Are you at your wits end with trying to figure out what motivates your child? Do you find yourself screaming and yelling to try and get them to do what you want? There’s a better way. Read on to find out what truly motivates your child and how to get them to do what you ask them to. You’re not a bad parent. But it doesn’t hurt to get a little parental guidance, based on proven practices. Your vocal cords will thank you.
What Motivates Your Child- The Different Types of Motivation
To understand more about how to help your child, it’s important to understand what motivates them. The different types of motivation are broken down into two main categories.
First: What Motivates Your Child Intrinsically
Intrinsic motivation involves motivation that comes from within yourself. It’s driven by your internal dialogue and desire to achieve internal rewards. For example, you may desire to be healthier and exercise more primarily for your own self-improvement. No outside force is driving you to do this, it comes from within yourself.
However, one of the problems with intrinsic motivation, is that it’s possible for it to be negatively driven. For example, you may desire to be healthier because you will feel “fat” or “unfulfilled” otherwise. While this still gets you to your end-goal, the motivation was primarily negative and not positive-outcome centered. This can affect the psychological health of the intrinsic thinker.
This type of motivation is usually more viable and sustainable than extrinsic motivation, regardless of the positivity or negativity of the motivator. This is because the person doing the thinking is in complete control. The motivation comes from within themselves and isn’t influenced by or dependent on outside sources. The person themselves has complete control over whether or not they succeed.
Second: What Motivates Your Child Extrinsically
Extrinsic motivation is driven by external factors and rewards. Meaning that the motivation is coming from an outside source or pressure. Some examples of external motivations are things like fear, expectations, praise of financial motivators. Extrinsic motivations are much more common than intrinsic.
However, this type of motivation also has the potential to be negative, just like intrinsic motivation. For example, you can be more motivated to work harder at your job, for fear of losing it or the pressure to pay certain bills. The difference between this type of motivation and intrinsic motivation, is that the thinker is no longer in control of the pressure or expectation. The consequence for not performing at work will not just be inner turmoil, but a very real change in life-circumstance.
Though internal and external motivation are the two main categories, or types, of motivation, there are many subtypes. Let’s take a look at some of these sub-types to help you better understand what motivates your child. Think of your child as you read, and see if you can recognize the motivators that apply to them.
Intrinsic Motivation Types
Here are some of the different types, and specifications of what motivational rewards they inhabit.
This type of motivation means that the person is more motivated by the journey than the destination. They care more about the process and what they get from the process than the reward at the end. The reason this works for some people is that they are motivated by the fact that they are “getting better” or becoming more competent at a task. They are motivated by the learning aspect of it.
For example, if you are going to school because you’re excited about the valuable skills you’ll learn, instead of for the higher salary you’ll get from going to school, you may fall into this category of motivation. If you can, you should implement this motivational strategy any time you are trying to get yourself of child to achieve somethings. It’s incredibly valuable, and can be learned. The reason it is so valuable is that once something is learned it cannot be taken away. This type of motivation is long-lasting and sustainable.
This type of motivation occurs because a person wants to change the way they, or other people, feel or think. Meaning the person acts in a certain way simply because they want to make themselves or other people feel happier, or uplifted.
This type of motivation can be seen in people who do a lot of volunteer work. They feel good when other people feel good. Or if someone is constantly helping other grow and achieve their goals, they are practicing this type of motivation.
Achievement or Goal Motivation
This type of motivation occurs when the individual is seeking a sense of accomplishment by achieving a goal or task. They are driven by goals in and of themselves, and not because of the end reward of achieving them. These people are great self-motivators, which comes from within. This is why this is considered an internal motivation and not external. They aren’t driven by the reward, but by the achievement of the goal itself.
People who are driven by the desire to express themselves through creativity fall under this category of motivation. People who fall under this category typically have an internal feeling that they need to express through creative works. This can be through a book, music, art or other types of creativity.
This occurs when someone is driven by instinct or other internal forces. This often occurs with no explanation, just an inner need to accomplish a goal or task. The basis involves the fact that humans are all driven to achieve self-fulfillment, innately. When you are motivated in this way, your actions and behaviors come from deep within, and cannot be ignored by the thinker. An example might be the pursual of a romantic relationship, without rhyme or reason
Extrinsic Motivation Types
Here are some of the different types, and specifications of what motivational rewards they inhabit.
