Saturday, 24 October 2015

Carrot or Stick?!

‘I just don’t seem to be motivated  to do anything.’ ‘ I don’t have any interests’ are some of the statements made by teens who visit us at the office. Its difficult to have a cookie cut answer as every child is different.

Its no easy task for us parents, especially when teen angst is in evidence.  The children are struggling with so many things at so many levels. Trying to make sense of it all can seem so daunting. Often they ask deep questions like…What’s the point of studying hard and getting the grades to get into the Number 1 University , getting the best job one can get, when we are all going to end up the same way. (At the very end) So why do we need to bother?. 

I kid you not, there are highly intelligent children who ask this in all earnestness. Its not an easy question to answer and each of us have our own interpretation of life and we must be careful how we respond. After all what they are actually asking us is ‘What is the meaning of this existence?’  How many amongst us know the answer to this one.
Or is it sheer laziness from their side which they try to mask by asking  philosophical questions.. just to throw you off?

On paper there are so many strategies and techniques that we are advised to use. There is no set answer or technique. I think in some cases where there is inertia or a lack of motivation, we need to help with some form of external motivation, can be the carrot, can be the stick.  Looking at it positively , this form of  external motivation may lead to children actually starting to make an effort in  activities and enjoying them as well.( I may be kicking up a big storm here with my carrot or stick statement ) But what else can we do when there is no evident intrinsic motivation and one has run out of options.(including the chemical imbalance that comes at puberty) Maybe the stick might just shake things up a bit and in a way  reboot the system. But only when one has run out of all options, in my opinion.

What’s important is to be non judgmental and hear them out without getting into a reactive overdrive. This could just be their way of articulating deep fears within themselves and not really knowing how to communicate this across. Patience and oodles of  love and understanding  and maybe a carrot or a stick  will help us cross this turbulent phase.

Whats your take?

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