Motivating Kids: Myths & Truths

7 04 2010

Shaun Goodsell, MA

One challenge that many parents, coaches, and teachers can all relate to is how to motivate kids. Over the last couple of years it appears that more and more kids seem to lack passion, energy, interest, and concern about their lives. It is not uncommon for parents to continually fight with their kids over doing homework, coaches consistently look for tricks on how to put a fire into their athletes lacking engagement, and teachers struggle to acquire and maintain the interest of kids.

This problem continues because we lack understanding about what is sucking the natural energy out of our kids.  I propose there are 5 motivation-reducing behaviors supported by 5 myths of motivation. For our purposes I will take them one at a time.

Motivation Myth #1:  Kids need somebody to motivate them.

Although there are many reasons for us to believe that without us kids would do nothing. This is actually part of the reason why some kids show a lack of motivation. They have become dependent on us to provide direction, promptings, and interest before they engage themselves.  I think many kids believe that they are living to please us and have organized their lives as such. The problem is that they are not living THEIR life. They have exchanged their life for our acceptance and approval. The result of this is a lack of intrigue with what they could do and become motivated by their own self-directed energy. They may not do what we think they should do or the way we think they should do it but the important point is that THEY are providing the energy and spark, which puts them in the driver seat. Overcoming our compulsion to be in charge of others’ lives may actually unleash a burst of energy that we never saw before. At any rate, helping kids take on the responsibility of directing their own life is one of the critical components of turning around the motivation crisis that many of our kids are experiencing.

Tune in tomorrow for Motivation Myth number 2!

See ya tomorrow!

Shaun

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