I had the pleasure the other night presenting to parents at the Orchard Friends School.  The topic was “Executive Functioning & Shut-Down Learners.”

As I always try to do, my mission is to present concepts that I think become unnecessarily overcomplicated (like the term “executive functioning”) to parents in down-to-earth, understandable terms.

Here are few of the points:

  • Think of “executive functioning,” like a rudder to a ship. For many kids, they have firm rudders and their boat is well-steered.  For the kids of concern, though, they have floppy rudders.  Hence, their boat flounders at sea.
  • For many of the kids of concern (especially the boys), there is a late maturing of the “rudder.” These kids are not on the same timetable of school.  So, just because  the kid may be in sixth grade, doesn’t mean he has that he has it in him to take care of the things that he “SHOULD” be able to do by school and societal standards.
  • You, as parents need to be thinking of the Goldilocks Standard when you look at your involvement. If you’re in too deep (the soup too hot, that is), then the kid will not be taking sufficient personal responsibility for things like homework.  If you are not in at all (the soup being too cold), then the child will flounder..  You need to find the “just right” level.  I like the 10% solution, meaning the parent is in about 10% or so.
  • Speaking of parental involvement, remember to turn down the heat.  Yep, there is an awful lot of yelling, screaming, peckering and cajoling going on in homework land.   Most of it is unnecessary.  I will elaborate on that in future blogs.

Try and find the sweet-spot of parental involvement – not too hot, not too cold, but just right and you will be on the path to helping move things forward.