Motivation is an important thing, if you have it. A lack of motivation can be a large downfall to an otherwise bright student. Parents ‘can’ increase their child’s motivation in ways that will embolden them without distracting them from their main purposes.
Not all the motivation in the world will help a child who is otherwise unhappy in their daily surroundings. This is not a command to give your child anything and everything they ask for…actually, quite the opposite. Children treated with respect and love, usually give respect and love in return. Children raised with values and given advice on a daily basis, again, learn to use their values reasonably. A spoiled child, one who is given ‘things’ without any reason other than they asked for it, or more likely, demanded it, do not have any common sense of how life works; people work for rewards. Keep in mind that rewards do not necessarily mean ‘things’! Ask your child what they suppose a good outcome of various situations, so you, as the parent, can define in your mind, what your child considers motivational to finishing tasks, including homework assignments, special projects, etc. You may be surprised to find out that your child has no clear definition of why they should study hard.
For example, a lot of parents’ associate ‘motivation’ with money, if their child passes a test good, they will hand over cash as motivation for the next test. What the child learns in reality, is that if they ‘pass’ they are immediately given reward. Sounds like a possible motivational tool, right. What is wrong with this scenario is simple. Life does not work in such a way. There will not always be someone there throughout your child’s life to give money every time ‘they’ get it right.
Children need to comprehend that when grownups talk about gratification, they are not necessarily talking about the newest video game or a trip to a great park. Gratification can simply be the satisfaction of completing a task. If a child has been motivated through physical rewards all through his school life and even before, they need to clear up that this is not how life works. You can alter how you give motivation, and how your child accepts it, it just takes some ‘motivation’ and sensibility on your part! The best motivational tool you can employ is teaching a child that gratification comes from the result of the task done.
As stated earlier, speaking with your children to comprehend how they view rewards as motivation will give you a better picture of where to begin your discussion with them on how you can help them become more motivated in their studies. Discuss with them on how an ‘A’ that is achievable through study, is motivational by itself over a ‘C’ that can simply be achieved from what the student has learned in class. Discuss what they are hoping to become when they be adults. This may sound like common sense, but you may be surprised at how many parents never ask their children this most important of questions. Once you have asked them this, ask them it again in a few months time. There answer may or may not have altered, but you will be demonstrating your child that you not only are interested, but by asking them this simple question, you are stimulating their thoughts, to keep their aims in mind.
Physical rewards ‘can’ be used as motivation, but use them reasonably. If a child has struggled, but has clearly shown effort, a physical ‘unsuspected’ reward can be given with positive results. A surprise dinner out to demonstrate your child that you appreciate all the hard work they do to pass a class they truly struggled in will show them your attention. This works in two ways; a physical reward is given, but it also shows the best motivation any child can get, their parent’s approval.