7 Parenting Tips I Learned from "Motivate Your Child" (A Book Review)

"I'm recognizing more and more that parenting is a walk of faith and that I can't control the ultimate outcomes. I'm just one of the tools God uses to influence my children. I'm honored to be part of what He's doing in my kids and want to find more ways to do my part well." 
- Motivate Your Child
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Scouring the internet for parenting books, I chanced upon this beauty. It is entitled, Motivate Your Child, a Christian parents' guide to raising kids who do what they need to do without being told. 



I got a free e-book from the BookLookBloggers website. You can get yours for free when you register too and join their circle. (Click here to go to their website).

Honestly, when  I read the title, I was already bent on reading it because, personally, I am not the type of kid who had initiative while growing up. I hope that my future son would develop this virtue and the best that I could do now to help him is to read this book, learn from it, and apply it when I'm raising him.

Here is a summary of what I learned including my favorite excerpts from the book. Enjoy!





1.  Propel your child's INTERNAL MOTIVATION

"A strong conscience (means 'self that knows') gives children an internal motivation to be responsible and to do the right thing even when they don't feel like it" and even without being asked to do it.

Like I said, while growing up, I don't think I was the most responsible daughter. My life was basically carefree and I always had a yaya to do stuff for me that I should otherwise be learning to do by myself. When I grew up, I carried this trait and begrudgingly did household chores. 

This book has challenged me to try instilling a sense of responsibility onto my child by letting him take ownership of some household tasks (i.e. fixing his toy box, etc.) instead of me or a house help doing it all for him.



"Responsibility training requires transferring ownership to the child, not just to complete a task, but to do it well, and to remember to get it done."

2. Reward with more KISSES and HUGS than money

I remember when I was younger, I was given money for every "90 and above" grade I get on my school report card. This wasn't a strong motivation for me to get good grades when I was in secondary school because my parents bought me everything I needed anyway without the need of getting high grades. 


The book showed me how external rewards could actually be poor motivators for children. Sometimes, it could even derail the focus of the child from the simple joy of learning to just getting monetary/toy perks. In the long run, if the external reward is gone, then the effort to fulfill responsibilities can be lost just as well.


The book suggests for parents to give their child more internal rewards (or things that can't necessarily be bought) for fulfilling their responsibilities such as hugs, kisses, words of encouragement, and bonding moments.

I spoke about the pros and cons of external rewarding prior to reading the book with one of my aunts, Tita Bambi, and she told me that her motivation for her kids are hugs, kisses, and words of encouragement than material things. The book affirmed her "reward" style and I think I'll also try it our for myself.



3. Your WORDS and TONE have a lasting impact



"What parents say leaves a marked impression on their children's hearts."

Let's be honest, I know parenting is stressful and sometimes parents really do blow their top off. But the book has reminded me, that if I can keep my anger and stress at bay, I should do it to the best of my abilities.

"Your tone of voice makes a strong statement."

I have been through many quarrels with my husband because of my tone of voice so I think this tip is really a must-apply for me. It is a struggle but I hope I could change my tone (especially when I'm stressed) to a milder tone of voice.

"When parents use anger as a motivator, children don't learn to do what's right. Rather, they learn to be people pleasers, looking to avoid the next parental explosion."

4. EXPLAIN corrections then give ENCOURAGEMENT to do better

I've watched a movie wherein a child was scolded and when she asked why, all the mom said was "Because I said so" and left the room.


I thought to myself, "Wow! That looks effective." But after reading the book, I realized that parents should try to make their children understand why they were corrected.


"It's so important to teach your children why you do what you do" and why you consider something as "wrong."
Although explaining to your little one could get challenging due to his/her possible lack of developmental readiness to comprehend the issue; still, it is necessary for the parents to try explaining it in a way the child would understand.

"If kids would only recognize that correction isn't a personal attack, and that it's a tool for growth, they would respond differently to the challenge."


The book suggests that after correcting and explaining to your kid, parents should give them hope to do better next time. Words such as "Okay. Go ahead and try again" and "I believe in you" are such simple yet vital words to propel the child and not dampen his/her spirits.

