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For Parents Motivation for non-gym work. Need some parental guidance.

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Nov 3, 2008
Region IV (Missouri)
While a little off-topic for this forum, I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

As parents, what tactics do you use to motivate your sons and daughters to complete NON-Gym tasks. Such as, family and educational obligations?

I've always been taught that obligations are just that. Things we HAVE to do, even if we don't like them. As such, obligations aren't rewarded, but rather, expected. We reward when they go above and beyond and provide encouragement to get there. On the other hand, failure to complete the task is often met with 'dire consequences'. Is this the best approach? Is it the ONLY approach? I.E. "Do it, and you won't be punished?"

I'm a fan of positive motivation, not scare tactics. But I'm having a hard time thinking of anything that would encourage without resulting in - call it was it is - bribery, or something dire.

So what encouragement do you provide to say: keeping ones room picked up to the point of a least seeing the floor, doing as mom asks, WHEN she asks? Getting your homework done properly and on time?

I know this is a very open-ended question, and it's meant to be that way.

For example:
Recently DD and DW had a little spat about "fairness". Mom asked her to put away dishes, DD ignored several requests up until mom 'lost it'. Then of course, it was "so unfair". I had to intervene as usual.

On this occasion, I had DD sit and write down everything she could think of that Mom does for her. When she was done, she had to write a second list of things she did for mom. Obviously her list was much shorter and took three times longer to complete. I wanted her to see for herself that until HER list was equal or longer then Mom's list, then her argument of "fairness" would always be unfounded, and truly unfair. Was this Motivational, or punishing? DW and I are on opposite sides of the question.

Another example: DD also hates math homework. I for one can't blame her, as it wasn't my favorite either. But if anyone has ideas how to teach her that just knuckling down, and get-r-done is better then stalling, whining, and beating herself up -- I'm all ears. (or eyes I guess in this case.)

Again, a very open-ended and ambigious question for sure. I'm just looking for new ideas and tactics. And...perhaps allowing me to vent a bit too.

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I don't have anything new to offer either. I liked the method you used to prove your point. Very reasonable in my opinion, but you never know exactly how those little minds are processing. It sounded like something my husband would have tried. A bit of psychology.

Now, so far with my two old enough to bump heads children (the other two are still too young to argue back) I have to handle them differently. My DD (also the gymie) I have to poke and prod along, she does respond very well to a reward system and positive reinforcement but loses focus of the task at hand SOOO easy. My older, 11 yr old, DS on the other hand those darn rewards systems don't work so well for him. We do have to press the "dire consequence" button in order to see results. How to get him to see that we don't have to go that route if he just buckles down and as you put it, git-r-done, I have yet to figure out for myself either. I'll be eager to hear what this thread reveals.

Meanwhile I definitely think you are on the right track with your reasoning it out approach with your DD and fairness earlier.


Former Admin
Gold Membership
Former Gymnast
Feb 26, 2007
I have to say I am a tough cookie when it comes to parenting. I was a childrens nanny for years before I had my own kids, so I honed my skills on other people's kids!:D:eek:

I do not reward school achievments, I tell them that they should be able to feel proud of their acheivments. I give them praise for work done well. If they slack off I just have to give the "that" look ( Known as the hairy eyeball in our house)

Same goes for the house, if they get told to do a job they just have to do it. I do not offer rewards as it is motivating for some kids but not for others, they just have to do stuff to be part of the family.

If I feel as a group they are dropping the ball, we have a family meeting and I lay down the law again. If one of them is slacking I will have an individual meeting to remind them of their commitment to the family, it always works more than getting mad.

Occasionally I'll have a good yell at them, it's normal and they will not die from it! I am definitely the authoritarian in the house, but we also have a ton of fun too, a good balance you know.

I think very clear expectations with not too much flip flopping on rules along the way. DO not ever give in to whining, if your answer isn't yes or no then feel free to say maybe, that's fine.

Consistency is very important with kids as is routine and scheduling. Parents should be in control and they should not be their kids best friend, that is not parenting.

I still have a great relationship with 6, now adults, of the kids I was a nanny too and I was strict with them too.

Maybe it's the Mary Poppins syndrome???

Just my humble opinion of course.
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