From a Guardian Perspective:
Working as a teacher in an IB school for 4 years, where laptops are mandatory for the curriculum, there is a repeated debate of whether this obligatory work on machinery is good or bad for the teenagers. Digital revolution sure has served well when it comes to globalization but the pace with which it has grown is far from our expectation and children are the most suffering party in between all this. There is nothing new about teenagers being distracted, less-disciplined, notorious, less-concerned but there are many new features acting as an unnecessary add-on in the millennial era.
The dominant distractions that today’s children suffer from are peer pressure, Self-Esteem and body image, Alcohol and Drug-Abuse, Cyber Addiction and Depression-most prevalent.
In the age like this, it becomes extremely important for children to have confidence in themselves and stay motivated to do the required- both personally and educationally. The tomorrow is dependent on this youth.
Every parent want their kids to behave morally correct along with them acing the score board. This becomes difficult due to the huge execution gap in the educational system, not many schools are able to see ahead of trigonometry and geometry. Out of so many life and work ethics qualities, paramount is to stay motivated. They may get this from external factors temporarily but to get it intrinsically is important for the long run.
In this critical-competitive world, how else will they realize their worth if they don’t have trust in themselves. We as adults need to help them stay motivated and further running the instinctive wheel of intrinsic motivation in them.
My brother was a distracted child, he grew up with my parents on his neck to do and understand things better but he kept failing. He was looking for motivation and he found that in me and my sister. So we tried as hard to do the necessary. After some years now, he doesn’t need it from us(External factors). His motivation is produced by a self replicating internals which are greased well during his adolescence.
1- Challenge them- One of the truisms of a challenge, whether you win or loose it, is you get a chance to be exposed to an opportunity to showcase your determination and persistent motivation- which proves to be really important to churn the wheel of intrinsic motivation. My 7 year old niece is very good at playing badminton, like unbeatable. My brother shifted her to another coaching class where the instructor took her out of the comfort zone and helped her see her flaws. She ended up crying 2 times in one week but her determination is flourishing.
2- Trust them- Trusting doesn’t mean they will never lie to you- they also lie due to being unaware/overestimating your reaction, it just means, trust that they will come around after understanding the reasons behind your proclaims. They might be thrashed by consequences however until and unless it is not life threatening, you shouldn’t meddle in it.
3- Let them make mistakes- In my teenage-time being an attention deficit- child, I did some pretty mean things to join a cool gang who eventually ended up dumping and doing mean things to me. I learned the importance of real friends and to be nice to people, that learning guided me in all these years. Today, I sure am embarrassed about my actions but because I was taught mistakes are inevitable, I can own my learning which further saved me the depression of that mistake. So teach them to make mistakes which will further eradicate fear from them, also making them risk takers.
4- Be patient- If you keep loosing your patience every-time they make a blunder, sooner or later they will loose their motivation as they reflect upon themselves through your eyes. Ironically, we want our kids to be serious about their commitments from Day 1, completing forgetting about the lack of motivation you have every-morning before hitting/missing the gym.
5- Role Modelling- You want them to develop intrinsic motivation because somewhere you know it becomes an important skill in leading a more meaningful life. But children don’t learn from just information and facts, they learn by examples. If they have people around them who are motivated in their lives, they automatically see the pros of it in the life quality and get inclined to achieve it for themselves.
6- Nudge and don’t nag- You can’t get children to stay motivated or be motivated or develop motivation by saying it 100 times a day, that will actually drive them far away from it. Connecting back to trust, if the seed is in them, then trust your efforts and wait/hope for the show to take a good climax.
7- Be a story teller- Out of the many different influential stories, one that was told to me by a dear teacher was the story of a tortoise and rabbit during my adolescence. Famous as it is, it became a touchstone of my life. Honestly the thing is, I am a slow but a definite learner and that annoyed me for quiet some time competing inevitably against the scholars. But that story kept me in check and also guided me to be less critical about my pace and continue to hustle. Learning from stories is a life-time thing, hence please go and grab a book.
8- Good Cop, Bad Cop- Nurturing with a combination of firmness and love is the necessary. You can’t always be loving even if they keep pressing the buttons, that gives them an impression that they can push you around. Play this game of acting as good cop/bad cop is really helpful, all while not forgetting that it is a play-character that you are deputing. The purpose is for them to understand the importance of motivation and discipline and not feeding your ego.
9- Interest in the learning- If they are motivated to learn a foreign language or develop a video game, both of which looking extremely ridiculous and useless to you, still take interest in their learning. Not nodding, but actually listening and becoming their language buddy or pressing that X button on the remote-control and encouraging them to resolve the flaws of the game.
10- More routine and less confusion- I can’t emphasis more on how important it is to have a routine, liberal or compact is secondary, just have a structure for them to have time to find motivation. Develop a mutually discussed routine rather than enforcing your notions on them.
Trial and error is part of fostering and nurturing children. Something that did wonder for one doesn’t necessary apply to another, you need to be open for that. With the progression from a smaller community to a more wider one, they are expected to get vulnerable, help them channel that energy and cut them some slack.