"Some kids beat themselves over and over again because of mistakes they make. Other children feel inadequate or consider themselves failures. They all need that final statement. A parent's affirmation goes a long way to help children move past mistakes. The positive conclusion is a gift your give to your children to teach them how to think rightly about their offenses."

5. BE the ULTIMATE ROLE MODEL


"God takes spiritual leadership in the home seriously."

They say that you should be who you want your children to be in the future. I honestly agree with that and one of our (my siblings and I) biggest role models in our growing years have to be our dad. 


"The Christian life is more than words and teaching: it's action. When parents put faith into practice, it begins to live in their hearts. When parents practice faith with their children, it begins to live in the hearts of their children as well."

Our dad modeled for us how we should try our best to never sacrifice our principles and faith for worldly gain. See, my dad is a retired military colonel in his 40's. When people ask him why he retired too early, he would just say that in his time, the service was corrupt and that it just did not suit well with his principles. So he retired early and tried to make it in the corporate world even if he was in government service all his life. It was a bold move for my dad, but he did it anyway. And that created a big impact to all his kids.



"If parents have an unnoticeable faith, that's the faith they're passing on to their kids."

One day too, I was talking with my younger brother about relationships and adultery. He told me that he is not into divorce and would try his best to save his marriage when the time comes. I asked him where he got this conviction and he said, he got it from dad. My parents have been married for 30 years and dad never left mom along the way. So that's what my brother too wants for his marriage.



"Many dimensions of God's character are learned through the modeling of good fatherhood."

Despite going to a Catholic school, I realized that I learned more about the deeper things in life not in school but at home. Though some of us send our kids to Christian schools, let us remember to live out the faith and teach it at home. 

"When parents give up the job and allow the church to do it instead, children miss out on the most important dimension of passing on the faith to the next generation: seeing that faith is relevant in daily life."

6. Let your child WORK HARD and SERVE OTHERS


"When kids learn to work hard, they develop perseverance, confidence, and the ability to take on an assignment with determination to succeed."

Most parents would want the absolute best for their kids. However, I have met a handful of couples who tend to spoil their kids, thinking that this is what it means to give their children "the best." 

The book reminded me to allow my future children to learn what it means to work, and even, to learn to work in service of others and not only for themselves. I admire parents who send their children to volunteer to help others like in Gawad Kalinga builds, volunteering in home for the aged, participating in tree-planting activities, and so forth.


"When children tend to be self-absorbed, instead of others-centered, it's harder for them to make a decision about what's right."

7. Cultivate FAMILY TIME

The final advice I learned from the book is to schedule intimate family time activities at least once a week. The family time suggested in the book has 3 components:


  • Building relationship
  • Sharing Scripture
  • Practicing the Faith

In Building a relationship among members, the members are challenged to have heart to heart talks with each other. Some questions for reflection may include, "What longings, hopes, and desires does my child have?" or "What can I do to bring joy into my child's life?"

"If you want your children to be successful, sometimes you have to get more involved in their lives, not less involved. It's hard, time consuming, and takes a lot more energy, but this is often the consequence children need to get back on track."

Sharing Scripture and Practicing the Faith is a time to read the Gospel for the day or any readings from the Bible which the parents have discerned to be an appropriate topic for new learning and practice for their kids.

After Scripture sharing, the parents (and children) can brainstorm activities that would apply the words of the Gospel to the physical world. Here is an activity example from the book: If the topic being discussed is about Christians being the "light to the world", one activity that could be appropriate for this is having the kids blindfolded and guided through an obstacle course while listening only to the voice of a parent. Through this activity, the children tangibly experiences how it feels to be in the dark and be guided by a voice in the light.

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Those were the tips I got from the book. I hope, if you have time, you could check it out for yourself! What do you think of the tips? Have these worked/not worked for you?


"Before I was a mom, I knew that I would have a lot to teach my children, but I'm learning more every day how much they have to teach me."


Much love and prayers,
Jacq


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