This type of motivation is the typical “reward” motivation. The person is incentivized to accomplish something due to the expected end reward of achieving their goal. The reward is often specific, like money, or candy if you’re a child. This form of motivation can go hand-in-hand with achievement/goal motivation. When working in tandem with one another, the thinker is fulfilled both internally and externally.
This type of motivation is often overused by parents. “If you do this then this bad thing will happen.” This is a negative motivator because the person or child is not motivated by reward, but rather by fear of consequences.
While it is often overused in parenting situations, it’s not all bad. Fear can often motivate us to overcome our own barriers and achieve success. This is true of children, as well, but should not be the only motivator.
This type of motivation occurs when someone is driven by the desire for power over their own lives, or the lives of others. The desire to increase your own choices. This can be seen when people become more intentional and active in their thoughts in behaviors as they try to create the life they want.
However, this type of motivation can be negative. A real-world example of this type of motivation existing without control would be Nazi Germany. But, as long is this type of motivation remains checked, it can be a powerful motivator for positive change. Power motivation is a motivational factor that says people are motivated by control over their own.
Humans have an innate desire to belong. To be accepted and have a place in the world. We desire to connect to other humans and be part of a group. This desire can motivate us to act or do certain things. For example, someone who is shy may find it difficult to connect to others. But social motivators might influence this person to take a class, or talk to someone new. This type of motivation, is incredibly helpful in real-life situations. When someone finds belonging and acceptance it can be extremely fulfilling, leading to true happiness.
What Motivates Your Child- 10 Ways
Help them set goals. Children need a good set of short and long-term goals to keep them motivated. Make sure the goals are achievable but do require substantial effort. Work with your child to help them pick goals that make sense for them. Then, make a plan to help them reach those goals.
Celebrate when they accomplish things. Let them know you’re proud of them and what they do. Make a big deal out of their successes.
Have a little healthy competition. It’s okay for your child to be motivated by winning now and then. Just make it about positivity and make sure they’re never rude or demeaning towards their competitor.
Let them know you believe in them. They need to know that you don’t doubt them or their capabilities.
Take Interest in their interests, and encourage them to pursue them. When you listen and show interest in them and their interests, it shows them you care about them and encourages them to come to you with their thoughts and ideas. Help them discover their passion and encourage them to pursue them.
Be a beam of positivity. When your child sees you as optimistic and confident, they will feel that way too. Your positive outlook on any given situation will encourage them to maintain that same outlook.
Peer Pressure. While peer pressure can be a very negative thing, it can also be a positive one. It can push your child to do better. Whether it be with school, work or sports, peer pressure can motivate them to meet or exceed the standards of their peers.
Get them excited about their goals. Don’t forget to show how excited you are for them as well. Your excitement will be an example to them and push them to do better and work harder.
What Motivates Your Child Shows You What Not to Do
Thinking about what motives your child can help show you what not to do as well. One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents is raising our voice. If you tell your child to do something, and they don’t, you may start to yell. You raise your voice higher and higher until they listen. While this may work in the short-term, all it really does is scare your child and leave you feeling frustrated. Additionally, who wants a hoarse voice for the rest of the day? Raising your voice is ineffective in the long-term.
Another no-no is using only incentive motivation as a tool. While this also works in the short-term, it can have ill long-term effects. Studies show us that this type of motivation eventually leads to long-term worsened performance. Children need to experience internal and external motivation from other factors, not just the thought of a reward.
What You can do to Learn what Motivates Your Child
So, what’s the solution? You know the types of motivation, but maybe you’re a little unsure of how to implement them. Maybe you’re unsure of how to get started. The use of multiple forms of motivation can be learned and taught by parents. The great news is there are online classes for free that can help teach you this. An example of one is here.
Your child can learn how to motivate themselves, with a little help from you. It all starts with your relationship with your child. Thankfully, technology allows us to access more tools than we ever have before. You can learn a new way of parenting that doesn’t involve screaming or yelling or banging your head against the wall. Imagine a home full of peace and calm. Don’t be discouraged by small pitfalls. Parenting is a journey, and everyone struggles along the way. Thankfully though, things don’t have to stay that way. Have fun learning and saving your vocal cords!