Motivating Kids – What Not to Do
In my last few articles I’ve talked about whether you should motivate your kids through privileges or bribes, and if you choose to motivate with privileges should they be earned or not. In this post I’d like to discuss an equally important topic which is some of the things to avoid when trying to motivate your kids.
In my experience with families, we mainly focus on what to do and how to do it successfully in order to see results. From time to time, however, the question “What should we avoid doing?” comes up. I have compiled a short list of some “Don’ts” that I hope you find helpful. Additionally, I encourage you to focus on the strategies I’ve offered so far to help you foster motivation in your kids.
The “Dont’s” of Motivational Strategies
- Don’t hold your kids emotionally hostage by threatening to withhold your love or attention until they do something you want, e.g. using the silent treatment.
- Don’t try to elicit compliance from your child by using fear as a way to manipulate him/her to do what you want. For example, saying, “If you don’t do your chores, Dad is going to be so mad when he comes home.”
- Don’t bribe your kid to do something. It doesn’t teach a positive lesson, and it doesn’t empower the child to learn to make better choices or take responsibility.
- Don’t blackmail your kid. This one may sound obvious, but it takes many forms. For example, “I won’t tell your mother that you broke the lamp if you agree to help me clean out the garage, son.”
- Don’t make something taboo. For example, saying “Don’t ever talk to me about that!” When a kid is asking for permission to do something risky or inappropriate for his or her age, many other ways exist to deter or redirect a child from making a mistake rather than making what the child wants into a taboo.
This is your challenge as a parent: Motivating your kids to do something they don’t necessarily want to do and on the flip side, motivating them not to do things they shouldn’t. I hope these last few blog posts will help you met your challenges.
This is an excerpt from my book: “Create Happy Kids”
Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.
Contact her at 425-772-6698.