7 Steps to Help Reach His Potential

As a parent, it’s frustrating to know (and most parents assume they know) that your child is intelligent but yet, in school, does not work up to what you perceive to be his or her potential. Parents become discouraged and call their child lazy, unmotivated, slacking, and other similar words.  When describing her son’s lower than expected grades a parent recently told me the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”   I agreed but responded with, “You can salt the hay.”  This means we can entice our children to perform better academically but ultimately the best drive to perform must come from within.  So, how do you help your child reach his academic potential?  It’s an ongoing process since your child did not spontaneously arrive at their current state overnight.  Of course, you must believe in your child, encourage and affirm their efforts, provide homework help, and be her advocate.

But how do you really help your child reach his or her academic potential?  Here are 7 steps to help you help your child reach his or her potential. 

Step 1.  Determine his or her potential through a comprehensive evaluation.  You can’t really know how hard to push your child without knowing where your child is at cognitively.  It could be like your car not performing the way you want it to and instead of looking under the hood, you just yell at it.  Open the hood, check out what’s really going on.

Step 2. Based on the evaluation, set up a realistic plan.

Step 3. Specify short and long term rewards as well as consequences.

Step 4. Explain the plan to other key players and obtain their support.

Step 5. Implement the plan.

Step 6. Evaluate the plan weekly.

Step 7. Adjust the plan based on the weekly feedback.

Repeat as needed. Often it’s helpful to have a counselor, therapist, etc. available as a
mentor to help you work through these steps. If you need ongoing help then one of my associates can help you with the process.  I can help you with the assessment to determine your child’s true potential.  It’s not as expensive as you think so call me to discuss your child.

If you like to read books to help you gain new insight, read Rick Lavoie’s book called “The Motivation Breakthrough.”  I especially like his advice on competition in schools.  You might enjoy it too.  He explains that many teachers say it’s good for school to be competitive because that’s how things are in the real world.  Rick argues that is not always the case because in the real world we only compete when we want to.  In schools a child can’t tell his or her teacher, “I’m not doing the class spelling bee.”  They are forced to compete.  He suggests parents and teachers have students compete to do their personal best rather than being the best. He has some other good points too.