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How do you motivate a child to do his best?

I have 4 children, ages 6 - 12. My son is the oldest, followed by 3 girls. I have tried everything, but he is just not motivated to do anything involoving work or creativity when we are at home. My girls do their chores, draw, and play creatively all day long. All my son wants to do is read or get on the computer, which is limited at our house to an hour a day. And we go on lots of family outings, to the beach, special events, etc. We've had him in camps for baseball, sailing, etc, which he has enjoyed. He is outgoing and has a lot of friends. But when he is at home, he is just plain unmotivated and I hate to say it, lazy! Its like he can't think of anything to do besides read or do the computer. He could care less about chores, and always looks for the easy way out of everything. Doesn't even brush his teeth without reminding! All I do is nag, and I hate it. It seems like a lot of kids are like this nowadays.

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sandmama4

Asked by sandmama4 at 11:53 AM on Aug. 2, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 3 (21 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • We have a 13, almost 14 yr old that's the same way... He's a good kid, just lacks motivation. So we tell him what he's expected to do, and if he doesn't then he loses his favorite things.. Such as computer, ipod, dirtbike, going anywhere, etc... Not much else we can do. We're hoping one of these days a light bulb goes off in his head and he figures it out... GL Momma, we're in the same boat..
    MrsLeftlane

    Answer by MrsLeftlane at 11:56 AM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • It's hard to find the balance, but you have to require his best while not comparing him to the other children. It may be possible that at some point he offered you his best but then was made to feel like his best did not measure up to the best of the other children or even what you perceived as best. If that has happened, he has taken the attitutde of "what's the use?" and pretty much given up trying to meet the standards. What is his best may not necessarily be what everyone else's best is. We had one child who never liked school, but he did quite well in school. We always told him that he did not have to like school, but he did have to go, and he did have to give his best effort while he was there. The other two loved books and learning and all the rest. He loved band!!! And that was all he loved about it. I think because we gave him permission to dislike it, he did much better than he would have had we required him
    NannyB.

    Answer by NannyB. at 11:58 AM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • This can be typical at his age. As for reading...go for it! The computer, def set limits. Tell him nothing for him until chores and grooming are done, then he is motivated to do what he needs to do so he can do what he wants. Perhaps an allowance will help.
    salexander

    Answer by salexander at 12:13 PM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • My grandson receives an allowance if he does his chores and if he doesn't he gets nothing. Every time he does his chores, it is his responsibility to mark it on the calender, if the day is not checked he does not get paid. In order for him to receive anything for that week, all days must be checked indicating that did what what expected of him if he wants me do do what was expected of me.
    debnich501960

    Answer by debnich501960 at 2:13 PM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • I believe motivation needs to be provided early on, along with that comes praise when they do what was asked of them. It also helps if you can provide them with ideas as well, when it comes to things outside of chores. My children tend to be a little "lazy" sometimes as well especially in the summer when friends are on vacations or they have stayed up too late. Sometimes they waste the days away, however we do keep them active in sports and we also express that they don't get priveledges such as going out with friends or having friends over. They are pretty good about chores but I think its a matter of being consistent and giving consequences - maybe no reading or computer time until its done. My son was going to an amusement park today and he was 'lazy' yesterday - I just reminded him if he doesn't get the chores done he wasn't going with his friend today chores were done in a matter of an hour.
    blessedwboysx3

    Answer by blessedwboysx3 at 3:05 PM on Aug. 2, 2010

  • I hate the reward system since it sets kids up to expect to be rewarded for doing what is least expected. But it does get things done around here.
    Liansmommie

    Answer by Liansmommie at 2:38 AM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • No the light bulb is SETTING those study habit,cleaning habit,nutrition habit rules we as parents are our kids role models and if we moan and groan,slack off and cut corners our children pick up on our lack of enthusiasm,and poke around to!!
    Caramel824

    Answer by Caramel824 at 8:21 AM on Aug. 3, 2010

  • I am the one who asked the question, and Iam at my complete wits end, because I feel my husband and I do set limits, and we have told all of our children what we expect as far as chores go, personal hygene and schoolwork. We are also good role models to our children. We both work very hard around the house and at jobs. We have four children, our oldest is the slacker, the middle two go above and beyond what is asked of them, never complain or laze around...they get their stuff done, then play....our youngest is only 6, and she sems to be somewhere in the middle....
    I don't ever let my oldest on the computer or do fun stuff until his chores are done, but I constantly have to "remind"...aka nag....and I just wish he would take the initiative to do things himself. I wish he would care.
    sandmama4

    Comment by sandmama4 (original poster) at 11:48 AM on Aug. 3, 2010

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