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Motivating your child: Understanding what drives us

We’re all psychologically wired to be motivated by different things. For some, it’s competition, rewards, recognition, and even monetary success. For others, it can be the journey, making friends, besting a personal record, or simply the thrill of finishing something challenging!

What we’re motivated by will undoubtedly change over the course of our lives. What you’re driven by as a teenager may be quite different when you have two kids and a thriving career.


So how can we make sense of it all?

In the above comic post, we explore a child that, on the surface, doesn’t seem motivated when she does her homework, which worries her mother. What if she can never motivate her child? Oh no!

But, should she really be concerned? While it’s an understandable fear, we learn that she can do something about it.

With some insight into how her child’s mind works, some gentle questioning, and emotional support, there are several actionable things she can do to help motivate her child to succeed.

The only question is HOW?

As you can see, this parent seems naturally wired to be outcomes-orientated and achievement-striving. However, she quickly realises s her child isn’t motivated by the same things she is.

Instead, she seems to gravitate towards the process rather than the destination, loves excitement and thrill, functions well in chaotic situations, and prefers some control over her rigid study routine. It’s clear the daughter could actually benefit from reframing her approach to studying.

Ah hah! Now we’re getting somewhere! The current study routine wasn’t playing to her strengths and might have been a source of boredom or frustration.

As you can see, awareness is key!

This is the beginning of a roadmap for the mother to help her daughter tap into her strengths and motivate her in the most ideal way possible.

With these insights about her child in mind, our parent can now tweak her daughter’s study routine to better serve her. She could…

  • Consider a change of location or pace.

  • Supercharge the environment with background music or a fun quirk of her child’s choosing.

  • Give her child a bit more control of the routine, help her design a long-term goal, or explore new passions and interests along the way.

Of course, study time is still study time, and schoolwork needs to get done! The new routine need not be a total revamp of the home!

Small and gradual tweaks can have a big impact!

Essentially, it’s about applying what you know about her child so she can gradually and carefully adjust the routine to her child’s inner wiring, preferences, and gifts.

And this, in turn, will help supercharge the child’s motivational habits – encouraging a routine that organically reflects who they are!

It starts with gaining insight and turning inward. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

  1. What am I motivated by? What drives me to do certain things?

  2. What is my child motivated by right now? Am I setting the right expectations?

  3. Are there simple things I can do – like having open conversations, encouraging my child more, or staying positive – to motivate my child in a way they prefer?

Have a think about your own children. Are there ways to energise their motivational habits by taking a ‘personality first’ approach?

Here are a few more ideas that could help boost your child’s drive in a given area:

Excite your child through healthy competition: If they are excited to compete, try to help them understand that competition is about positivity and personal achievement, and not the weakness of others. This may also help them come to terms with losing or not always coming first, which can often feel like a severe blow to their drive.

Engage your child’s doubts or fears: Instead of dismissing their negative feelings, try to engage their fears and explore their conclusions. You can instil a sense of optimism and positive outlook in your child by explaining that success takes time, and that there are steps we can all take to overcome our doubts or setbacks. With a thoughtful plan, your child can see how their efforts can translate into achievement in a more realistic way.

Take an interest, and discover their passions: Consider if certain activities or pursuits are really suitable for your child. Observe their inquisitiveness about the activity, what they’re excited by, and gather honest feedback. This helps you become aware of what they’re really interested in, and have open discussions where they feel comfortable to discuss new passions with you freely. Over time, they’ll learn that investing in a passion requires being able to overcome challenges and learn new skills!!

Of course, there are many more ways to supercharge your child’s motivation. Remember, the above tips will be influenced by your child’s personality to varying degrees. (These are explored in more detail on our platform)

In the end, when it comes to motivation, it’s important to consider what we’re naturally driven by and how we view success in the long run. We’ll always face failures and obstacles along the way, which can also affect how motivated we are! It’s only human.

But, by continually staying curious about your child’s thought process, and what ultimately invigorates them, you’re much better poised to help them reach their goals in a way that makes them feel like you understand them.

And that’s what being a truly connected parent is all about!

Want to see the world through your child’s eyes?

Get your first personalised insight from Connected for free today!


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