Motivation In Children

Are You Bribing Your Kids?

Child Doing HomeworkIf you wish to reduce power struggles with your kids and create motivated kids who do what they are suppose to, then this article is for you!

Bribes don’t work because as any mob boss would tell you, it actually puts the kid (taking the bribe) in the position of power.  Whereas providing the appropriate incentive (as a parent) puts you in the position of authority with the chance to empower your kids to make better choices.

  • Step 1)  As a parent you need to figure out what are the few things that your kid would love to earn and work for.  Those things are called: Privileges.  Then, make sure your kid  doesn’t have free access to those privileges, because he/she needs to EARN them first.

Then, when the time comes when they want such privileges  (like: playing video games or watching a movie), you remind them that those privileges can be earned.

  • Step 2)  As a parent you need to communicate how your kid can earn a privilege. The language should be positive and easy to understand. This puts you in authority and empowers your child to make a good choice. HOW?! Well, here is a magical sentence that works every time!

The Magical Sentence: To provide the right incentive for your kid!

Now that you have established what privileges your kids is working for, the next step is communicating the rules to your kid without getting into any power struggles. I’m going to share a very powerful tool with you. It is basically a simple sentence. This powerful sentence is based on an old, well-known and very effective behavioral principle.  And it looks like this:
 First, _______________  Then, _______________.

For example: “First,  do your homework.  Then, you can play video games for half hour.”

Powerful Motivator

The 5 key factors that make this magical sentence so effective:

  1. It’s concise–short and sweet
  2. It clearly states what is expected from your kid
  3. It is worded in a positive way. Note: it doesn’t say, “if you don’t do your homework, you wont get to play”  That is not as effective or as reinforcing
  4. It is specific.  Not much wiggle room and as a result, not much to argue about
  5. Most importantly, the motivator or the incentive is rewarding to your child (like, playing with video games).

Mother listening to daughterUltimately, children need to learn that they have choices. The choices they make can either result in earned privileges or negative consequences.  For example, if they choose to complete their chores, then they earn a privilege. On the other hand, if they choose to argue with you or hit their sibling, then they have to face the negative consequence of not earning a privilege (or even, losing a privilege).

Remember, as your kids grow, what motivates them today might not motivate them tomorrow.

This is an excerpt from my book “Create Happy Kids” – If you would like to enjoy the entire book, you can purchase it by clicking here.

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