3 Phrases to Motivate Your Kid

Posted September 18, 2015 by

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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 — the core components of The Total Transformation.

Remember, your child is capable of achieving great things — and so are you!

All the best,

Marissa S., Empowering Parents Coach
Learn more about 1-on-1 Coaching

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 10 and 5. 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.

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  1. Sherrillan Report

    I find myself having a hard time motivating my son due to excel.  He seems to want it, but just doesn’t know how to go about doing it.  I have taken things away and I can see that he is trying, but yet I cant help but wonder if I am pushing him too hard.  Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      I hear you. Many parents face similar challenges, so, you’re
      not alone. It can be quite frustrating when your child doesn’t seem to care as
      much about his achievements as you do. Something I think is important to keep
      in mind is that you can’t make another person care by giving him consequences.
      Taking things away in an attempt to motivate your child to do better may not be
      the most productive approach to helping him improve. Debbie Pincus gives some
      tips for steps you can take in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/10-ways-to-motivate-your-child-to-do-better-in-school.php#ixzz3mUSQyq5l. I hope you find the
      information useful. Be sure to check back if you have any further questions.
      Take care.

      • Sherrillan Report

        DeniseR_ParentalSupport Riri3334  So very true!  One thing I need to assist him with is his organizational skills.  He talks about getting good grades and when test times comes he usually does fairly well, but it is the homework skills and ensuring he brings home everything from school.  He is in the 4th grade and I try to help him visualize what is needed in his bag, but sometimes he still has a tendency to leave something behind.



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