Reaching Unmotivated Kids

Reaching Unmotivated Kids

Unmotivated kids struggle in many parts of their lives, and they do not reach their full potential in many of their activities. When parents see the lack of motivation leading to underachievement, they naturally want to intervene and find some way to overcome the lack of motivation. However, helping unmotivated kids is one of the most complex challenges we face as educators and parents. Therefore, giving a quick and easy solution in a blog would be impossible and downright irresponsible.

In 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. Most of these feelings reside at the subconscious level, where they can 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.

Sometimes parents will resort to punishing kids for poor performance, such as for getting bad grades. Because of the underlying causes, this usually backfires. If they are already feeling bad about life, how is making them feel worse about it going to get them motivated to succeed?

At Love and Logic, we have found that the best way to approach lack of motivation and underachievement is by improving relationships, building good character, and helping kids learn to focus on their strengths. For example, as described in my book, From Bad Grades to a Great Life, we believe that chores can be one way to accomplish these goals. Chores will help:

  • Build self-esteem
  • Meet the need to be needed
  • Meet the need for structure and limits
  • Teach perseverance, self-control, and delayed gratification
  • Make schoolwork and homework seem easy

Based on our decades of experience at Love and Logic, we have observed that children who complete real and meaningful chores become more motivated and are far better students than those who don’t.


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Charles Fay



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