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aspiecat
07-13-2014, 08:15 AM
One of the things that worries and frustrates me - at times needlessly - is my DS's motivation. Or lack thereof. I know that kids in general can find it difficult to be motivated to do anything much that doesn't directly benefit them - especially as teens, when they are beginning to want independence and confuse that search with being douchebags.

My DS has had issues with motivation from a very young age, and a lot of that is being an Aspie. If there was no obvious goal, why do something? For instance, he could never see the point in attending dance and drama classes, but he saw the sense in being involved in musicals, as the productions at the end of all the rehearsals were the obvious goal. Simply attending classes to perhaps or perhaps not perform as some end of year concert was not defined enough for him and, therefore, pointless.

It has been the same with his education. Simply learning something - what is the point? he would ask. I would have to agree with his questioning, but I would always explain that you learn this so you can learn that, then you can learn the other. Still, it all seemed pretty vague and pointless to him. He'd still do the work - he enjoyed it, and that has always been a lucky thing.

He now has motivation. Something clicked - his maturity level has increased to the point where he realises he has to find his own motivation and not have it supplied, or perhaps the thing that has motivated him is just what he needed - maybe it's a combination of things.

Anyone else have older kids who are just finding motivation in some way? Whether it be in their homeschooling, or anything else in their lives...?

Aspie

dbmamaz
07-13-2014, 09:33 AM
no, I'm jealous. My multi-dx kid still has no real motivation. We spent a lot of the last year with me discovering he'd been lying about doing his work and me blowing up (but I'm add enough to not be able to keep up w monitoring him).

He is now actually very fearful/anxious about starting community college, which MAY be contributing to his lack of any motivation. We also finally dropped all of his heaviest class of meds, and he's fallen in to his sisters sleep pattern - cant fall asleep before midnight and can sleep to noon if I let him. When he was on the meds, they knocked him out by 10 at the latest and he was generally up by 8.

I'm really, really hoping community college is motivating for him - he is, after all, more extroverted than the rest of us. But even when I told him to make a list of the courses for his first semester, and the section options - he only got through half of them before he needed a break, because it stressed him out too much.

His sister was completely self-motivated by at 15, and my youngest is slightly better than he is already. I really do worry. I hope that with an appropriately structured job he can be successful even without motivation. In fact, thats why I was hoping for some sort of tech-support job for him - helping people motivates him. Always did for me, too - i didnt give a crap about having a job until I had kids and I needed to take care of them

aspiecat
07-13-2014, 09:46 AM
I feel for you, Cara. The thing with some kids is that certain disorders can contribute to not being ABLE to become motivated, because there is nothing they've found yet that has become a goal worth striving for. Just "because" is not enough for them.

What really gets me is that people with motivated kids have NO idea what it's like to wage war with lack of motivation in children. I recall never being truly motivated to do much in life childhood and teen years...I just did what I had to do out of fear (ie, retribution at home if I didn't do well).

Then again, is the Motivated Child a rarity? Are our kids really more common than we think?

groovymom2000
07-13-2014, 10:16 AM
Mine is just now beginning to be motivated to do things that don't have an immediate/tangible end-goal. I brought the hammer down pretty hard at the end of last year in regards to this one--he can do the work, and I expect him to do it well. College has begun to seem somewhat real to him, and he is beginning to understand that although he'd like to just take the SAT/ACT and go ahead and go, he really isn't prepared to do that yet, and must do certain things to get there. But it's a one step forward, two steps back thing...:^o):

MrsLOLcat
07-13-2014, 10:56 AM
Yup, my son is the same way. I was frustrated for years thinking that he would never find anything he wanted to do and I was going to have to lead him by the hand forever… and fight him for most of it. Well, he had stuff he wanted to do, but he refused to actually DO it. He wanted to build something… he wouldn't DO it. Things like that. But in the last 6-9 months, he's finally coming around. I'm so, so grateful. He still won't do certain things unless he feels he has all the abilities and knowledge and tools at hand - improvising is not his thing, apparently - but he's DOING it. So that makes me happy.

aspiecat
07-13-2014, 11:35 AM
The "wanting to do something but refusing to actually DO it" - ayup! Been there, done that, created the You Tube video...well, not the last, but perhaps I ought to.

