Storytime: How can I motivate my son to learn?

I sit here at 10:30pm, tea cup in my hand (too late for coffee) while I contemplate my parenting techniques.

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I have the habit of trying to convince my son to do what I want by bribing him with things he wants, then when that doesn’t work, I start threatening to remove a privilege or delete a game on my phone or whatever. When that doesn’t work, I start to get frustrated and then really angry. I tend to yell a lot and that only makes matters worse.

Lately, though, I’ve been yelling much less, which was pretty much the goal, and once in a while my now 6 year old does what he is old from the 1st time or without me asking him.

Today though… Oof. Where do I begin?

Let me 1st mention the positive points… However few and far between they were.

1. I didn’t yell much today. I didn’t lose my cool until 9pm

2. He ate dinner without fussing or taking forever (dinner here is like lunch for Americans and vice versa)

3. I’m drinking my tea in peace right now while writing a blog post because my son is playing peacefully.

4. He studied for his quiz and is hopefully ready.

Now let’s get to the nitty gritty of today:

1. I started waking him up at 9am but he refused to get out of bed until 11am which means tonight he will be sleeping even later than he usually does.

2. He skipped breakfast on the account of waking up too late and being underweight as he is, this is a problem.

3. He took forever to eat his lunch. Drove me crazy 🤪

4. He has a quiz tomorrow and it took a lot of threatening to get him to study for it once at noon today and since he made a lot of mistakes, he had to repeat his work and it took a lot of bribery (6 gummy bears, letting him do arts and crafts at night, and promising him he can stay up as late as he wants tonight which is making my husband on edge now) to get him to do it a 2nd time tonight, correctly.

Hence the contemplating

My goal in parenting is to get my son to have intrinsic motivation and self discipline. I don’t like relying on bribes and threats, rewards and punishments, to get him to eat, sleep, study, get dressed, shower, etc. These are basic things he should be doing on his own by now.

I feel like I don’t know how to motivate him because I never had to be motivated as a kid. I was traumatized as a kid but I don’t talk about it here because it’s too personal, but when it came to studies, I loved studying. I skipped 1st grade. My parents wanted me to skip 2nd grade too but the school counselor advised against it because she wanted me to be able to adjust to my peers socially. I’m glad they didn’t skip me 2 grades. I had enough trouble socially as it was, but not only because I was a grade ahead, but because I was half American in a Lebanese school. Anyway, my point is, my mom never even had to teach me. I always did my homework on my own, from the beginning. I git straight As and I never had to be motivated, in one way or another, so I don’t know how to motivate someone to study. Till now, I’m the only one among my siblings with a thirst for knowledge.

How do I motivate my 6 year old to WANT to learn?

The thing is. My son is smart. I can see it. So much potential. Easily distracted because duh, he is at home not school. Easily bored because duh not playing with other kids. Easily frustrated because duh not used to school system yet. I mean he went to KG1, then during KG2 there was the Lebanese revolution on October 17th and after the revolution died down, COVID-19 began and so he only went to school for a month in the whole year. I tutored him during summer but he was not prepared for KG3. Not being used to the online system, then getting used to it, then getting bored of it. I’m not giving excuses. Human beings learn to adapt.

I’m just trying to cut him some slack, but not too much slack because he needs to study. He is awesome at reading, but he just doesn’t like to write.

Any suggestions?

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