Hi all. This vlog is based on the following email from a mom:
“Hi Seth, I’ve recently found your website and have to say am thrilled to have done so. You totally GET these kids! I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle against my child, the school, even my husband at times but hearing you speak gives me hope and motivation to keep going. I have a question for you (well, many questions actually, but let’s start with this one). How long can I expect to get these systems up and running that you suggest? What I mean is, after going through your videos, etc I would like to implement much of what you suggest but considering that he is going to fight me the entire way on these there’s no way I’m going to be able to get all of these systems up and running at once.
If I get any buy-in for use (and that’s a huge IF), I now need to get him to not only write each of the assignments down but also the correct assignments/page numbers/due dates, etc. As you can see just implementing the planner system is going to take a while. So: Any ideas on how long I’m looking at for just this one system? And then, at what point can I introduce another “system,” say the “binder replacement” Finally, how long do you think I’m up and running with all the systems (and by “up and running” I understand that NONE of these will be well-oiled, but rather a continuous work in progress. Thanks for any input. I really appreciate what you are doing for these kids. I wish you were in Chicago!!!”
- Have a planner that works for him and that he actually uses
- Use the “today’s plan” sheets (is it better to use the planner or these or both?)
- “Sunday Night Overhaul,” binder replacement system -create a sacred study space…etc. Let’s say we start with the planner.
- 1) He is NOT going to go to the office store with me or probably not look online to pick one = struggle # 1 (might take days ). IF I can even get him to agree on a monthly planner,
- I now need 2) to get him to USE it. He simply won’t write in one right now so that’s going to be an even bigger struggle and need to be set as a long term goal;
- …and finally, I will need to help him 3) use it effectively.
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Hey, what’s up? In this video, we are going to talk about how do you, the parent, get your child started on doing the things that they need to do in terms of dealing with executive function. When your child is resistant when you know that they are somebody who is going to resist all of your attempts at trying to help them do what they need to do. My name is Seth Perler, I’m an executive function coach based out of Boulder, Colorado. I help struggling students navigate this thing called education. I have an email here from a parent named Stacy, and Stacy says a lot of things, she says, “Hi Seth, I recently found your website and I have to say that I’m thrilled to have done so. You totally get these kids. I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle against him (the child). The school, even my husband at times, but hearing you speak gives me hope and motivation. Keep going. I have a question for you. Well, many actually. But we’ll start with this one. So how long can how long can I expect to get these systems up and running that you suggest? What I mean is after going through your videos and etc., I would like to implement much of what you suggest, but considering that my child is going to fight me the entire way. On these there’s no way I’m going to be able to get all these systems up and running at once. One, like having a planner for him that he actually uses. Two, using the today’s plan sheets,…”
Seth: I have a system where I teach kids had a plan for their day.
“…or is it better to use the planner for these, or both? Three, the Sunday night overall for the binder replacement system. Five, to study space, etc. Let’s say we start with a planner. 1) He’s not going to go to the office store with me or probably not look online to pick one, which equals struggle number one, in might take days if I can even get them to agree on a monthly planner. I now need (2) to get him to use it. He simply won’t write in one right now. So that’s going to be an even bigger struggle and needs to be set as a long-term goal. And finally, I will need to help him (3) use it effectively if I get any buy-in for use, and that is a huge ‘if,’ I now need to get him to not only right in each assignment, but also correct assignments, page numbers, due dates, etc. As you can see just implementing a planner system is going to take awhile. So any ideas on how long I’m looking for just this one system, and then at what point can I introduce another system? Finally, how long do you think I’m up and running with all the systems (and by “up and running” I understand that none of these will be well-oiled by the rather a continuous work in progress. Thanks for any input. I really appreciate what you’re doing for these kids. I wish you were here in Chicago!!!”
Seth: Stacey, awesome question/questions. So where to even start with this? First of all, know that when I work, well first of all if you can find a good coach, find a good coach. I have a great video called ‘How To Find An ADHD Coach’ or something like that. But even if you find an awesome super cool college kid who your kid likes, that can be helpful right there. They could be called a tutor but if they can start implementing some of these things for you, because one thing I consistently hear from parents is, “My kid won’t listen to me.” So that’s super normal. If you can get somebody a coach or tutor or somebody that your kid relates to help with that stuff it’s really good.
