I have a number of friends whose children were fortunate enough to land in jobs at Google right out of college. And every one of them says the same thing:
"My child is working really hard, but having a blast."
"My son's personality — creative, quirky, and fast thinking — is a perfect fit for the Google workplace."
"My daughter is there early and leaves late; it's almost like she can't get enough of the place."
So I started to wonder about what it was that made this company such a good fit for each of these young adults (a few of whom struggled in school with LD and AD/HD, one who was always a bit socially awkward, and one who was academically gifted but battled with feelings of low self-esteem). I then remembered an article published in The New York Times about “Google’s Rules” which listed what the company considers to be the characteristics of a good manager. And it got me thinking.
Parents are managers too, right? And so, might some of the very same characteristics that Google found to be effective in helping their managers create a happy and productive workplace also work for parents who oversee and support the progress of children? The answer is a resounding yes!
I have taken the liberty of rewording and reframing some of the items on the “Google’s Rules” list so they resonate with parents in their roles as managers. Are you already doing some of these same things? Can you find tips from this list to expand your management style in ways that increase productivity and keep the “workers” in your home happy? I hope so!
Good coaching can make a huge difference. Children with LD benefit greatly from targeted and positive feedback from adults as well as from their peers.
Empower your child to make decisions, plan and organize time, and request feedback as needed. Your child may make mistakes and it will be tempting to jump in and save the day. A better approach is to help them reflect on their work, evaluate their progress, and take corrective action. That waythey own they outcome and can use the same approach to their benefit in future tasks.
Be interested not just in the work product but in the person doing the work. It's hard for children whose struggle in school seems unending to see themselves through a non-academic lens. Help them to remember the things that they do well, the ways that they make people smile, and the talents they share with family and friends.
Be results oriented, even when the going gets rough. It's hard to stay energized and motivated when school work takes so long to complete, when reading or math is such a struggle, when grades don't really reflect what you know, and when there is just so little down time to relax. Help your child to set priorities, keep to a schedule, and speak with teachers about needing extra time or some accommodation. Doing these few things can relieve some of the pressure.
Remember that you are part of a team. Parents are people too, and they are (despite the rumor that some have eyes in the back of their heads) "only human." Make sure that you entrust others (including your child) to take charge of some parts of the management process. Whether it's having others share in household chores (and some children would rather do the laundry than read from their social studies text), asking another family member to check over a composition for spelling and grammar, enlisting another family member to reach out to a teacher and share information or ask questions, or asking your child to step up and take ownership of getting something done without reminders or direct supervision, you need to take time to step back, relax, and reflect. (I am told that, at these moments, a small piece of chocolate also helps.)
What strategies have you discovered to be particularly effective in helping you manage and navigate your family’s LD journey? Please share your tips!