How to make a child want to?

After all, every child can have the potential of a genius - it is important that they want and be able to use it. How to make a child want.

How to make a child want to?
How to make a child want to?

How to act when the child refuses to cooperate, does not take up tasks, does not want to get involved. After all, every child can have the potential of a genius - it is important that they want and be able to use it. How to make a child want.

External and internal motivation

Motivation is not given to us. It has to be worked out. It is not about forcing the child to act, but rather looking for areas where the child wants to act on his own. Motivation won't make your child cope with the task, but it can make them want to try and develop their skills. And most importantly: the lack of motivation is not the child's fault.

Motivation is a term that describes all the processes involved in initiating, directing, and maintaining physiological and mental activities, in order to act towards the goal. It is considered in two perspectives: external and internal motivation.

It is about external speech when the willingness to engage is stimulated, for example, by material prizes (toys, sweets, a trip, etc.) or rewards aimed at meeting the child's needs: a joint trip with the parents, parents' consent to activities that they did not even want to talk about before - e.g. going out with friends for an evening movie screening. Every time we do something, thinking about what we will get out of it - we are guided by external motivation. Punishments and unpleasant consequences are also external motivation - then the motivator is the desire to avoid unpleasantness. This shows that external motivation can be directed to achieving a reward, benefits (laurel, medal, money, material goods), but also to avoid unpleasantness (bad degree, reprimand, unpleasant atmosphere at home, loss of trust of others). In any case, however, the enthusiasm for action ends with the achievement of the goal: winning a reward or avoiding punishment.

The situation is different with internal motivation, when the actions taken are not short-term, but fulfill our inner desires and provide excitement and joy to act. Dreams are the most motivating, because they are usually quite distant in the time of achievement, so the action lasts longer, we constantly modify the final shape of these dreams, increasing the area of ‹‹activity, and above all, we feel an extraordinary joy in engaging in the realization of desires.

Recognizing and understanding the child's needs as an important factor in supporting motivation

And here we come to a very important factor in developing a child's motivation: to know his needs and desires. They are often confused. How to distinguish needs from desires? According to Jeffrey E. Young, we distinguish six most important needs of a child:

  • Need for security.
  • The need for contact with others (bonds).
  • Need for autonomy.
  • Need for self-esteem.
  • Need for self-expression.
  • There is a need for real restrictions.

When analyzing Young's Pyramid, it is important to remember that a need is what you cannot function without. A child with a disturbed sense of security, who believes that parents love them only when they meet their expectations, will not be internally motivated because the gap between their need and reality is too strong. Likewise, when no other needs are met.

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However, just respecting and responding to the child's needs is not enough, because the internal motivation is awakened by desires, which is what the child dreams about to come true. Respecting the child's desires will give them a sense of an autonomous, joyful experience of their world. Desires do not have a task completion date, are not conditioned by rewards or benefits, therefore the motivation associated with them is effective and continuous. And that is why it is so important for parents and teachers to reflect on what is a need and what is a desire of children.

"My child's desires and needs" card with literature

Respect for the child's autonomy

Once you know what your child wants (e.g. spending time with friends or the virtual world of games), it's time to start discussing it.

  1. I order the facts clearly and without emotion: In the last week you spent several hours playing each day. At the same time, in the same week, you did not do any homework, you failed a math test and a biology articalcard.
  2. I name my emotions and explain why: I'm worried because trouble is building up and it can be hard to fix.
  3. I am silent. It's time for the child to face my perception of the situation and take a stand. The silence may last for several minutes. However, if the child clearly has no idea for an answer, he can be supported by asking: Do you understand why I am worried? I want you to understand it well ...
  4. We set up an action plan: I know you can change it. If you want, I will help you prepare for improvement, but I do not give permission to spend several hours every day in front of the computer. What do you suggest?

In an assertive, non-violent dialogue, the child's autonomy is emphasized, ties strengthened, as well as a sense of security and self-esteem. There is also a real limitation. We do not discuss desires. We accept that they are. We do not use our position and social advantage to discourage a child from these desires. We support them so that they understand the necessity to limit their pleasure in favor of the performance of their duties.

Support for the implementation of the child's plans

This child finds a solution. It is the self who plans the actions. An adult (parent, teacher) supports in realization, praises progress, avoids judging, strengthens in perseverance and helps to cope with moments of doubt, emphasizes self-esteem and accepts the child also when he behaves differently than the adult expects.

Sometimes a child works as if he is internally motivated, but he cannot say why. She achieves great results in all subjects, but dislikes school. He attends various extracurricular activities, but in all of them he is rather passive, he participates in them as if he were forced to participate. These are important observations that may prove that the child - subconsciously - meets our expectations by suppressing his desires. It is a difficult situation for parents, when they are satisfied with the good results or the child's involvement in activities, and on the other hand, it is necessary to make efforts to make the child undertake tasks related to the fulfillment of desires, because only then will he be happy and will actually use his potential. In such a situation, support for the child is invaluable because the parent gives a clear message: I love you unconditionally. This will strengthen your bond with your parents, your sense of security, and your self-worth.