Two, you need buy-in and ownership. Buy-in and ownership. Buy-in and ownership. And you definitely get this because you know that you’re not getting the buy-in, so you’re asking how do you get buy-in and ownership?
And three, you’re definitely on the right track with this because if you don’t get buy-in and ownership your kids not going to do this stuff, but you got to start somewhere. So you start, it really doesn’t matter with what system you start. I don’t think you should look at it though, in terms of let’s get the planner in place and then this system in place and then this system, that’s not how I do this with students. Usually what I do is I do an overhaul of all the systems as soon as I can, so within a couple of weeks, and then start with all of them. You’re on the right track is what I’m trying to say. One of the things that you say is that none of these will be well oiled but rather a continuous work-in-progress. So what I do is I talked about it in terms of three phases. If I’m going to help a student, and I’m going to start with the student at the beginning of the semester and finish the semester or the school year with them. It is a massive process, and I will see my students three or four times a week, the ones that I work with locally. And that’s pretty optimal. Now, I’m doing things with them like their school work. So my coaching is driven by the things that are going on in school. So it’s not like a linear step-by-step system. It’s really driven more by urgency and what’s present.
So anyway, the way that I say. Okay, we take a kid from here to here in a semester. It’s not well-oiled a well-oiled system, so how do we do that? Here’s the framework that I use. There are three steps. Step number one is foundations. Step number two is implementation. Step number three is maintenance. So here’s how it looks. Step number one, in terms of how I teach this stuff, is we need to start with the foundation. And what do you need a foundation in? Well, you need a foundation in the new systems. Two, start implementing the new systems, so you start building out the new systems. You need a foundation in mindsets. Your child has to have a mindset to deal with the resistance. The resistance is there. Any program that does not deal with the resistance is not going to work. You have to be dealing with this emotional resistance. “I don’t want to, I don’t feel like it, this is stupid, why do I have to do this? I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll do it later. I promise, I swear, just leave me alone back off. I got this, blah blah.” All these messages from your child that are like, “I don’t feel like doing this,” how do you help them to do these things that they need to do so that they can learn to execute in life and have a good future? How do you get them to deal with their own resistance? Okay, so I said number one is systems, number two is mindset, number three is routines and habits. So anyhow, you need a foundation in these areas first.
So what I do when I start working with the kid is we build a little foundation, that is step number one. Step number two then is implementation. Now that we’ve got the foundation we start implementing how to use these new tools. And then step number three is maintenance and that’s sharpening the sword and that’s getting better at them. So usually what I’m doing is I’m working with a family with steps 1 and 2, foundations and implementation. Once they’ve implemented enough and they’ve got a pretty decent system, then the family doesn’t need a coach. Well, typically that’s where we want to get to is where they don’t need it. Where they’re essentially self-coaching. They’ve got you know, the parents can breathe a sigh of relief and go, “Ahh, ok, my kid has this, it’s not perfect but it’s good enough,” you know. And then the well-oiled machine comes off in months or years later because they keep refining the system. But at least they’ve got these systems and they’re able to implement them. So what you want to do as the parent, in my opinion, what the objective is here is to get the systems, and it takes time. Especially as the parent, you’re trying to coach your own kid. It’s just going to take time and that’s okay. I work with kids for a semester at a time and many of my students I’ve worked with for multiple semesters, some for many years. Some kids I’ve worked with for three to five years. The family wants them to still work with me because we’re still implementing the stuff. So your kids going to be okay as long as you are doing what I call the most important thing of all. Do you know the most important thing of all is? The most important thing in my opinion of all is the relationship. As long as you are a parent who is working on yourself and working to build a healthy and securely attached relationship with your child wear your child feels seen, heard, understood, known by you. Doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you’re working towards a healthy insecure relationship and that’s your primary focus. Your kid is going to be okay. But yes, you have an uphill battle on multiple fronts to get your child there. Don’t give up, but also give yourself credit, like you’re doing awesome. Just keep moving, just do the best that you can do. Keep building the foundations, it doesn’t have to be linear. Keep layering and layering and layering and layering.
