Procrastination: 6 Steps To Help Parents Stop Their Children from Procrastinating

ProcrastinationAdolescents like to think of themselves as being mature enough to make their own decisions and in many ways they are. However, sometimes their decisions will lead them to make mistakes, which is fine. This is how we all learn. However, if a child doesn’t learn from their mistake and continues to repeat it, such as with chronic procrastination, it is the parent’s responsibility to step in and show them a better way to get things done.

Dr. David Pruitt, of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, describes it this way, “…[A]dolescence is seen as an apprenticeship. Just as the craftsman trains for years before gaining full status in his field, the adolescent is learning to handle adult responsibilities.” Therefore, it is your responsibility to give your teenager the proper training so they can acquire the skills to grow into successful adults.

These skills are not instinctive, they are learned, and so they must be taught by parents.

Ann Hamilton, a professor at the University of New Hampshire, believes there are two things that every parent must teach their child in order for them to thrive: self-control and self-discipline. A lack of these two things certainly seems to be at the root of procrastination. Self-control and self-discipline are what give individuals the willpower to delay immediate gratification. Teens who procrastinate are seeking the instant reward of not doing an unpleasant task in lieu of something more pleasant. With a stronger sense of control and discipline, they will have the willpower to do the tasks right away, and learn that they can gain even greater rewards later. These practices do not come naturally to most and must be instilled in them by their parents. Hamilton goes on to say that there are six vital steps to achieving this.

Every parent must do the following:

  1. Set Fair Limits: Parents must clearly define rules that are both consistent and fair.
  2. Give Clear Instructions: Make sure your child knows what your expectations are with clear positive instructions.
  3. Use Consequences: Set clear consequences for breaking limits ahead of time, and let your child make their own choices accordingly.
  4. Say What You Mean: Do not make empty threats or empty promises. If you say you’ll do something, follow through.
  5. Help Children Problem Solve: Sometimes teenagers get into situations they can’t get out of and need the experience and guidance of an adult.
  6. Model Appropriate Behavior: Children will imitate what they see their parents do.