How to Mess Up Back to School (Parts 2 & 3)

If you really want to make sure this year's start to the school year is your family's worst ever, be sure to do the following:

2. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

Often we in leadership positions strive to gain consensus. This is foolishness. Whenever we base our leadership on securing everyone's agreement, we're actually discouraging actual buy-in. If people (like your kids) feel forced to agree on the rules, or the new changes this year, they may eventually consent...but only with their words.

Instead, have individual conversations with each parent with each kid. Ask them about their plans for the year, and how being a year older might change things for them. Then ask them what you could do better this year. Their answers don't have to determine your actions, but listening to them like this encourages your kids to own their school year. After all, they're the ones going back to school.

3. Emphasize to your kids how important this year is to their future. Increased pressure from Mom & Dad does NOTHING to increase a child's sustained motivation. It always backfires, in fact. This year, take a step back and see how they approach the new year. Ask them about what pressures they're feeling as they get closer to middle school, or high school, or college. Ask 'em how you can help.

Then, if you really want to blow them away, don't ask them about their homework at all the first week.

I double-dog dare you.

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