Momma Chel is a contributing writer to this community, as well as a mother raising several children in her expanded family. These are some of her thoughts regarding the subject.

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Motivating Kids

Currently, my 15 year old (yes, he just had his birthday!) is completely unmotivated to do anything at all. The whole household is having a hard time dealing with this. My philosophy has always been, Lead By Example. If my bedroom is a mess, than I cannot expect my childrenís bedrooms to be tidy. If I have never taken the time to show my children how to do a certain task, than I cannot expect them to accomplish the tasks I ask of them. Well, after my son turned 13, I started seeing diminished signs of motivation and immediately jumped on the bandwagon to figure out how to help him through these awkward years. I do have to concede that just leading by example is not enough. I have to strive to be both an example and also a communicator. He is still unmotivated in areas, but I also see improvement in other areas. I acknowledge this and try to keep a positive approach when we discuss it. I did say try, and that means there are times that I fail to approach it positively, but he and I are working it out!

Between the three adults of the house, there have been countless discussions about how to help Little Boom become more motivated in his schoolwork and also towards a resolution on what he would like to do after high school. He is just a freshman, but I say there is no time like the present especially since he has always been a procrastinator. My partners bring their perspectives to the table. Hubby has really been frustrated with Little Boom due to how he was at that age. At 15, hubby was getting up and going to work before school and then returning home after school and going to work. His motivation was money. He wanted to be able to have a vehicle, go out with friends and purchase items he wanted without ever having to ask his parents for money. In trying to apply hubbyís thoughts to our current situation we found that Little Boom doesnít really ask for money and it just is not a motivator for him. He does have chores at home that he completes and as long as heís doing things we ask of him, we tend to give him money for going to the ballgames, going uptown to grab a pop or sometimes, going with friends to the bowling alley instead of just a set allowance per week. He just doesnít do a lot of any one activity so itís really hard to say no when he asks for things so sparingly. We did try saying no to see if this would get us anywhere with him. It didnít. He just became stubborn and didnít do anything, or he would try to talk us into it and then we would try to talk him into seeing the need for him to get motivated enough to find a job - which eventually got us nowhere. Our thinking was that if he found a job, he would become more responsible, aid in his maturity, and would ultimately affect his decision processes. It is very hard for a 14 year old to find a job, at least here in our rural part of the world. What we have done is kept talking about it. Weíre already talking about what he will be doing all summer. He has many ideas about activities or places to go for the summer. I pick up on his excitement over these possibilities and throw in how there needs to be a plan including finances for these excursions. It may make his face scowl but heís realizing that we will not be swayed and also that we are not saying no to his ideas, but rather encouraging him to find a way to do it.

You know, raising kids is a big responsibility; yes, Iíve always known this, but looking back, Iím seeing how it was easier when they were younger and how odd that seems to me. Iím relying more and more on my partners to draw new perspectives on situations I never really thought about when Little Boom was laying there and I was changing his diaper! It also helps me to know that there are people in my life that I can count on when Iím completely frustrated over something with the kids, especially Little Boom as he is the oldest to go through so many first experiences. There are so many things that girlfriend and I disagree on but I value her life experiences because they are so very different than mine. Sometimes she feels like she doesnít have much to offer to the situation at hand, but just by sharing her life experience with me or with Little Boom it helps each of us see a new perspective and to think about how things could be. She can often talk with Little Boom and interestingly, heíll listen more than if it came from old mum or dad. In my mind, this is a useful tool for us to possibly use when dealing with the many situations weíll be in with all the kiddos. To me, it doesnít matter who or what helped motivate Little Boom, itís all about working together to get it done!

Momma Chel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Momma Chel; March 18, 2006

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