I want to share a recent conversation with y’all between me and my 10-year-old son, Cory.
Cory: I got a piece of candy yesterday at school because I got an A on something.
Me: What kind of candy?
Cory: Smarties. I’ve decided that I’m not taking the candy anymore. Next time I’m gonna say, “No thx”.
Me: Oh really. Smarties ARE kinda like the grossest candy – I mean spring for a Reeses and now we're talkin, right?
Cory: Ya, it probably makes the people that don’t get candy feel bad and not smart because everyone knows who got the A’s and who didn’t. Plus it’s hard to enjoy the candy when it seems like you’re rubbing it in their face that you got the candy and they didn’t.
Me: Good point.
Cory: Plus, who needs the candy when you already got the A. It feels so good when the teacher gives you back that test where you know you worked hard and got the grade you earned.
Me: Ya, that’s why I teach parents that rewards like candy are not only unnecessary but actually end up doing the opposite of what most parents hope to accomplish. Parents want their kids to work hard and to be successful.
When you give rewards like candy or money, it trains kids to only want to push themselves if there is a reward waiting for them at the finish line and they stop focusing on the amazing feeling they get from working hard and feeling successful.
Cory: Ya, but money would be nice.
Me: Ha! True.
*Bottom line: External rewards sabotage intrinsic motivation.
Stop bribing and rewarding your kids to get them to succeed and achieve. There is a better way to motivate humans to strive for success.
It's really simple.
Listen and say VERY little.
Don’t correct or add on a lesson.
Ask your kids if they are happy with their grade.
If the answer's yes, say, “Awesome. Way to go and give it all you’ve got.”
Most of the time, they will come back with ways they could have actually worked harder.
Listen again and say VERY little.
That’s the thing with kids, when we stop pushing and pressuring, they become intrinsically motivated and tend to rise to the occasion.
How many times have we heard the story of the over the top parents living vicariously through their kids - pressuring them to achieve the parent's forgotten dreams?
Ya, that story never ends well.
Versus, the kid with the "raised by wolves" existence going on to accomplish amazing things without any parental encouragement or support.
For most of us, it's not that dramatic - in either direction.
We just want our kids to live a good life and not to have to struggle financially.
I doubt you’ll be disappointed when you allow your kids to be driven by intrinsic motivation by ditching the external rewards.
I KNOW your kids will be thrilled and relieved when you remove the pressure of your expectations weighing on their shoulders and they will begin to push themselves.
Let’s save a pressured existence for adulthood. Don’t ya think?
P.S. Calling all parents that are truly READY to replace yelling and tension with smiles and connection in your home...
We are going to make some magic in November. Apply now if you are ready to change patterns and take ACTION.