When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, and you hear back, "I don't care," instead of confronting that, say back: "Well, if you did care..." This potent intervention detours beautifully around answers that normally would keep the child from even speculating about positive outcomes. The child gets to hang onto their discouragement while doing the work that you wanted them to do. This unusal intervention works with nearly any answer that a child gives you. For example, when the child says "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up," you can respond with "Well, if you did know..."

** For kids who can't imagine a future that is positive, have them make their "Future Homes and Gardens" using art supplies. They can draw floor plans or design rooms of their future dream home. You may be surprised at the results you get from the most sullen and resentful kids.

** For counselors, social workers and mental health workers only to use (carefully) to better "open up" very defensive, apathetic youth, this next intervention is very powerful. Ask the child to make a life line. They make the life line by writing their major life events on file cards. Next, they string the cards onto a piece of ribbon or string. This is their life line. If you doubt the effectiveness of this intervention, make your own life line. If you aren't moved by the experience, you must have had an easy life. Only clinicians should use this devices as it must be used with extreme care as it can stir up much emotion in some children. Avoid this exercise with depressed kids.

** For kids that complain that school is boring, I'll just go on welfare, respond, "Yes, you are right. School is boring. Nothing like the excitement of the welfare office line." This intervention is not for every kid; use it only with youth who would respond to this type of humorous, edgy intervention.

** For kids who view school or job training as a waste of their time, have them list their current job skills, then have them determine where their skills will fit best: in the current or past century. Teach kids that 80% of the jobs that will exist for them are not even known yet. These jobs will require computer skills, math skills, writing skills etc. Do their skills fit that or jobs from the past?

** For kids who plan to use illegal activities as their source of future income, recap local, state and federal law. For example, depending on which laws they break, offenders can lose not only the money gained by illegal actions, but also their home, possessions and vehicles. Under some federal laws, the homes and possessions of relatives and friends may be seized even if these items weren't directly involved in the commission of the crime. Illegal activities are not as lucrative as your kids tell you. Auto theft generates about $18,000 per year, for example, far less than what a typical high school grad earns.

** For kids who insist crime is lucrative, have them guess the likely income from crime, then have them guess how much time in jail they will face, and the number of years they will have before being incarcerated. Then ask the youth to calculate how much they really earned. For example, if a youth earned $30,000 per year for 2 years before being incarcerated, then was jailed for 2 years, that works out to a just $15,000 per year, an amount that is vastly less than a high school grad earns. Plus, the grad's earnings cannot be confiscated but the offender's earnings can.

** For kids who plan to just rely on welfare, advise them to hurry and get on it fast before welfare goes away.

Get much more information on this topic at http://www.youthchg.com. Author Ruth Herman Wells MS is the director of Youth Change, (http://www.youthchg.com.) Sign up for her free Problem-Kid Problem-Solver magazine at the site and see hundreds more of her innovative methods. Ruth is the author of dozens of books and provides workshops and training.

Be A Parent Not A Friend

One parenting problem that is very prevalent today is the confusion between fulfilling the role of a parent and the role of a friend. It is natural to want to give you children everything, but never saying no can lead to seriously spoiled children who will not understand the ways of the world when they are out on their own.

It is your job as a parent to teach your children the facts of life—good or bad—so that they can make their own good decisions in the real world. It is simply not fair to expect children to be able to make decisions that negatively affect their lives when they are not prepared to make those decisions. You have a pretty good idea of what is best for your children, and certainly a better idea than they do. It is your responsibility as the adult to pass the love and knowledge you have experienced in your own life to your children to give them the best opportunity to lead a successful life.

The principles you instill at a young age will follow your children throughout life. When they are little you make them brush their teeth, eat their vegetables and clean their rooms, not only because you know that these things are good for them, but also because you want them to one day learn to do them without being told. There are many times in life when we have to do things we do not want to do, and by not sugarcoating this idea when your children are young, they will be more accepting of it as they grow and mature into adults.

Never saying no doesn’t build friendship with your children. It may content them in the moment, but in the long run it will only make them selfish and rude. Never using the word no gives your child a handicap that will make it harder for him or her to succeed in life. No one will want to befriend, date, hire or live with a selfish person.

Playing the role of disciplinarian may not seem like a way to bond with your children, but once they grow past the stage when you are responsible for making their decisions, friendship can grow. They will respect you for making the good decisions for them that they were not able to make on their own. Let their peers be their friends. Their peers certainly are not going to act as parents, so this all-important chore is left to you.

Parenting is a grand struggle between giving to your child and instituting discipline. The balance will be different for everyone, but it is important to keep reevaluating what needs to be done and take steps to reestablish and maintain that balance.

About the Author
Solomon Brenner is an Author, speaker and columnist on success and parenting he can be reached at Actionkarate@comcast.net or 267-939-0424

Your Child Having Problems With Speech?

We noticed that one of our sons wasn't doing so well when he tried to speak to us. He was about four years old at the time when he began to talk rapidly and stutter. Everyone told us he would grow out of it. Well he is now 9 years old and at times he has his good days and other times his bad ones. He sees a speech pathologist while he is in school, but I haven't noticed where it helps him that much. What I do like is the support he is given by the teacher and his classmates which keeps his self confidence intact. He hasn't had any issues with teasing that has affected him negatively and I hope he continues to keep his head up. I conducted an Internet search and found that there is actually no cure for stuttering unlike some people would have you believe. It seems that the one who stutters has to be the one to face his challenge everyday and work hard to overcome it. Search "Speech Language Therapy" for the latest resources.

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else
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