Motivating Kids: Myths & Truths #2

8 04 2010

Shaun Goodsell, MA

We have an energy crisis in our society. This energy crisis is taking place with our teenagers.  The myths we have bought into concerning motivation discourage us from making a difference in turning this crisis around.

Motivational Myth #1: Kids need to be motivated. (see 4/7/10 blog entry)

Motivational Myth #2: Rewards are what motivate kids. The truth is many of the rewards we use to “bargain” with our kids are often responsible for training kids to be unmotivated.

When we offer money, privilege, and other external rewards in the hopes of bargaining with kids for them to care and exert energy towards a task, we actually train them to anticipate a reward of greater significance each time they do the same task.  This dynamic mirrors that of a person dealing with addiction. An addict needs a more intense “high” with each experience and chases that “high” as the primary goal within each experience or they don’t chase it. When kids have been virtually bribed to care about things or exert energy towards something we are systematically training kids to expect a greater and greater reward and thus a more intense “high”. The consequences of this are thousands of kids have become addicted to rewards instead of developing the intrinsic motivation that is vital to long-term sustained motivation that is independent of external rewards. The skills that an individual needs to pursue the vital aspects of their life are what many kids are lacking. The more we take the short cut and bribe kids with cars, money, trophies, etc., the more we set kids up to fail later in life.

After the Myths have been identified I will create a 5 part training series on Unleashing The Power of Personal Motivation.

Keep an eye out for Motivational Myth #3!

Best to you today!

Shaun

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