This Summer blockbuster is a two for one special!! We'll cover two different aspects of "taking action".

The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.
— Anonymous

Resolving Homework Woes during the Summer?


It is summer time and so the last things on most children's minds is homework. Cue, Alice Cooper's Schools Out for Summer. 'Difficulty with completing homework' is a common complaint I hear from parents bringing their child in to counseling. "They pitch a fit every day/several times a week when it comes time to do homework" or "He makes my hair stand on end when the fight to start homework is longer than the time it actually takes do it!" Children can be truly masterful and just plain relentless when it comes to manipulating the situation to swing things in their favor. And so the daily battle continues.

It’s okay to not know, but it’s not okay to not try.
— Anonymous

Well how about taking a different tact. Trying addressing it when it isn't actually a present problem, like say...NOW! Yes, talk about homework during the summer time. Not for hours on end, keep the conversation focused. For some families summer is when they reach out to me for help as they see a golden opportunity to refine things before the stress and chaos of the school year sets in. Parents have been absolutely fascinated by what they find out when a child begins to open up about what is on their head when it comes to homework. This could very well be the same for you in your conversation with your children. Yes at times, they are preoccupied in their mind with playing a game of basketball in the driveway with their friend or riding their bikes around the block. Let's face it homework can be a drag and cut into critical child playtime. Others times with children I have met with, they shared how they are preoccupied with thinking about their teacher for that subject who is "mean" and difficult to deal with. They have talked about how "Everyone else in my class is smarter than me at Math. I am dumb." These sorts of troubling barriers often go undetected simply because the focus is on correcting the oppositional behavior and not addressing the root cause of the behavior. If this is your experience perhaps it is time to switch things up and address homework in the summer. 

Put an action plan in place for nightly homework that you can revisit before the school year starts. Talk about safe communication of both child and parent during tense moments so your can child open up about what's at the root of their behavior rather than acting out.

Counseling...a Call to Action

Client's young or old that come into my office work on...'action plans'. No not homework, action plans. It is something that I inform everyone of right from the get go. So, why action plans?

Research studies have shown that action during the the 167 hours outside of the typical 1 hour of therapy a week, pays dividends in producing results. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is frequently associated with action plans. But still, why action outside of session?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
— Will Durant

We are creatures of habit. If coming into counseling becomes a weekly vent session with no constructive action coming out of it, while it can offer a stress relief and opportunity for growth, you might find yourself no closer to your destination than when you first started. This doesn't mean that whatever action your counselor comes up with is what's best for you. It is a partnership. I have had numerous client's tell me they understand and agree with the action, only to come back in and say they were confused the moment they left or didn't feel like it would help. First, this is understandable and normal. Being lock step with your counselor takes time. After all it is still a relationship, and those take time and effort.

I have worked with plenty of clients who in growing their comfort level and confidence in counseling will negotiate and advocate for themselves when it comes to deciding on action plans. When these clients get to the point they begin to come up with their own actions, thus bringing them one step closer to resolving things on their own accord. Which for me is my ultimate goal. Working myself out of a job by doing my job and helping someone reach their goals. So, are you ready for action?