As parents, we all want children who are self-sufficient self-starters who don’t need nagging or threats to do their homework. One of parent’s biggest frustrations is that their children show no interest in their schoolwork. Even worse is the fear that this attitude will continue into their adult life, and they will struggle with employment or higher education. Sometimes, the parents are the unwitting source of the lack of motivation. Here are seven ways you can avoid demotivating your children.
1. Rewarding Achievement Too Often
Parents often resort to financial rewards or prizes for children doing well in their studies.
It’s a deceptive practice because it seems to work in the short-term. However, over the long-term, cracks will begin to show.
The teen will tire of studying so hard for one measly dollar and demand that their effort is worth much more.
The situation degrades into an argument, with the parent resorting to telling the child that study is their responsibility and shouldn’t require any reward.
Research indicates that rewards and punishments are an ineffective means of motivation in the short-term, but other strategies may lead to better results and stronger parent-child relationships. Read on to find out some of the mistakes you may be making.
2. Using Stand Over Tactics
Standing constant watch over your children or micromanaging their every move creates anger and resentment and denies children a valuable learning experience.
Allow your children to plan their work, set their schedules, and take responsibility for their actions. This way, they will develop valuable life skills, independence, and organizational abilities that will stay with them as adults.
3. Leaving Your Children out of Household Rule Making
Setting the rules without the child’s input will rob them of any power and control.
Would you like to be told every day what you should wear, when you can use your iPad, and what to watch?
Every home requires rules, but the whole family needs a say in what they are.
If everyone has a vote, there can be no excuses of “it’s not fair” or “why don’t they have to do it?”
Children are more likely to follow rules which they have helped create.
4. Putting More Emphasis on Results Than Effort
Everybody is impressed with an A grade student. However, excellent grades are not always the best predictor of success. There are plenty of unsuccessful smart people and just as many successful B and C grade students.
Learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge are more important for making a difference in the world.
You can develop this attitude in your children by encouraging them to volunteer as a tutor. Tutoring younger students will show them that you don’t have to be a top-performing academic to be of value to others.
5. Nagging Them About Their Lack of Effort
Many parents will continually nag their children about their lack of effort.
They should work harder, put their phone down, and turn off YouTube.
The nagging comes with good intentions, but children can start to feel as if they will never be good enough.
If your child continually hears from you about their lack of effort, then they will be less motivated to study, not more.
A better approach is to be more inspirational. Remind your children about how they were rewarded for their efforts and discuss their behavior in a non-judgmental way that inspires self-worth.
6. Not Acknowledging Progress
Children will care what you think and want you to feel proud of their improvements, even though they didn’t achieve the best grade.
Praise them for their efforts at improving their spelling or getting their assignments done on time. Don’t focus on their abilities or intelligence. Instead, emphasize how proud you are of their commitment, attitude, and hard work.
7. Failing to Develop a Love of Learning
Children will always look to their parents for guidance on how to behave.
If you enjoy learning new skills, your children are more likely to develop the same habit.
Show them the value of life-long learning and that good grades are secondary to the experience.
If any of the above mistakes ring true for you, then knowing where you could make improvements will help you develop parenting behaviors that will motivate your children into working harder. Show them their commitment and hard work has value over and above good grades, and they will be inspired to put in the effort.