homegirl
07-13-2014, 11:47 AM
I was "motivated" to do schoolwork when I was a preteen/teen because I had a horrible home life. I did whatever it took to get out of the house or be left alone. Studying and extracurricular activities helped me achieve that. I could study at the library or a friend's house, and if I was at home reading or working on something my parents usually left me alone. In high school, mock trial practice, speech club, and campus news also ensured that I'd be gone for large chunks of time. I saw going to college as a way to get away from my parents. If I had a happier childhood, I don't know that I would have been so "motivated." My daughter, at age 7, is a million times happier than I ever was at her age, and also a lot more "unmotivated" than I was. She knows she doesn't need to get good grades in order for me to love her or do schoolwork to have personal space, as was the case when I was growing up. I wonder what will motivate her in positive ways, as I have only personal experience with negative ways.

hockeymom
07-13-2014, 11:47 AM
I've worried recently here that my normally very motivated kid is losing his motivation, even for things he has had much success and enjoyment in (like running, which he's all but given up on this year). We are cracking down hard, because the gentle approach doesn't seem to work and being lazy isn't going to cut it. I'm following this thread hoping there's a light at the end of this dark tunnel!

aspiecat
07-13-2014, 01:20 PM
homegirl - it's interesting what you suggest about motivation. Your story is not the first I have heard of its kind; I know of several people who had unhappy childhoods and used their studies or sport as a way to avoid home and hopefully leave it as soon as possible.

However, although I had an unhappy childhood, I was never motivated to do anything much at all. I was academically capable, but in senior high school struck roadblocks in my learning, and there was no-one to help me. Both at home and at school I was dreadfully unhappy. What is more, it was just expected that I would be the one to stay home and look after my parents until they died whereas my sister would be the high-flyer. And she was...still is!

It never occurred to me to escape home life through study - perhaps I needed someone to point it out to me, or to see examples of it around me.

I am glad you found a way out of a childhood that was not good for you, homegirl. As for your daughter, it's somehow bitter-sweet, I suppose, to see her lack of motivation, as you know she is happy at home. Thing is, motivation can be found via positive means. My DS has managed it and believe you me...if he can - any kid can.

Aspie

MrsLOLcat
07-13-2014, 03:27 PM
I did whatever it took to get out of the house or be left alone. Studying and extracurricular activities helped me achieve that. I could study at the library or a friend's house, and if I was at home reading or working on something my parents usually left me alone. In high school, mock trial practice, speech club, and campus news also ensured that I'd be gone for large chunks of time. I saw going to college as a way to get away from my parents.

I understand this as well!! I was in band, had two jobs, hung out at friends' houses, etc. I never did housework, but I was never home, and if I was, I was closeted away in my room studying or talking with friends on the landline, because of course cell phones weren't a big thing back in those days. Being motivated to escape is a big boost.

dbmamaz
07-13-2014, 03:51 PM
What drives me nuts is things like the recent article making the rounds on my fb - kids with more unstructured time are better at setting and reaching goals. Mmm, yeah, maybe thats in part because parents of entirely unmotivated kids know that if they give that kid unstructured time - they will do absolutely nothing. Before electronics, he would whine about being bored all the time, follow me around the house whining.

Avalon
07-13-2014, 09:26 PM
I'm starting to get confused about motivation now. Motivated to do what? Schoolwork, or anything at all? My kids are rarely motivated to do school work, but they are usually cooperative and at least somewhat interested once I get them going. Sometimes they're very interested, but certainly not every day.

Do you mean something to do with being self-starters? Both my kids will start projects or invite friends over or organize things on their own steam, but not all the time, mainly when the mood strikes them.

One of my chief complaints about being the stay-at-home homeschooling parent is that I'm the one who has to be the driving force being everything. If I don't get up, get organized and light fires under everyone's butts, then nothing happens around here.

dbmamaz
07-13-2014, 11:27 PM
My kids dont initiate anything. They dont try to keep in touch with friends, they dont ask to go places, they dont do projects. They are reasonably compliant when I make them do things, but the ONLY things they WANT to do are things on the computer. and esp now that I'm taking 2 online courses, and after spending 18 mo in pain w the knee issue and not standing more than absolutely necessary . . . i'm afraid thats mostly what they do when I'm not MAKING them do school or chores

ejsmom
07-14-2014, 12:13 AM
I have a kid who will get himself up, dressed, fed, and get chores out of the way so he can meetup with homeschool kids from our groups in classes, field trips, or social outings. I'm counting myself fortunate, right now. When he has nowhere to go, then he's not motivated to do much but be on the iPad, computer, or Wii, or read. He does like to go outside and practice throwing a ball into a bucket, or ride his bike, or work on scooter and skateboard tricks, and he will ask to go to the library, or take a walk, or go to the park. He has started sleeping in, but he gets himself dressed as soon as he's up, eats breakfast, and goes outside to see what the day is like. I have a kid that likes to keep busy. He is cranky when he doesn't have things to do. But after a busy period, he likes to then take time for quiet down time at home. I'm a lot like that, too.

