Can the motivation techniques used in business and sport be applied to children? This is the question explored by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer in her book ‘Motivating Your Child’.
Offering advice on giving their children encouragement to succeed at school and in life generally, this book discusses different motivational styles, and everyday problems such as managing homework, peer pressure, stress and lack of confidence.
What is motivation? It is a subject that has been investigated extensively in relation to adults in the fields of business and sport, but not much in relation to children, yet we all respond to similar motivators. We all like success, respect and admiration, but how do we help our children to become self-motivated. The ‘holy grail’ of motivation is to find out how to persude your child do something for the pure pleasure of doing it, and to give them the chance to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment without competition.
I must be honest with you; this is no easy read for a doughy-brained new mum. The book begins with a discussion of the accepted theories of motivation based on the business and sport models. Next up comes some possibly uncomfortable self-analysis. As parents are we trying to motivate our children for the right reasons? Are we fooling ourselves that our attempts to push our children are because we truly want our children to fell the pleasure of success, or because we want to bask in the reflected glory?
There is much helpful advice on how to effectively praise and reward your child. Many successful people have contended with failure before they achieve their goal, and the book covers how to make your child comfortable with failure, and to ensure that they are not so discouraged with a task that they give up at this point rather than working through it. Most importantly it reminds us that your child should always know that your love is not dependent on their success, and will not be withdrawn in the event of failure.
There is also advice on understanding when an apparent drop in motivation is due to genuine loss of interest or other factors in a child’s life such as stress caused by family situation, bullying or illness.
Motivation techniques from business and sport can indeed be adapted to use with children with great success. This book would be useful not only for parents to read but would also be valuable for teachers who would like to get a different perspective on motivating their pupils.
You can find Motivating Your Child now at Amazon.co.uk
In the US an edited version is available as Raising a Self-Starter: Over 100 Tips for Parents and Teachers and is available from Amazon.com. Find Raising a Self-starter at Amazon.co.uk