Now that school is back in session, are you feeling the weight of trying to motivate your child to get out of bed, do homework or study? Perhaps the more you nag, bribe or scold, the more resistant your child becomes?
You’re not alone! It can be very difficult to respond to kids who appear to lack motivation. As a 1-on-1 Coach for Empowering Parents, I talk with many families who experience this struggle. I even live it with my own kids, who love to test boundaries.
The first step in responding to these kids is to understand what’s really going on. Your child is motivated — they’re just motivated to resist you. If you respond to the resistance with bargaining, yelling or arguing, you’re giving the resistant behavior power.
If you experience resistant behavior this week, try using the following statements instead of “You” statements:
- “It’s time to get up out of bed and get ready for school.”
- “It’s time for you to do your homework now.”
- “It’s time for you to study for one hour.”
After you make your statement, walk away. If your child doesn’t complete the task, then there should be consequences. For more information on holding unmotivated children accountable, check out Motivating the Unmotivated Child.
The bottom line is that children who appear to lack motivation do not have the appropriate problem-solving skills. To manage and change this behavior, parents must teach kids responsibility and accountability.
Remember, your child is capable of achieving great things — and so are you!
All the best,
Marissa S., Empowering Parents Coach
Quote of the Week! “If continually resisting is how a child tries to solve the problem of authority, then parents will have a hard time until they teach the child how to solve that problem appropriately.” — James Lehman, MSW
Marissa is a proud mom to two boys, age 12 and 7. She earned her degree in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine and has been a 1-on-1 Coach since 2011. Prior to coming to Empowering Parents, Marissa gained experience working as the House Manager of a group home for teenage boys, as a Children’s Mental Health Case Manager, and also spent several years working on the Children’s Unit at a Psych. Hospital.