I was speaking with someone yesterday and I was talking about how another way of looking at this is that what we’re trying to do is get a child who sort of on a downward spiral to get them going up, even if going up just means like a 5% grade which is barely even visible. Even if it’s just up a little bit. We’re trying to get them on an upward swing rather than down. And it to get that shift to happen takes months. It is very very very very rare that I get a student where we can really get this down in a couple of months. And when I do, it’s the type of student who really doesn’t have major executive function struggles. These are kids who were really motivated to change. They really want tools and are really ready to implement. That’s a very small percentage of the kids that I work with. So for most of them, it takes multiple semesters. This is real life. I mean how hard is it for you, or me, as adults to change our habits. Now imagine we are trying to tell another person how to change their habits. It’s really hard to take the buy-in and ownership. Like I mentioned, it takes having systems, mindsets, habits, and routines, building the foundation, and then implementing the foundation. One of the big mistakes I see with schools or with parents is that they’ll say, “Hey kiddo here is your planner. Use it.” and then using a planner is a massive skill. It is a massive skill that combines many many many smaller skills to use a planner effectively. Yeah, we hand them this booklet or this agenda or this calendar and say, “use it” and we haven’t taught them directly how to use it.
Now, then we see kids who use them all the time and we wonder why if that kid can do it, why can’t my kid do it? But that kid has been building these skills for many years. We just don’t see it. They’re more systems-minded kids and they’ve picked that they think differently, you know, and it makes it look like that your kids just not trying, but that’s not the case. Your kids all kinds of gifts strengths, talents, gifts, all kinds of great things about your kid, but dealing with how to create systems with a planner or organizing isn’t one of them. So they need direct instruction and a lot of time for the brain to make the connections to learn how to do this massive skill, for example, using the planner. So anyhow, how long are you looking at to implement these, to get these systems going?
To give you a direct answer, Stacey, I would say you’re probably looking at a good semester. If you imagine taking a plant here and you want to propagate a new plant and you take a clipping, you put in water, you know from that point to where you actually have it potted and growing, like it takes a while. So you’re growing roots here and I would say about a semester to give you a direct answer. To get the plant rooted and growing. Okay, not that it’s strong, not that it’s got strong roots. Not that it’s, as you use the term well-oiled, but just to get it going. And then the next semester so we have the upcoming school year. So maybe the first semester you really work on that with your kid, get as much buy-in and ownership as possible and be content with very slow growth. There’s the 3 to 1 rule I talk about. Every single positive thing your kid does even if it is such a small step, it’s barely perceptible, you want to compliment them, notice it, see it. Like “Wow, you actually brought your planner home, you didn’t write in it, but you brought it and I’m really proud of you for that.” That’s a step, like noticing that stuff. A lot of time these kids feel like “Nobody ever notices the things I do right. Nobody ever sees me.” They need to be seen a lot. And we see the negative so easily and we’re so quick to say “Where’s this, where’s that? You got an 89? Why didn’t you get a 90?” but you know. They feel often times really beaten down by this. So I would say about a month or about t a semester and then at one point can I introduce another system. I already explained that I would not approach it that way. I would approach trying to start the school year with all systems.
Finally, how long do you think until I’m up and running and hopefully… There’s so many complicated issues. Does your kid have after school activities? Do they have attentensional difficulties, executive function difficulties? Do they have processing issues? And you know, does their homework take take them 5 hours that should take them one hour because of attentional and processing issues? How’s the relationship with the teachers? Are they taking too many classes? Do they have the bandwidth for all this? So there’s a lot of things but I would say be patient in terms of a semester.
Anyhow, I hope you all are doing great. It is summertime here and there, depending on when you’re watching this but I hope you are doing well. And it got my name is Seth Perler and I’m executive function Boulder, Colorado. If you haven’t signed up for my updates, I send out a free course to parents and students to help you guys get started with all this stuff. So that’s at SethPerler.com, go ahead and sign up for that today. Subscribe here on YouTube. Leave me a comment if you want, tell me what you think. Alright. Take care.
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