The funny thing about parenting is that we often assume that our children’s feelings are somewhat inferior or of a much lower degree than our own. However that is not the truth. Have you ever noticed how pushing your kids too hard can backfire? You try and try to get them to do something but it’s all in vain.
It is now coming to the end of the year so the school year is winding down. As our children start getting ready for their end of year exams, it’s worth thinking about how we can motivate them without nagging them relentlessly.
Of course school and doing well at school is important so we sort of have to push our children to focus and do well or they will never do anything. We keep pushing them because you love them and want only the best for them.
The best way to do this is to keep them happy and motivated with school. There is no doubt that kids who are busy and performing to the best of their ability tend to be happy kids with fewer problems.
So, by all means, motivate your kids to do homework, chores, music, sport... all the things that you think are important. But while we execute “Operation Motivate”, as parents we tend to become pushy and overbearing. I often find myself carried away by the mission at hand and it takes a third eye to help me check myself.
I have been offered a few truths about myself by a caring friend or two and I find that their gentle words are actually invaluable tots of wisdom that I now use as guidelines in different scenarios.
For example, ask yourself; are you nagging? You may not feel you are but if your kids respond like you are, then you probably are! Try to balance their work and play times. Are your kids getting plenty of play, exercise, social opportunities and holiday fun? Schooling is only part of a child’s education; much more is learnt from living life!
Do you feel anxious about their performance? Are you escalating your anger and threats to get some action from them? Your kids pick this up, and it leads to a motivation based on fear, not a desire for success.
Nudge and encourage your kids, but do it in a way that gets results, not in ways that turn them off and actually reduce performance.
Encourage and model a love of learning or music or sport; then the homework and training will make sense and will feel worthwhile. Show an active interest in them – their progress and their effort – and not just their marks. There is so much difference between children who like to make their parents proud and ones who fear that they will lose their approval if they don’t come up to their standard.
When they know they are loved and appreciated by you they will want to show you how well they can do. Your love makes you their greatest coach and cheerleader. It is the best motivation.