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Dynamics of Motivating Children

The common complaint of today’s parents is “To get one task done we have to tell them a thousand times and this is everyday’s story.” The parent feels exhausted and drained by this continuous shouting and tussle. They often ask and look for solutions to motivate their kids to do the right thing.But what is the right thing and according to whom? This is a question all parents should ask of themselves. Does their child also consider it the right thing but lacks the motivation or is it just the parent’s view born out of their own beliefs and likes and dislikes? Reflecting on these questions will help the parents to give more space to their children and make daily tussle of getting children do things much easier.

An honest introspection is bound to reveal gaps in our understanding and beliefs. We may be able to see that what we want our children to do arise more from our past beliefs than the actual reality of today’s scenario. Examining these questions will make us realize that our children view the world differently and their view may not always be wrong. Questioning our likes and dislikes will show us how attached we are to our own viewpoint that anything apart from it irritates and enrages us. Once these things come into our awareness then make an effort to loosen and let go of some of the preferences thus building space for a relaxed environment and deeper connection. Deep connection and acceptance is what really matters and has the power to transform our children into a better version of themselves. It is the missing ingredient when we don’t see children responding to us and even resisting us. 

Asking ourselves before correcting “Does it really matter in the large scheme of things? Can I let it go?” can be instrumental in building that connection. Try to have an understanding of what is the larger scheme of things and with what values you want to raise your children with. Focus on what you want your children to become professionally but more importantly how you want them to become as a person. Take some time to reflect on these qualities, write them down and discuss with your partner. 

Don’t make the mistake of projecting your current child into the future. A child at four looks very different from a child at eight and an eight year old is not going to be the same when he turns fifteen. Don’t assume the worst and live in fear. Similarly don’t project your past into the future or even your present into their future. For it’s not going to be the same even by your wildest imagination. The world with the advent of technology is fast changing. Our forefathers could not imagine the world we are today, don’t fool yourself into thinking you know the world of the future and opportunities it will bring.

Assume the best that children do better if they can do better and if they aren’t you need to be more understanding as to why they aren’t doing better. One generally overlooked area in this regard is executive function skills.Parents just presume that it’s because of lack of motivation but sometimes the reality is the lack of certain executive function skills required for that task. It will immensely help both parents and children if they can ascertain what skills are lacking and then work in the direction of building that skill step by step. If needed professional help should be sought for it because it really has the power to change the lives of our children and often the root issue. Parents may argue that it’s because of their lack of interest and they always have motivation to go out with friends. Yes because they feel accepted and those activities are more fun. Parents have to keep in mind that a very different skillset is involved in doing homework versus going to a movie.

The real question is how much can we make these practices part of our daily lives. How much courage, energy and self honesty do we have and how much are we ready to cultivate? World over research is proving time and again meditation and spiritual tools like compassion, forgiveness, detachment to be the best tools to bring about self change and that is what my personal experience has also been. When we become more accepting, forgiving and non judgemental not only does it influence the other person but also opens up a space for them where they want to change. 

For a meaningful change deep self work is required otherwise we keep living superficially waiting for that magical moment which never arrives. Working on developing a deeper connection with your child is much more important than correcting every little fault. Here’s to the spirit in all of us which wants to expand and become a better version of ourselves. Aum.

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About Dr. Mona Choudhary

Dr Mona {Psychiatrist(M.B.B.S., MD) & Parenting Advice Expert} is a strong advocate of holistic health, meditates regularly, homeschooled her son till she found Living Wisdom School. She uses her medical training and over a decade of experience in psychiatry to give practical advice on difficult parenting issues via individual consultation, workshops and this blog so that parents can raise their children in the best way.
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