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Helping unmotivated kids is one of the most complex challenges we face as educators and parents. Therefore, giving a quick and easy solution in less than 300 words would be impossible…and downright irresponsible.
In approximately 99% of cases, the child's lack of motivation results from far more than simple laziness or a conscious desire to act out. The roots of apathy go far deeper, into feelings of frustration, anger, hopelessness, lack of control, or loss. The majority of these feelings lay at the subconscious level, where they wreak havoc on a child's ability to engage in higher-level thinking tasks, such as sustained attention to detail, problem-solving, memory, perseverance, and self-control.
This is why punishing children for getting bad grades usually backfires. Since they are already feeling bad about life, how is making them feel worse about it going to get them motivated to succeed?
In my award winning book, From Bad Grades to a Great Life, I teach a variety of alternative strategies for getting at the roots of apathy…rather than making it worse with anger, lectures, threats and punishments. At the core of what we teach is the importance of loving kids for who they are…rather than who we want them to be. Yes! The healing process begins when we end the power struggle by saying, "We will love you no matter how well or poorly you do in school. Your grades are your grades…not ours. That's why we are no longer going to fight with you about them. Just let us know how we can help."
Thanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Dr. Charles Fay