One topic that I have discussed with many parents over the years is that of excuse-making. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t make excuses for my child”. While that might be true for some of you, my experience has proven to show me time and time again that parents make far too many excuses for their children. I know this may “ruffle” some feathers with this article, but my intention is to really help you to embrace the strengths your child has so that they can become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. Below I have outlined some tips for success and my hope is that you will at least attempt to give these a try;
- Have high (and realistic) expectations. Know what your child is “good” at, remind them, and expect that they will succeed at it. Each individual child has strengths and areas for improvement. Know what your child is good at and expect things of them based off their area of strength. For example, if they are good at a certain subject area, expect that they work especially hard in this area. If they love history, expect that when they have a history assignment, that they work hard on it. Don’t make excuses.
- Give your child the responsibility. Make your child responsible for their work or lack thereof. By this statement, I want you to focus on what you know your child can accomplish. You need to be reasonable here, but if you know your child could have done something, but did not for any given reason, make sure they are accountable. While disabilities may make it difficult for some tasks to get done or get done in a given timeframe, you cannot allow your child to use their disability as a crutch. Don’t make excuses.
- Set goals with your child and stick to them. Work with your child to create goals. When children are involved in the goal setting process, they feel a sense of responsibility and as the parent; you can leverage this to your advantage. Be sure that you have your child make goals that are realistic to their abilities, but be sure that it is also something that they will have to work at to achieve. When your child is working at their goal, be sure to praise them for their efforts and when they complain or don’t follow-through on something, be sure that you remind them of the goal they set. If they struggle, help them to get back on track. Don’t make excuses.
I know this can be a lot to take in, but if anything, I really want to reiterate that you make sure that you do not make excuses for your child. Additionally, don’t allow your child to use a disability as an excuse. From all of my years of teaching and working with children, I have seen the incredible benefits of those that have parents that do not make excuses for their children.
Dr. Jessica Alvarado is an Assistant Professor at Ashford University where she is the program chair of the child development program. She has a true passion for education and hopes to continue to inspire her students in the years to come!