What happens when your goals for your child and their goals for themselves differ?

Shelley is a mum of three. She is a senior leader in her organisation and is extremely driven to achieve the goals she sets for herself. Her tween daughter on the other hand is not driven in the same way and this frustrates Shelley. Her best efforts to motivate her daughter to set goals and continually improve in her musical instrument has resulted in her daughter feeling resentment, resistance and now thinking of giving up playing her instrument.

Through coaching, Shelley realised that her drive to achieve goals is based on a fear to be someone of significance, which underpinned her desire for her daughter to achieve goals and also be someone of significance. I asked Shelley if her daughter is significant right now and if she would be any more or less significant based on her goal achievement. She replied, “of course not, she is significant to me regardless.” Shelley had a breakthrough in recognising she had been projecting her fears onto her daughter. Furtherstill, she realised she was exhausted providing the motivation for her daughter to continue with her music. Through breaking her own attachment to achieving goals and changing her focus to pursuing goals for progress rather than significance, Shelley is now allowing her daughter to build her own motivation for her goals. Both are happier as a result.

People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning.

~ W Edwards Deming

When fear underpins your goals for your child, this projection can result in your child developing motivation to please you rather than achieving a goal for themselves.

Intrinsic motivation refers to people’s spontaneous tendencies to be curious and interested, to seek out challenges and to exercise and develop their skills and knowledge, even in the absence of rewards or praise.

The Emerging Neuroscience of Intrinsic Motivation research carried out over four decades by Ryan R. M., Deci E. L. (2017) found intrinsic motivation to predict enhanced learning, performance, creativity, optimal development and psychological wellness.

Helping your child to build their own motivation is the key to their long-term success and happiness.

How do you build your child’s motivation?