Motivational Parenting And The “I Can’t” Woes

Posted on July 27, 2012 · Posted in Parenting

How many times a day do parents hear “I can’t”?

I can’t make my bed because I’ll be late.

I can’t do my algebra homework because it’s too hard.”

I can’t find any clean socks.”

I can’t try out for the team/make the honor roll because I’m not good/smart enough,

And so it goes, on and on in a continuous loop of the “I Can’t” whines; in fact, it seems like there should be a country song that we should call the “I Can’t Woes”.

Motivational ParentingExactly what are parents to do when all they hear is “I can’t”, particularly determining if it’s something the children really can do, or something they simply need help doing.  Giving the child the motivation to turn the “I can’t” woes into the “Hey I Did It” celebrations takes a lot of effort and a huge amount of patience from Motivational Parents.

Start with a practice of turning the “I Can’t” Woes into a reward system when they can achieve.  First, start with the “I can’t make my bed because I’ll be late”.  One way to motivate the child who is late is to motivate them to be early by devising some type of reward system.  For example, if they can’t make their bed because they’ll be late, then the next day, they have to get up 10 minutes earlier so that they have time to make up their bed.  If they go a week getting up earlier and making their bed, they may be rewarded with something that is special for that particular child, such as an extra 10 minutes at the end of the week playing a favorite game.  They say it takes 30 days to create a habit, and if they go a month of rising early and making their bed, then a greater reward is justified, like going to a movie with dad, and a good habit is established.

Next, the “I can’t do my algebra homework because it’s too hard”.  These are two part issues.  Determine if the child is motivated to understand and learn algebra or they simply need help to understand the topic.  Perhaps a tutor is a good solution to this issue because the child is sincerely trying and is just not getting it, and someone else explaining algebraic equations may be able to break it down better.  When they do bring their grade up on that topic and are “Getting” the subject, a special reward is appropriate.  Motivating the student by a reward system can be a good tactic for some children when they need to do better in school.  Just make sure they are not cheating in order to get the better grade because that would require some harsh consequences.

The “I can’t find any clean socks” woe is just a relevant to older males as it is to younger ones of the species. Teaching them where to look for their socks is obvious – “look in your sock drawer” comes to mind, but sometimes they have paid so little attention that they have failed to know there even IS a sock drawer.  Rule Number One with this “I can’t” is do not go find the clean socks for them.  Tell them where to look and make them find the socks – even if that means parents have to explain where the sock drawer is located.  From an early age start teaching them to look for themselves, and apply some logic.

Memory BoosterThe last two “I can’t try out for the team because I’m not good enough” and “I can’t make the honor roll because I’m not smart enough” takes some motivational work on the part of the parents.  If they do have the talent or the brains to do the work, but are too lazy to work for it, then figure out exactly what it would take to motivate them.  Maybe doing some research and finding a sports hero or successful leader who had similar problems at that age and getting them to talk with the child giving them the motivation to because it’s possible to be successful if they work hard enough and apply themselves.

When parents are bombarded with the “I Can’t” Woes, they have to find some means to be Motivational Parents and figure out the best type of incentive that works for the individual child.Natural memory enhancer