How To Motivate Through Big Behavior Issues
What do we do if our child has a major behavior issue? How do we motivate through it? Most of the children who come through our Sheridan House residential program are there because of a major behavior issue. This does not mean that they are failures or that it is hopeless, by any stretch. Behavior modification is all about teaching that there are positive rewards when you make the right choice and negative consequences for the poor choice. One of the best motivations is relationship. If the residential children make the right choices then they have the free time to hang out with the staff. (This doesn’t mean that the staff “remove” their relationship for the poor choices, just that the children who have made the good choice have chosen free time rather then work. There are many times that a staff member will go sit with a child who has chosen to be outside working to communicate support. )
One thing that we always must communicate is our love. If your child is making poor choices, then consequence the choice and attempt motivate them to make the right choice. For example, say your child comes home with a “D” or “F” on their interim report. The natural consequence for that may be extra study time at night for that class. Go the extra mile and if your child is choosing a good attitude about studying, spend some time helping them. When they reach the goal of a good grade and earn the free time back go crazy. Have a special dinner and maybe a family game night to celebrate. Take the time to creatively communicate your love and support through difficult seasons. That you are not only your child’s cheerleader but you are on their team!
For more insight listen to today’s podcast on motivation.
Six Basic Steps to Motivating Your Child
Here is a basic checklist of things to look over when processing an area that your child needs to be motivated in. These are all things that we as parents can do. The first three are questions to ask yourself before preceding.
The first question is, has anything changed in my child’s life recently? Process from your child’s point of view, things like a move, the birth of a sibling, or even things going in with you as a parent your child can pick up on. It may be as simple as having a conversation with your child explaining things or communicating that you know that things are different for them at the moment but you are there supporting them.
The second question is, how is the relationship? Ask yourself, does my child always feel that I’m proud of them or does my praise focus on one sibling more than another or am I only praising performance? Spend some time processing how you can consistently communicate that you are proud of your child.
Thirdly ask, why are we in this hole? Do I need to do a better job teaching my child time management or can I simply spend some extra time helping my child with this subject? Often times this is all that is needed for extra help with schoolwork. If you feel that this is not the case, like we have said earlier this week, spending time with your child’s teacher should give valuable insight into what is going on in the classroom.
The next three steps to motivating our children are easy actions that we can take. The fourth step is be sure to cheer effort. Our cheering need to not be solely outcome based. They may not have gotten an A on that book report they spent so much time on but be sure to praise the hard work put in!
The fifth step to motivation is constantly encourage. When your child is in the midst of working through something we can be their constant cheerleaders. “I know you can do this!” or “you are doing a great job,” should be a constant mantra. Our children’s belief in themselves comes from our belief in them!
Lastly something that can help your child is to know how you came through a personal hardship or failure. There maybe some stories from your own life, currently or past, that may encourage them that they can get through this time. It is great for our children to know that we are not perfect. How we handle our mistake or hardships can be a testament to sticking with it!
For more insight on these six basic steps listen to today’s podcast.
The Word “We”
One area that many parents find difficulty motivating their children, is schoolwork. There are many different simple ways to motivate a child to study. One of the first things that you need to do is, like we discussed yesterday, know what motivates your child. Some children do well coming immediately home and getting homework out of the way. Other children need a break and need to do something physical to blow off some steam from sitting all day. Other children would study well if they had something to make that time feel fun, like a snack. Still others, who are more relational, would focus great if they were able to sit in the kitchen and do homework while mom was making dinner.
But what happens if this is all tried and your child still is falling behind at school? Before trying to get to the bottom of anything you need to communicate to your child not that this is “their problem” that needs fixing but that this is our problem that we are going to work on together. Some children just need a little bit of extra help in an area of study. Maybe they have fallen behind a bit and just need some help sorting through it. If your child is unsure of why they are behind maybe a quick meeting with their teacher would help it become clear. Remember that the most important thing to your child is not to feel like they are alone dealing with a problem, but that they have mom and dad on their side!
Listen to today’s podcast for more information on motivating your child.
Take The Time To Learn What Motivates
Every child is different and there are different motivational triggers for each person. Make sure that you are taking the time to know your child well enough to know what will motivate them. That being said there is one thing that tends to motivate everyone no matter what the personality. That is positive reinforcement.
We all want to hear that we did a good job or that someone is proud of us no matter what our age. Make sure that you are not only trying to push your child to do well but that you are positively reinforcing even the small things. Most of the time when a child knows that they are going to be praised for a job well done that is enough of a motivation in and of itself. There are many types of positive reinforcement; things such as verbal praise, giving a hug or even taking the time to be there with your child when they are doing something. All of these things communicate that what they are doing is worth it.
Make sure that you are taking the time to praise effort not just performance. Taking time to simply praise the positive may be all the motivation that your child needs.
Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on motivating your child.
Check Your Motives
The first thing we need to do when processing motivating our children to do something is ask ourselves why. Is this an area that they need to be motivated in for their future success? Is it something that will better their character? Or is it something that really only makes us feel like a successful parent.
There are many reasons why we may be a performance-oriented parent. Click Here to find out more.
For more insight on motivating your child listen to today’s podcast.