Thursday, February 9, 2012

I did it!

This phrase is Nathan's motivation.

I asked earlier about motivation but it appears my question or the rewards for it (none) were motivating to many.It was more to put into your brain the concept of motivation.  Everyone is motivated in different ways, my kids are no exception. This post is about Nathan and what motivates him (or not).

Nathan loves to figure things out. He sees something, anything and wants to do it, master it, even if it's only once. He's always been like that since he first realized he could move his own body parts on command.

He is the type who tries and tries and tries again when he wants to accomplish something. Sure he fails and damn straight he can get frustrated and angry, but he usually keeps trying.

Once he rolled over for the first time, quite by accident, from his stomach to his back, he realized he didn't have to stay trapped in horrible tummy time. He made it his mission to roll over on his own schedule. It took a couple of days and lots of trying and voila, success! Of course once he could do it, he didn't mind being on his stomach so much. In fact, he discovered that while on his stomach, a few combination of limb flails could result in propulsion across the floor. So he crawled (commando for a while).  Walking was the same way. He tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed and eventually he could do it.  The smile on his face was priceless.

For Nathan the thrill is in initial accomplishment. He will continue to do something he's mastered when/if it suits his purpose, but it doesn't matter as much.  He can easily feed himself with a fork or spoon and even spread peanut butter on bread with a knife or cut a banana.Can do it. But he is also lazy. Meals are often accompanied by the phrase 'mommy do it' because he wants me to feed him, even if its just a sandwich, he wants me to pick it up and hold it to his mouth. Um, no.

Nathan all but potty trained himself. He decided he wanted to do it. We read tons of books and watched every movie on the subject. It was talked about lots. One day he asked to pee in the toilet and that was it. Yeah, he had accidents, but he kept trying. Then we had a childcare change (temporary) then the holidays and it was too much bother to try anymore. I don't get mad if they have an accident or shame them etc, I just change them and ask if they want to use the potty/toilet. So he got lazy and just let it go. In come the stickers (see details in a previous post).

So while his primary motivation is accomplishment, he is like most people and also appreciates external rewards. In this case, stickers and presents. He's back at being a potty pro now and no longer even asks for a sticker after he goes. It was just that little extra motivation at a time when things were going haywire.

He really does love praise and I give it freely. I try to praise the effort or his actions. I really work hard to avoid saying 'good boy' when he succeeds. It leaves the feeling of 'bad boy' if he fails, even when trying really hard. Still, even without praise, he loves to do things.

I don't want to raise kids who will only do something to get something. I want to raise a kids who will appreciate the external rewards but who's main driver is a sense of pride, of self accomplishment. Overall, Nathan fits this, even if he is lazy at times. If he continues like this, he will be the kid who will do his homework without prompting just to get it done. He will help out around the home because it needs to be done, not because he'll get paid to do it. He'll do his best at everything he starts and see it through to the end. Yeah, he'll slip now and again, but he's only human. I will still offer rewards (bribes) for things that are less appealing but I can only hope those times are few and far between.

Soon I'll give a post about what motivates Corwyn. It's very different, they are very different.

 They almost never get computer time, not because I'm against it, but because I cant afford to buy the new computer I'd need when they broke my current one. This video was taken when Corwyn was out playing with the caregiver and Nathan was home sick with me. This is the first time he's actually gotten to hold the mouse and work the computer himself. I'd say he's a natural. Watch his level of concentration, and the expressions on his face as he works things out.

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