Title: Motivating Our Children for Success in School and Life
Category: Positive Parenting
In motivating our children for success throughout their school years and
throughout life, we must first build a solid parent-child relationship.
This relationship begins with providing them with unconditional love.
In other words, we love them despite all the little things they may do
that upset us and we love them under all circumstances and at all times.
We do hundreds of things for them without second thought such as getting
them the proper school clothes and tuition for sports or art activities of their
interest. We shuttle them back and
forth to these sports events or piano lessons and generally provide for all of
their many sundry needs as they are growing up without complaining.
Mothers usually end up doing this and it is usually a labor of love
because they want to provide as much as they can for their child.
One of the best ways in building a solid parent-child relationship is to
share special time with each child. By
special time, I mean, time doing things that the child enjoys and ideally
something that the child and parent enjoy sharing together.
These activities are great for building closeness and good communication
between parent and child. This may
be something different for each individual child and usually is.
In our family, our oldest daughter loves watching movies and reading good
books. My wife and I have enjoyed
sharing many great mysteries and reading books to and with her since she was an
infant. Now as a teenager we can
watch more complex thought provoking movies together and really enjoy them with
her. Our second daughter gets super
charged over plays, music, camp and Girl Scouts. Fortunately, her mother and I also love sharing these things
with her. Finally, our youngest, a
son, loves sports with a passion. My
wife and I have enjoyed immensely the many laughs and lasting memories shared
with him over the past few years at LSU football and basketball games, Saint's
games and Sugar Bowls and best of all neighborhood pick-up games.
I believe the sacrifice of our time (I've played a lot less golf in the
last fifteen years) is well worth the lifelong memories and bonds made with our
three children through these activities.
A second good way to motivate our children is by being good role models.
If we are good readers and are active and involved in our profession, our
church, and our community, our children will follow our example in their school
work and in their involvement in all the other aspects of their life.
A third way to motivate our children is to emphasize learning for the joy
and importance of learning's sake and not to get carried away with grades.
We should teach our children to do their reasonable best but not push
them to always make straight "A's" or feel like they have to be
perfect in everything they pursue. Life
is like a marathon run with a burning torch.
If we run so fast that our torch burns out before the race ends we really
don't win the race. Likewise,
school children pushed to achieve at an overly stressed pace will develop
learning and emotional problems. Certainly
we are seeing this much more today in America than ever before.
For this reason the American Academy of Pediatrics is against formal
preschool reading and math programs, baby exercise programs and any formally
structured organized classes which push children to achieve ahead of their age
appropriate developmental levels.
The fourth important way of motivating our children is to express to them
positive realistic expectations. As
parents we are like a mirror to our children.
We must be careful to mirror the best in our children as they read us for
expectations of their potential. If
we believe in them and their ability to be good students with a fine character
and special unique talents, they will try hard to live up to everything they
can. Unfortunately they will also
fulfill negative expectations if we label them
"dumb, lazy, bad, clumsy, etc.". For this reason we must be careful not to send out negative
expectations. Finally, if we expect
too much of our children, in other words, unrealistic expectations, they may be
over-stressed and find failure and discouragement because of the inability to
come close to what we are expecting of them.
This unfortunately is seen in too many families who are
sports, academics, arts or any other field.
Remember to allow each child to be their own unique self and build on
their God-given talents even if those talents happen to be very different from
those of the parents.