I've always been fairly strict about getting up, make your bed, get dressed, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, clean up the kitchen, start a load of laundry - those kinds of routines, though. He really, really needed that structure when he was struggling with ASD, and it kept me sane and our house running smoothly for all the therapists that came to work with him. Maybe on a Saturday or Sunday when dh is home and I can sleep in, but overall we have never been ones to homeschool in our PJ's all day. We aren't indoors or at home enough for that.

aspiecat
07-14-2014, 03:19 PM
Avalon - for the purposes of this thread, I am talking about the motivation to choose a pathway, whether it's going to be enjoyable or not, to achieve a particular goal. So if they want to win a talent show, they choose whatever they are going to do, they organise a place to practise, they rehearse...all with the talent show in mind. Or perhaps they want to pass a particular test. They go over their notes from the relevant lessons, they study and study until they feel they know the information, they ask a parent to test their knowledge...all with doing well on the test in mind. Or maybe they join a theatre group and get a speaking part in a play, and ensure they go over their lines every day...all with the production in mind.

It's not so much having something for which to strive, it's having that something and knowing that even if they have to be given a rubric of some sort, they will do what it takes to reach that something. This is something that my DS has never had, I believe, even though it's appeared to be so. He would want to be in a talent show, would sign up for it, but not choose a song, and certainly not practise. I would have to sit with him, giving him songs he might want to sing until he'd choose something, then would ensure he'd practise each day, then he'd be in the talent show...and would be so pleased he'd do well. Or he'd have a test and not study for it until the night before because it was to him like homework, and even then he'd say "But I don't know HOW to study" (still does not).

Etc., etc.

Now, he has a goal, and as he's set it totally himself, and I have told him what he needs to do to achieve this goal, he is "happy" to travel that path. I am hoping it's the start of knowing that when there is something you want, the path to get it might not be fun or even positive all the time, but it will hopefully get you there.

Aspie

homegirl
07-14-2014, 08:05 PM
That is very cool, Aspie! It is wonderful that your son is starting to develop more motivation through realizing what he can accomplish through goal-setting. And thank you for the kind words about my sucky childhood. I'm sorry you went through your share of that too, Mrs. LOLcat. :(

I've been wondering for some time now if there is a way to demonstrate the "bigger picture" of why kids need to learn to set goals and take ownership of some of the stuff they depend on parents for. I've been looking for something that is a cross between the board game "The Game of Life" and the kind of roleplaying we did (and still do sometimes) when my daughter was little, like playing house, store, bank, etc. With maybe an allowance thrown in for extra fun and realism? Maybe it's good to practice being a grown-up? We have pretended to be backyard archeologists, stuffed animal veterinarians, and play-doh chefs. Maybe we could pretend to be bill-paying grown-ups? I found this ESL roleplay called "The Game of Life" (http://www.nc-net.info/ESL/Fayetteville/The_Game_of_Life.doc). It's for grown-ups, but I would like to find something similarly fun and informative for kids.

ejsmom
07-14-2014, 10:13 PM
Homegirl, maybe you want to try a real life experience? We had great success with it. When ds was 9 or 10 he wanted a fish tank - just idly dreaming out loud. I had spent a fortune on a tank and supplies for his hermit crabs (it's like a 30 gallon tank), so I told him he could have one, but he had to pay for it, plan it, and take care of it. He had 2 little water frogs in a little cube tank like they sold at Hallmark stores for awhile years ago, and he wanted a bigger tank for them (10 gallon) and fish, too. I told him it would "count" as a year long school project. There was math, science, consumer education, etc.

He researched on his own the best conditions for the frogs, and which fish would be able to live in those conditions. He studied how to set up and care for a fish tank, and what equipment he would need. He shopped around online for the average prices of a tank, filter, light, gravel, fish, food, net, aerator, plants, water testing kits - all the stuff he would need. He did extra chores for cash, in addition to his allowance. He asked for gift cards for a pet store for his birthday and Christmas. He offered to weed for the neighbors and relatives. It took him 9 months, but he saved enough money, and by then he was knowledgeable and had a plan. I really didn't feel the need for a fish/frog tank in the house, but he learned so much from the process. He learned to set a goal, how to research, how to plan, how to work for it, how to wait for it, how to make it happen. It was a fantastic learning experience on many levels. He still cares for his fish tank with pride and is a responsible pet owner. It reassured me about his future, because I know some adults who can't set a goal, make a plan, follow through, and achieve it. I figure if he can do that, we're on our way.

