Motivating a teenager

Parents often ask me, “How do you get your children to be motivated?” The simple answer is, a happy child wants to do well. There is no need to bribe, persuade or cajole – a happy child wants to keep the status quo of her environment.

I also truly believe that every child started off in life as a happy being. That is the natural state. So full of curiosity, optimism and wonder. It is what we do that shut them down, and we bog them down with our expectations. Sure, children need rules and boundaries, but not parental ambition.

And as someone wise once told me, “The best job for the next generation hasn’t been invented yet.”

I have lived through that. When I was growing up, those who can do medicine, law, dentistry, accountancy, science. Nobody heard of IT. Nobody heard of hedge funds. Yet these two areas provide a world of opportunities for my peers undreamed of by the previous generation.

So we are relaxed about exam grades. However, to our surprise, G loves school. Today, she is marching off into her school happily, looking forward to a good hearty lunch and lessons which she fares well in.

Well, she must really love school, because she turned down our invitation to sit on the beach with us. “I’ll do that on the weekends,” she said. “Not on school days.”

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