Do you have trouble motivating your children to study?
It’s a common problem that I see in my coaching work with pre-teens and teens.
In my experience, many parents approach this problem the wrong way.
In this article, I’m going to explain 10 principles for motivating children to do well in school and study hard.
1. Don’t annoy your children
One of the keys to motivating your children to work hard is not to annoy them.
This may seem odd at first, as we’re used to parents getting annoyed with children, not vice versa.
But relationships are a two-way street, and parents can also annoy children.
If your children are continually upset with you over things you say or do, they will find it hard to listen to you.
You may have some great wisdom to offer them, but your children won’t be receptive to your advice.
Parents often engage in power struggles with their children. For some of us, these are habits we learned from our own childhoods.
But power struggles with your children consume a lot of energy. And that’s energy that could be spent on something more constructive.
Another habit to avoid is making comments that suggest your child isn’t good enough.
This may be something you’re not aware that you do.
It may be very subtle. For example, take the statement: “You’re improving, but I know you can do better.” On the surface, it sounds like encouragement. But you’re actually telling your child that he or she isn’t good enough.
Or take a statement that begins: “When I was your age…” These kinds of statements usually involve a comparison that leaves your children feeling bad. So avoid making these types of comments.
Another trap that parents fall into is comparing their children with someone else’s. Parents often hope that these comparisons will inspire their children to do better.
Unfortunately, these comments have the opposite effect.
“I hear that John got A’s in all his subjects the last term” may seem like an innocent remark. But it’s a comparison that leaves your child feeling worse about himself or herself.
This is not the way to motivate your children.
Sometimes, parents try to motivate their children by giving them lectures. But lectures tend to make children feel powerless and resentful.
Instead of lecturing your children, discuss the issue with them and ask them what they think. This is much more effective than lecturing them.
Because it gets them involved, and makes them part of the solution.
2. Give your children a sense of control
If you want to motivate your children, they need to feel as if they’re in control of their lives.
Being motivated comes from knowing that you can shape your future through the actions you take today.
But if children feel as if their parents are in complete (or almost complete) control, they will have little motivation.
Some parents hover over their children. They micromanage every last detail of their children’s lives.
The result is that the children never develop a sense that they’re responsible for their education and their lives. [Read more…]