Aspie - what you describe with your son, prior to now, could be related to the development of executive functioning being at a different than typical pace. Sounds like he'll be fine!

Avalon
07-15-2014, 01:39 AM
Well, then, Aspie, I don't think my son is particularly self-motivated at all, but to me it just looks like an issue of maturity. He's almost 12, but he's still very much a kid who is interested in playing. He's not really setting long-term goals or working towards things. He doesn't have any academic goals at all. The only thing he's worked consistently on is Tae Kwon Do, and that's just a matter of attending class 2 or 3 times a week. Within about 2 more years, he'll have his black belt. It's not so much him planning & striving for it, it will just happen if he carries on doing what he's doing.

On the other hand, my daughter makes plans. She has always had projects and parties and events in mind, and she'll plan and organize and decorate and do whatever it takes to bring her vision into reality. She is totally self-motivated. I think she's the reason why I've always had one foot in the unschooling camp - I can just let her go and she'll do stuff. My son won't. He'll just sit there re-reading the same comic book for 2 weeks and begging to play Angry Birds some more. He benefits from being in her sphere of influence. He gets dragged into a lot of projects because he's there and she needs a helper, but he rarely thinks things up himself.

I figure the world needs all kinds, so I'm not sweating it.

Starkspack
07-15-2014, 05:36 AM
Maybe we could pretend to be bill-paying grown-ups?

I still do this. ;)

dbmamaz
07-15-2014, 09:05 AM
Avalon, I loved your post! My daughter was also totally self-motivated, and when the two oldest were young, she would usually come up with things to keep her brother busy . . . playing pretend, building pillow forts, whatever. It was awesome. I keep telling Orion I'm sure he'll figure out what he wants to do eventually . . . i mean, I did. It took long time . .. and truthfully my 10 yo IS more motivated and self-directed than his older brother. I just worry so much about Orion. I want him to find a place where he can use his talents to help others and where he's valued for his sweetness . ..

halfpint
07-15-2014, 05:33 PM
My whole life, I've been very motivated by certain things but utterly useless for others - for me it falls into "doing" vs. "making".

I am totally motivated to make things, even if it takes several frustrating attempts. Anything that ends in a product, I WILL master. Recipes, craft projects, sewing, even fixing the sink or roof.

Learning to do things (skills) - I'm pathetic. I loved being on sports teams as a kid, but totally lacked the motvation to practice and get better individually, I just liked going to practice and being social. I want to play the violin, but lack any motivation to, you know, practice. Want a better trained dog, but can't be bothered to actually train the dog. The list goes on...

In my college careert I would have A's and F's on the same report card - if I thought it was useful/interesting/liked the teacher, I'd rock it. If I thought the class was stupid, I'd bomb it. Eventually I learned to withdraw from classes and find a different instructor or class BEFORE getting stuck with the bad grade :P

aspiecat
07-15-2014, 06:39 PM
My whole life, I've been very motivated by certain things but utterly useless for others - for me it falls into "doing" vs. "making".

I am totally motivated to make things, even if it takes several frustrating attempts. Anything that ends in a product, I WILL master. Recipes, craft projects, sewing, even fixing the sink or roof.

Learning to do things (skills) - I'm pathetic. I loved being on sports teams as a kid, but totally lacked the motvation to practice and get better individually, I just liked going to practice and being social. I want to play the violin, but lack any motivation to, you know, practice. Want a better trained dog, but can't be bothered to actually train the dog. The list goes on...

In my college careert I would have A's and F's on the same report card - if I thought it was useful/interesting/liked the teacher, I'd rock it. If I thought the class was stupid, I'd bomb it. Eventually I learned to withdraw from classes and find a different instructor or class BEFORE getting stuck with the bad grade :P

When DS was about to enter 8th grade, he went back to regular school. The only one that was even halfway decent was the local Catholic high school - both public high schools (in Australia, high school starts at grade 7, straight after primary school) had such a horrible reputation for violence - and he did well in subjects where the teachers were clearly passionate and engaged the students, and struggled in subjects where the teachers were clearly uninterested.

I think it's a common-enough situation, and leads me to wonder how ANY students see past lack-lustre teachers and motivate themselves to do well. I guess that some just DO.

Aspie