It's no secret that sometimes motivating kids can be a bit of a challenge. After all, they are still learning and growing, and it's natural for them to have days where they just don't want to do what we ask of them.
As parents, we might mistakenly believe that the only way our children will comply is if we force them or offer some type of bribe, but more often than not, this isn't the case. In fact, our attempts at motivation may actually be working against us. You can’t make your child care just because you do – in fact, you might actually get in the way of their motivation.
What’s worse, the push-pull of trying to motivate your child usually turns into a power struggle. There’s something wrong with the picture if you care more about your child’s grades than he does.
How do you inspire your kids to motivate themselves? Here are six tips to help you encourage them towards self-motivation:
1. Explain why motivation is important.
2. Help them identify their goals.
3. Create a positive reinforcement system.
4. Encourage effort, not outcomes.
5. Modelling motivation yourself.
6. Avoid power struggles and nagging.
Don’t Let Your Anxiety Push Them To Get Motivated
Your anxiety will only fuel their anxiety, and it will become a power struggle between the two of you. If you want to help your child cope with anxiety, you need to teach them how to appease or resist you. This way, they can focus on themselves and find some internal motivation.
Let Your Child Make His Own Choices – and Face the Consequences
As parents, it's our job to guide our children and help them make good choices – but sometimes the best way to do that is by letting them experience the consequences of their own poor choices. If your child doesn't do his homework and loses computer privileges as a result, don't just give them back - make them work for it by requiring him to finish his homework first. This way, he'll learn that there are real-world consequences to his actions and will be more likely to make better choices in the future. Setting expectations and boundaries for your children is essential for their development. It provides them with a sense of security and direction, and it helps them to understand what is important to you as a parent. When you stick to your values and principles, you are providing your child with a strong foundation that they can rely on.
Learn What Makes Your Child Tick
What motivates your child? What does he really want? What questions can you ask to help him discover and explore his interests? What are his goals and ambitions?
Step back far enough to see your child as a separate person. Then, observe what you see. Talk to him to find the answers to the questions above. And then, listen – not to what you want the answers to be, but to what your child is saying. Just listen to him. Respect his answers, even if you disagree with them.
5. Get Your Child to Want to Do the Right Thing
Let's say there are two doors, each representing a different parenting style. Door number one is for parents who want to get their kids motivated and encourage them to do the right thing in life, like getting up for school and getting their work done so they can be successful. Door number two is for parents who want their kids to be self-motivated to do those things because they're interested in them. So which door would you choose?
You can achieve the goal of wanting to do the right thing by taking Door Number Two and asking different kinds of questions. Questions that help you understand why you want to do the right thing in the first place. What will happen if you do the right thing? What are the consequences of not doing the right thing? What are your values? What do you want to achieve in life? Once you know the answers to these types of questions, it'll be much easier for you to make decisions that reflect your goals and values.
Instead of asking your child, "Did you do your homework?" Try reframing the question as, "Why did you choose to do your homework today and not yesterday? I noticed that you didn't do your geometry homework yesterday, but you're doing your history homework today. What's the difference?" By taking on the role of an investigator, you're helping your child to explore and uncover his own motivations and sticking points. This will in turn help him to better understand himself and what it takes for him to be successful in school.
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