Wouldn’t it be great if your children were motivated, independent learners?
That way, you wouldn’t have to nag or scold them to do their homework, and life would be easier for everyone.
Parents often tell me how frustrated they are that their children aren’t interested in school.
They’re also concerned that this lack of motivation will carry over to other areas of life.
The problem is that parents often demotivate their children unintentionally.
Here are 10 of the most common mistakes parents make – so do your best to avoid them in your home.
Mistake #1: Give your children too many rewards based on achievement or behaviour
This is a trap that many parents fall into, and for good reason. The first time you try it, it seems to work.
You might tell your children that you’ll pay them a dollar each time they get more than 85% for a class test. This seems to work because they start studying harder.
You think to yourself, “Great. Problem solved!”
Then a few weeks later you realise their motivation has waned. They complain that getting a good grade deserves more than one dollar.
An argument breaks out, and you find yourself justifying the price. You even explain that studying hard is their basic responsibility as a student.
If this describes your situation, you’re not alone.
Many studies show that rewards and punishments work in the short term, but not in the long term.
(Read on to find out what other approaches you can try instead.)
Mistake #2: Overemphasise the importance of academics
Parents think that emphasising the importance of academics will motivate their children to work hard.
The problem is that this approach doesn’t turn your children into lifelong learners.
Learning isn’t just about getting good grades. It’s also about enjoying the process.
When children enjoy learning, they become motivated to keep on learning.
Grades can affect your job prospects, but many great leaders weren’t great students. Unfortunately, many of the students I’ve worked with tell me that their parents seem to think that grades are the only thing that matters.
We now know that there are many different types of intelligence and that the education system only measures some of these.
All parents would agree that social skills, character development, and learning to relax and reflect are also important areas of focus.
When parents dismiss their children’s hobbies and games as a waste of time, they hurt their children’s feelings and damage the parent-child relationship.
Parents must value and respect their children’s activities. Dance and sport can improve kinaesthetic intelligence, and games and discussions can boost intrapersonal intelligence.
These are vital skills for children to learn and carry with them through life. [Read more…]