• I hear concerns from parents, on both ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, who worry about their children lacking motivation or the desire to pursue their studies or a career. It often leads to frustration and parents wondering what they did wrong that their children aren’t as as hungry for success as they were. Parents who are successful might spoil their children, because they don’t want them to suffer or go through difficulties they endured. As a result, their children may develop a sense of entitlement or become lazy because everything has come to them with little or no effort. They learn that they do not have to work to achieve things, to no fault of their own, because that is what they were taught.On the other hand, I see parents who come from a lower socioeconomic class, who are concerned that their children will “think small” or feel limited in regards to what goals they can achieve. They feel guilty that they cannot afford to provide them the tools they need to be successful. Often becoming so obsessed with preventing their children from feeling deprived that they go overboard to compensate for those deficiencies. Thus, providing a false sense of realiy. The result is that both ends of the spectrum are unhealthy.
    Once you’ve provided for your children’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, etc., your focus should be on fostering an environment where your children can achieve their true potential. They’ll never get there if they don’t have the necessity to figure it out for themselves. Always assure them that you will provide a safety net but that you are not going to hold their hand their entire life. Otherwise, they’ll be limited by what you believe they can achieve versus discovering their true potential as a result of their own intrinsic motivation.
    Practically speaking, no one wants to see their children suffer. But there’s a fine line between suffering and teaching them a good work ethic. Some people call it tough love. But parents need to learn how to say “No” to their children. Otherwise, you’re creating false expectations of being successful without hm having to put in the discipline and effort needed to get there. The sooner they learn the cause and effect of discipline and hard work the better off they’ll be.
    In this case, necessity is the mother of motivation. To teach them that they have to earn what they get, as a parent, you have to do your job and stick to your guns if they don’t deserve something. As much as it might feel painful in the short run. You have to focus on how they will benefit in the future. I’m sick of seeing parents who know what’s the right thing to do but simply give in because they’re tired or it’s easier to placate their children. I know it’s hard to see your children struggle and try to figure things out for themselves. But that’s the key to good parenting to prevent problems later on down the road.
    In my house, my children know they have to earn things. We’ve gone through financial turmoil, with periods of being financially secure, to times where money was very tight. But all along, I was to be consistent to make sure that I kept a stable reward system intact that reflects the real world. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor. You’re doing your children an injustice if you provide them with a false sense of reality. Simply because you can’t assure them that you’ll be there forever to guarantee it. Plus they’ll learn to search and wait for handouts instead of thinking how they can achieve it on their own.
    Regardless of your socioeconomic status, your job is to find a happy medium where you keep your children in check so they value the effort needed to achieve success. Rewarding good behavior and holding them accountable for their behaviors, will teach them consequences and build their confidence towards independence. Hence, their success or failure is a result of their behavior and not a result of your interference or laxness in enforcing the rules. So, how do you foster independence and assure that your children are hungry for success? It’s simple! Create an appetite, but don’t overfeed them!