How to motivate a disinterested child - Part 3

Is your child not studying? He may be suffering from anxiety issues. Is your child not able to plan his studies? He may need some guidance and inspiration. Help your child discover motivation through these simple tips.

Some teens shy away from responsibilities; they put things off and procrastinate. It is natural for parents to become perturbed when their kids stall critical stuff that they need to do. Is it because of a lack of motivation as I discussed in my previous articles, namely, How to motivate teenagers and Top tips to motivate your teenage child or are there other reasons?

Not all teens are lazy and indifferent to the critical aspects of their life. Some teens fight major battles of uncertainties that rage within them. They feel burdened with anxieties, and about not being able to achieve the things expected of them. And these anxieties manifest themselves into fears that they cannot handle, which in turn result in them disassociating themselves from taking action.

Helping teens handle anxieties

A teen who struggles with fears can find himself lagging. The fear could be of the oncoming examinations or how he would fare in the boards or something else that is away in the distance. Such teens view just the final event without considering the journey that will take them there.

Let me explain through an example. Imagine that there are ten steps to the top of a platform, and the child sees just the platform and gets gripped by fear of how he is going to do that jump, from the ground to the top. He ignores the steps that lead the path to the top; all he sees is the big target.

Such children need assistance. Point out the steps that the child has to climb to reach the top. The child has a big test coming up, and he panics. Show him that the test is the last step; he has many steps to get there. He must complete each level and not dread what lurks ahead. Here, each step refers to the preparation for the test - revision and practice. He has to walk that mile, to complete the mile. He can't fly across it.

Bite size pieces

Step in if you find your child becoming overwhelmed and help him plan his affairs. Help him shuffle his schedule if he needs to, so he gets some extra time to study for the test. Do not delete things from his schedule, for that will make him complacent. If task 'A' can wait until next week, postpone it rather than removing it from his schedule, even if the task is not crucial. Doing so will teach your child how to manage his time better and prioritise items, more effectively.

Another thing that you can help him with is to compartmentalise his tasks into doable segments. It will make the tasks a little less overwhelming. Sit with your child and list out all the things that he has to do. Let us say he has to schedule six things. Check how much time he has, and how you can fit the tasks into his time.

Help him break the tasks into achievable goals – he can do 'B' on Monday just after dinner. He can shift 'A' to the next week, and if 'C' is something that he needs more practice with, let him schedule extra time for it. Maybe forty-five minutes in the morning, before he leaves for school and an hour in the evening. It is easier to work with a concrete plan because then the tasks appear achievable. He is more likely to slay that huge monster of incompetence that overpowered him if he can complete his assignments in smaller bits. Rather than believing that he cannot do something; the child begins believing that he can.

Help when help is sought

What if your child requires assistance making a start with a project? Of course, you must step in to help, but not to the extent of doing the work for him. A lot of parents do just that, but that is bad for the child; it does not challenge him nor allow him to test his creativity.
Help him gather information and items for the project. Have him run his ideas by you, offer suggestions. Do some brainstorming and let him come up with ideas, but let the final output be his. Do not be that parent who does the child's project; your child will not gain confidence nor trust his abilities.

Restrict your help to just providing advice, do not baby your child, let him find his way around. Your aim must be to help your child grow, help him sharpen his skills, talent and ability. He needs to move out of your shadow and work independently of you. It does not matter if his efforts do not get him an A+, praise his efforts, nonetheless. He will get better from here on.

Motivate a child with low confidence level

You can't wave a magic wand and make that happen. It is not that simple. Motivation is not something that you can transfer to someone else. Instead, it is something that individuals choose and assimilate themselves. It is like the choices we make; we choose to become motivated.

Motivation is an internal development; no one can trigger it for you. It happens when we allow it to happen. Our reactions to all the motivational concepts that we see, hear or read decide how much of it gets infused into us. You cannot be motivated unless you are touched by it. Whether we wish to give our best is a choice we make. However, parents and other well-meaning adults can create an environment that subtly stimulates motivation. Maybe your child wants to study abroad in a world-famous university, or he wants to become an investment banker or an iOS developer, but you do not see that happening because of his poor grades and lack of motivation.

I suggest you take him to a Global Education Fair, so he becomes acquainted with the minimum academic requirements that top universities desire. Or introduce your child to an investment banker of iOS developer, so he gets first-hand information of what it takes to enter these coveted careers. What this does is, it gives your child a feel of the actual scenario. The child now sees a path to his dreams, and these might include getting good grades, developing skills and aptitude. He sets his eyes on all that he has to accomplish to get where he wants to be.

Placing your child in the right environment acts as a catalyst, especially when he meets people, who talk about his dreams. He becomes inspired by them and realises that he has to do what they did, to become like them. He understands that he will need to step up his act. It makes him think that he can do it. That is where the child gets his motivation. It becomes easier to set goals and reach them when you see someone living the life you want, doing what you want. If they can do it, so can I.

This plan encourages your child to shift his goals, instead of wanting to be someone, he now works at being that someone. He realises that there are steps involved. And he has to clear each level before he can set sight on his goals. Introduce your child to real-life heroes who fought the odds to be where they are. JK Rowling faced many rejections, but in the end, her struggles paid-off. You need to work to achieve your goals; nothing comes easy, should be the message.

Provide the right kind of motivation to your child, instead of wasting time and energy to get him to do what you think is best. Let his motivation come to him from within himself.

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Author: Umesh21 Jul 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 8

A good article on creating interest and responsibility in the children for their tasks and other works. Most of the children will be avoiding anything given to them as a task. But at the same time if it is given to them in the form of a game or fun item they may cling to it. Another unique thing about children is that if we force something upon them they will resist it and will be adamant not to do it and if possible do something opposite to that.

Creating interest in children for a constructive and positive activity is a herculean task and it is not only difficult for the parents but is a challenge even for the qualified child psychologists. It requires a lot of patience and persistence in the people who have taken this challenge of generating interest in the children for studies or small tasks which are important in their life to learn. In such cases learning sooner is the better. Though there are many methods suggested by the child psychologists in this matter, it is said that common sense is the biggest sense. We must understand the child's mind and behave with him accordingly and utilise his energies in the right channel involving him in every bit of it. Participation is the key to delivery and we can not simply direct the child for a job and then just forget about it. We have to continuously monitor it in our own way but the child should not feel our shadow on his head and should be apparently free to move and act.

Author: Anauj27 Jul 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 8

Thank you, Umesh, for your valuable input. Parents, teachers and adults in general blame children and see them as difficult to handle humans. The fact is that children are like a piece of clay and we can mould and shape them as we want. The problem starts when adults fail to discipline the children under their care. Here discipline does not mean being strict. It is more about helping the child develop, holistically.

The child has to learn the value of time, patience, education, respect, sharing etc. And this he does from watching those around him. Disciplined upbringing results in the child adopting and adapting to good habits.

A slow learner needs a different kind of attention. A hyperactive child will need special care. We need to understand the child and be willing to devote time. Raising a child is a challenging job, but it can be made easy if we follow the right practices.

We introduce discipline very late into a child's life. By then he is habituated to a specific pattern. It is never too early to teach the child the right things. The first five years in a child's life are the most crucial. And it is these years that most parents neglect the most, thinking the child is young. Age-appropriate lessons should be encouraged by parents, even when the child is young.

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