We all share the bad habit of thinking people should be responsible for themselves and if they don’t do well, it’s on them. As parents, most of the fault lies with us—even if we don’t like to admit it. We want our children to thrive; we push them to do their best, but we don’t always give them the tools.
It’s like asking someone to build a house without teaching them how to build a foundation. They would be lucky to build a rickety shack. Education—and later a career—works much the same way. Without a solid foundation, there’s nothing to build upon.
Don’t worry. It’s never too late to motivate your child and help them succeed. The ideas below will guide you, and guarantee results.
How Can I Motive My Child To Do Better?
Our natural instinct is to reward or punish when a child does something good/bad. It’s the universal language among parents. Some parents gravitate towards punishment. If their child does something negative, they have a negative consequence.
Example: You didn’t finish cleaning your room like I asked so now you’ve lost video games tonight.
Other parents lean towards a reward system or positive reinforcement.
Example: They may not have finished their room, but you still praise and reward the fact that they did put their laundry away this time.
While this works in many situations, motivation is a different ballgame. It’s more effective to ditch the reward/discipline routine and tap into their pride for success. It feels good when you accomplish something, and crummy when you let someone down. We can take advantage of this by highlighting and encouraging these natural emotions to prompt their internal desire for success.
What Can I Do To Help My Child Want To Succeed?
When exposed to the routine below at an early age, and repeatedly, children will incorporate it into their everyday life. If this is a routine that’s established from a young age, it will become a habit. Eventually, your child will automatically follow the steps outlined below.
Set Goals and Make a Plan
This sounds easy but is actually very difficult because you don’t want to set unachievable goals. You should start with small attainable goals and then outline a game plan for success.
With young children this could be as simple as brushing their teeth every day. Brushing would be the goal and making a chart to help remember might be the plan.
Take Interest and Encourage
You might think these two words are interchangeable but they’re actually quite different. A few well-placed words can be enough to offer encouragement, but your child still knows you’re not interested.
Make sure you evaluate how your involvement looks to your child. Do they know you care? Or do they just think you’re pushing them?
Ask your kiddo questions and engage them in their responses. Learn more about the activity and what it means to them. Not only will they want to do better, but it’s a great way to bond over something with an older child—and we all know how hard that can be sometimes.
Excitement and Passion
If your child enjoys art and doesn’t care for sports, they would probably hate being pushed into basketball. They would lack the passion needed to do exceedingly well. Sure, they might finish the season, but would they be VIP players?
Discover what they enjoy doing and ignite their passion. Get involved anyway you can—as long as you’re not being overbearing.
Understanding and Compassion
Children do not purposely do badly because that’s what they want to do—at least not at first. They may be behind their classmates, they might have attention issues, or other factors could be at play. It’s not always easy to understand, but you have to try.
It’s easy to become frustrated and blame them for being lazy or irresponsible. Doing this only creates a bigger problem. When the underlying problem is ignored, and they’re told it’s because they’re lazy, they start to believe that. Eventually, they settle into that title and pulling them out is almost impossible.
When we stop believing in our children, we become the problem.
Beware of enabling, which occurs when we make excuses for our child’s behavior. It’s okay if they have ADD, but if they fail, don’t say “well it’s because you have that problem.” Children will set the bar low because they begin to think they don’t have what it takes to reach for the stars.
Pressure and Competition
As adults, what drives us to do well? If we decide to eat healthy, we don’t automatically enjoy doing it. Making a choice at mealtime is hard. Especially when it would be easier to grab something quickly. What drives us to make the right choice?
One thing that can be useful is friendly competition. If we are dieting with a friend, we might be driven to do better than they did.
Pressure, when applied correctly, can be a great motivational tool as well. When applied wrong, it can devastate any foundation.
They key is to have a healthy balance of both. Encourage healthy competition and teach children how to handle slight pressure.
If you have a long day at work, co-workers being shady or your boss gave you grief, would you want to come home and do your housework? Now imagine you had someone following you around nagging and hounding you to do it. What would you do?
You would get annoyed and frustrated, and probably purposely drag your feet just to defy them. Our children are no different.
Positivity is key to motivating our children. We can nag until they complete a task but did they enjoy doing it? Do they feel accomplished? Are they going to take their time and do well, or hurry through it just to get you off of their back?
Why is My Child Lazy?
Are they lazy or uninspired? Not many children are truly lazy. I’m sure they have plenty of energy and excitement when it comes to things they enjoy doing.
What about things they have to do? It’s true, we cannot all run around doing things we want to do, so how do we get children to do things they don’t enjoy? It goes back to what we discussed earlier that sense of accomplishment and pride. If they foster that in ways they enjoy, it will carry over into things they don’t enjoy doing as much—like chores and homework.
Helping Children Succeed
When you group all the things listed above into one big game plan, and start implementing it early, it will become second nature. Your child cannot do it alone. Everyone needs someone who believes in them and uses that belief to help push them.
Being told you have to do something is a lot different from being told you can do something and then pushed to do it. You’re forced to be accountable for your actions because you don’t want to let someone else down, and then eventually, yourself.