Do you find it hard to motivate your child?
As dads, we have been delegated the role of unofficial disciplinarian in the family, and we often have a belief that our kids will not buckle down unless we twist their arms. But the truth is our ways to motivate our child this way will only backfire at us.
The strategy might not be working because we are just getting in the way of their motivation. Furthermore, the push-pull of trying to motivate our child would end up in a power struggle. As parents, we feel responsible for our kid’s outcome in life, but know that ultimately, it is our child who will be liable to make his or her own choices.
So, what is the secret to motivating your kids? What are we going to do while waiting for this moment? We try to inspire and influence our children. The goal is we want our kids to be motivated; we will just take a different route on getting there. Here are a few tips to inspire your child to inspire themselves.
I’m Trying to Motivate Him, But It’s Not Working…
Imagine yourself having to choose between two doors. The first door would be us pushing your kid to get motivated and do the right thing. The second door is to have our child getting self-motivated to do something they need to do. In this option, we need to influence them to work on the things they are interested in.
If we choose the first door, this is what we do: nag, beg, push, punish, cajole, and reward. If door two is our choice, we need to be investigators: exploring, uncovering, and helping our child discover their own sticking points and motivations.
Uncovering the truth
Having a less motivated child can be a source of worry, frustrations, and even despair. But these are not about the lack of motivation itself. These are your reactions to your child being less motivated. Motivating him from the grip of your own anxiety will only make matters worse.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What will motivate my kid?
- What is it that he/she wants?
- What are the questions I should be asking to help my kids discover their interests?
- What are their ambitions and goals?
When we step away from our child to uncover the truth, we treat him or her as an individual. Talk to them and ask the right questions and then listen to what they want. Don’t disagree with their answer; instead, respect them.
Let them make their own choices and be responsible for the consequences
Give your kids the freedom to make their own choices. When they made a poor choice, let them face the consequences that come with it. A classic example would be doing their homework. If the cost of not doing their homework is bad grades and they understand the consequences of bad grades, then that is up to them.
What we’ve got there is a motivation to go in the right direction without telling him what to do. No nagging or lecturing required. All we have to do is teach them how it is done right the first time and make sure they understand the consequences when they don’t do something.
Be an inspiration
I am telling you, the secret to motivating your child is to stop trying to motivate them. Instead, all you have to do is inspire them. How are we going to go about it? Be the inspiration. Exhibit the behaviors that encourage them.
Don’t be too controlling because the child will go in the opposite direction. If they get inspiration from something, they will work towards that goal. Keep this in mind: if we are pushing our child as a form of motivation, we are only motivating him or her to resist US.
Don’t let our anxiety get in the way
When we do this, we will only push them to resist us. Yes, they might comply, but that is just to get us off their tail and leave them alone. This way, we are not motivating them, instead, we are teaching them to resist or to appease us.
Their response is reactionary instead of finding motivation in themselves. And our anxiety is only creating a power struggle between our kid and us.
Accept the fact that If all else fails, remember it is not our fault. We are not the cause of our child’s lack of motivation. It would be best if we do not take it personally. Our responsibility is to help them work towards their goals and not do it for them. Our job is to stay out of the way enough but still guide our children to figure out who they are and what they want.
Podcast Ep. 128 – 7 Ways to Motivate Your Kids Without Bribing Them
The secret in motivating our children is to stop hovering so much and to give them a little space. By doing this, we can see things more clearly. Sometimes when we are too close, we cannot see them as an individual, as their own person.
If we do this, we will be able to see what makes them tick, and we can help them understand themselves. When we step back and observe, we will know what works with our kids, what motivates our children. Our goal is to influence them to do something not to make them do it!