Habit #1: Be Proactive (and Self-Advocate!)
This is perhaps one of the most important suggestions in Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. The author explains that we are all responsible for our own behavior. The way we react to something is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.
Encouraging my students to take responsibility for their actions is one of my top priorities. If students feel that they are in control of what happens to them, they are in a much better position to succeed. They are empowered to do well in school, at home, and in their activities; (I have found that doing well in one of these arenas tends to positively influence the others).
As parents and teachers, one of the ways we can encourage this proactive behavior is by not allowing our kids to blame others. For example:
Student: “My teacher is so unfair!”
Proactive Response to Student: “Well, what can we do about it if you feel that way? Why don’t you talk to your teacher before school?”
Reactive Response to Student: “I know! She is being ridiculous!”
Being proactive is the precursor to self-advocacy. In these types of situations, we must fight the urge to go Momma Bear. Our kids will be much better off in the long run if they learn how to handle these situations by self-advocating.
If the teacher’s grading seems unfair, your child should go talk to that teacher calmly and respectfully. Coach them through what to say and how to say it, and let them go from there. It is SO important that they learn to talk to authority when something isn’t working for them. (And many kids find that when they self-advocate -GUESS WHAT!- they get those extra points back on the test!)