12 July 2012

Motivation: A Changing Target for Children

Food, food, and more food ... in Patrick's early days, this was a solid motivator.  He motivated us to feed him very effectively those first few months.

Then, he learned that certain actions got a certain response from his father ... and, repeating these actions got more response.  I would make faces at the dinner table and his laughter and clapping would encourage more interaction.

Later, as he developed he learned the value of certain actions got positive verbal response and clapping ... and, again he learned to repeat these actions.

These learned responses are the beginning of a pattern I can see where we have to be aware at all times of what is motivating him.  Is it food, toys, activities?  These will change and evolve over time ... eventually, the goal is for him to develop his own internal motivation to do the "right thing" simply because it is the right thing to do.

This moving target of motivation is a learning curve for me as a father and one in which I find myself thinking back to what I believe motivated me when I was younger.  And, yes ... it is difficult to remember that far back.

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