Priority Management for Kids – A Coach Approach

11 02 2013

“It’s 7:45 and the bus leaves in 10 minutes – hurry up please!”  I noticed recently how often I hear myself hurrying the girls along, reminding them to do things before it’s too late.  Needless to say, the girls and I very obviously have our own unique concepts of time and identify our priorities differently as well.  More often than not, I would also argue that the consequences of being late are much more significant to me than them.

  Urgent Not Urgent

Getting on the bus (me)

Not Important

Getting on the bus (girls)

You may have heard about teaching our children through logical consequences; a concept that has been promoted by psychologists and human behaviourists for several decades.  Is this theory still effective – what’s changed?

I know that when my kids are late for school or miss the bus, I jump into what that means for me:

  • later start to the day;
  • missing a meeting;
  • having to work later;
  • getting stuck in traffic….

All of the above happen to be pretty strong negative motivators, for me!  I know when I start to feel that flutter of adrenaline; my habituated response is to go into autopilot and take over – despite all of my fabulous coach training!  So its not the theory of logical consequences that’s flawed, it comes right back to my chosen behaviour.

I share with you what I consider to be the spiciest of all the NLP pre-suppositions: “Every action has a positive intention!”  I interpret this to mean that all our behaviour is valuable to us at some level – even if that behaviour is not the best way of getting the result we seek.   I know that yelling at my kids to “Hurry up” and frantically packing their back packs for them to get them out the door is not the best way to teach them how to prioritize or understand the consequences of their choices.  It also doesn’t put me in a very positive state for whatever I’m rushing to get to.  On the flip side, I trust that my children know that sitting in front of the computer playing a game when the bus leaves in 2 minutes isn’t the best way to get Mom’s attention, even though that game they’re involved with is quite fun.

So in those moments of conflicting priorities consider the following:

  1. Take a breath or two;
  2. Let your kids know what you consider to be urgent and important in that moment, and ask them what’s urgent and important to them.
  3. Ask them “by saying yes to playing on the computer what are you also saying no to?”
  4. “How can we get to common ground?”
  5. Ask yourself “What’s acceptable to me in this moment?”
  6. Make a choice.
  7. Breathe.
  8. Communicate the choice.

Choices may not always be agreeable to the majority, nor will there always be common ground.  However, we also have the right to change our mind when presented with new information and can always choose differently.

Regardless of the direct outcome, the true benefit in this approach lies in building more self-awareness around what we consider to be ESSENTIAL to us  – which opens up the possibility of having a different conversation with our kids!





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: