Some kids are self-motivators. If you have one or more, consider yourself blessed.
But if you don’t, you’ve probably tried just about every trick in the book to push them to perform. Let’s see, any of these work for you?
- Yelling. It scares and may get an initial reaction, but can hurt your relationship with your child.
- Bribery. Oh, it’s good for the moment, but rarely has life-shaping success.
- Comparison. Bringing up other athletes as examples will probably anger your athlete.
- Reverse psychology. Most kids see right through it. After all, we’ve raised them to be smart.
- Threats. If your child doesn’t care enough to really try on his own, he probably doesn’t care a whole bunch about your threats; he knows you most likely won’t follow through.
- Preaching. Here we go again, your kids are probably thinking.
If our goal as parents and sports parents is to get our kids to always give their best effort, these solutions are like bandaids on a broken arm. They just don’t get to the heart of the matter.
The heart of the matter is that your kid has to feel confident that he can succeed and know that hard work will result in that success. If he knows that, if he’s felt that, then chances are he will push himself when he needs to.
How do we infuse our kids with confidence? What’s the secret to motivating them to always do their best?
After 27 years of watching my husband-coach work to motivate kids and after 17 years of trying to motivate my own 3 athletes to give their all, I’ve concluded that there really is no secret cure. But there is treatment.
And that treatment is to encourage them, support them, listen to them, look for those teachable moments when they really are listening to you, and love, love, love on them.
Let’s put away the parenting bandaids and give them the love treatment that will hopefully cure them and keep them motivated for life.