From Zits comic:
Mom holding her head in frustration:
"You have to write five months of daily reflections in one night???
"Relax mom. They're just daily reflections, its not like I have to put any thought into them."
Mom: Right,you blew off "daily", why sweat "reflections"?
Jeremy: What was I not really thinking about on September first?
Oh does this bring back memories. I admit it, I am the queen of procrastination. I avoid, I make deals with myself, I pay ridiculous consequences both figuratively and financially due to my procrastination, and you would think at age 60 I would have worked all this through. I have paid enough money to parking ticket offices in cities all over this country for late payments to have probably bought a new car! This is a tough one!
Perhaps this is something that you just don't understand. Maybe you are the responsible person I long to be, and you have a teen who makes you a crazy with the "waiting to the last minute" episodes that often become your problem. As an adult, I take full responsibility for my flaw, but with teens, no such luck. Somehow their procrastination whether on time management issues, or homework and project deadlines, they somehow become the victims. It's your fault for not waking them up, or not reminding them, or the teacher's fault for assigning them this "stupid project." They are just not willing to take any responsibility for finding themselves in this conundrum, and it can make you hold your head in frustration, just like "Jeremy's" mom!
I just got off the phone with a parent whose teen dug himself into a hole this school term. His missing homework and project assignments have cost him 3 letter grades. So though he could be an "A" student in this class, he is probably getting a "D"for the term. A new girlfriend, and the distraction of this "love connection" got him in this predicament. Too much texting and facebook messaging at night during homework time, and not enough work. "I'll do it!!!! Don't worry!!!" rang through the house on most nights. Getting the progress reports mid-term, the parents set up a carrot, if you don't bring the grade up to at least a "C" no drivers ed during February vacation. He was at that time getting an "F". This kid, desperate for his license, vowed to change. And he did. Parents saw him hunkering down to do his work, but unfortunately, it was too little, too late, and he could only get his grade up to a "D". The good news as I told this parent, is that the consequence is already in place, and you can put yourself on a lecturing break. No need for an "I told you so" or for an " If you only". Here is what you can say: " I get how disappointing this must be for you. I know for the last month you have really worked hard to get your grade up. But I'm guessing the hole was too deep to get out of it totally. Unfortunately you will have to put off taking drivers ed till April vacation, after third term grades come in. That was our deal. I know that you will do better next term, knowing now what you need to do to keep up. I am sorry it didn't work out for you this time around."
Done!!!!! This is how kids learn. Lecturing does not make a difference. Consequences that have meaning and that your teen has a stake in can be life changing. Finally sick of paying extra late fines for my procrastination on those damn parking tickets, I am proud to say, I pay the tickets as soon as I get them. Now if I could just put enough money in those meters!!!!!