Is your child struggling with being independent? 

Are they showing signs of inaptitude or helplessness?

Do they take responsibility for themselves and their own learning? 

Many children would benefit from taking more responsibility in their own learning. For these students we want to assist them in developing a greater sense of independence for themselves. The ultimate goal in educating young people should be to greater develop their ambition and drive to better prepare themselves academically for the big wide world and to ensure that they have the best opportunity to fulfil their life goals.

There are times when parents and teachers do not have the time to evaluate their own responses towards their children, adjust their reactions or seek for more helpful ways of giving these pupils greater ownership over their own learning. 

Teaching our pupils to “think forward” will not only enable them to improve their own ambition and drive as they begin to succeed, their abilities and belief in themselves will increase too as they notice the impact of achieving their desired outcomes. By guiding children to plan, measure and be accountable for their own academic progress, they are developing independence and learning to take responsibility for their own future. 

At NLP4Kids, we believe that the skill to think forward is not just something for pupils who are already doing well, it’s a ‘tool for all’. Having the ability to take ownership, plan and organise their own work is something that is incredibly valuable to academically disadvantaged pupils too. Watching their goals come into fruition is one of the most rewarding feelings that they can experience and will only motivate them to further their skills and learning. 

There are a few processes we can use as a practitioner to assist and guide them through the transition, one of which is a philosophy we call Cause & Effect. Some may know this as the idea that every cause has an effect, but in the personal development world we refer to this as you are either one or the other. Are you at cause or are you at the effect of the things in your life? This philosophy, when done correctly brings the pupil in to accountability for everything. When this is practiced often enough, the pupils can then develop (pretty quickly) a resourced based type of thinking that has emphasis on ‘results’ rather than ‘reasons’.

By helping parents to identify the triggers that disengage their children, the parents can ensure that they learn ways to maintain their childs motivation, instead of becoming complacent about their education. Pupils who have greater educational needs can be supported by their parents by working with them to set achievable goals, and breaking down their work into smaller chunks, instead of  the classroom style, where the information is delivered in a way to suit the ‘average’ pupil. 

This means that they will gain a greater sense of achieving their learning outcomes and therefore maintain an improved level of engagement in their overall education. The long term benefits of children being better motivated, is that they have a better chance of succeeding in all other educational challenges, such as important exams or chosen courses in the future. This will ensure a positive economic future beyond school education. 

The benefits of helping children to be self-motivated in their learning can be that their commitment to learning increases. When we see many pupils thriving and doing their best, the levels of their self esteem and confidence can be huge.

The original version of this article was written by Gemma Bailey, director of It was
republished and rebuilt with additional content by:

NLP4KIDS Practitioner Del Walsh