The dream is to have a child who is self-motivated. How do I MAKE my kid like this?

 

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What do yelling at your kids, shaming your kids, or micromanaging your kids schooling all have in common? They are all very ineffective ways at promoting self-motivation in your children.

Parents who employ these strategies think that it is possible to foster internal self-motivation in their child through external factors. It is more likely the opposite will incur and a lot of research backs this up.

But you don’t even need any research because I feel like these are obvious conclusions. For example, people who are ruled by fear historically tend to only do the bare minimum to avoid punishment and stop entirely when the fear stimulus has been removed.

Continuing this logical path of questioning, how would doing your child’s homework help them learn their subject or how would making a calendar for them teach them time management? It can’t.

Parents who micromanage their children this way are called helicopter parents and inevitably it creates a child who is unmotivated and completely dependent on their parents. At best!

For these parents they don’t want their child to fail and that is one of the essential ingredients in forming a self-motivated human being. If you reflect on your own life experience and focus on those areas where your motivation was a factor in success, you could no doubt link it to a failure or a chain of them that taught you a solid lesson.

For example, I remember leaving my dishes uncleaned for a week in the sink and when I went to go do them, there was mold everywhere. I was really disgusted and this helped convince me why cleaning regularly was important.

The best you can do to encourage self-motivating is by creating a safe environment in which they can fail. Safe, in this context, means without judgement from you. Allow them to make their own decisions and keep an eye out for the ones that are truly dangerous (like drugs). Allow them to fail.

As Alfred said to Batman: “why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” As hard as it is to see our kids fall, it’s the only way they will learn to pick themselves up.

Queensland University of Technology. “Helicopter parents take extreme approach to homework: Parents who take the overparenting approach, known as helicopter parenting, are possibly hindering their child’s development by becoming too heavily involved in homework.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160202110726.htm>.