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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Motivate Children

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged with Mankind. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
What Motivates Children’s Behaviour?

According to Dr Maurice Balson, children are primarily social beings and everything they do is directed at finding their place in groups which are important to them. The desire to belong, to be accepted, to contribute, is the basic motivation behind all behaviour. In the family setting, we can understand a child’s behaviour only if we view such behaviour as the child’s attempt to be recognised, to feel important, to belong. The extent to which children feel that they belong to the family will determine their willingness to function constructively and co-operatively within the family.
It is a sense of inadequacy, a feeling that one cannot belong through constructive activity, which is at the root of all failures, deficiencies, and problem behaviours. In our society, which is so competitive, and characterised by superior-inferior relationships, many children do not have a chance to feel an equal with others and will pursue unsatisfactory ways of belonging, guided by the conclusion that ‘I am not good enough’.
Children do not grow up in isolation. All of their behaviours such as language, play, emotions, and skills are learnt and developed in social situations such as the home, the school, and the community. All human problems are social problems. As a result, these behaviours can be understood only if viewed in terms of the social context in which they are acquired.
When families can develop an atmosphere which permits children to experience a sense of belonging to the family, then maladjustment and pathology will not occur. It is only when children feel that they belong successfully to the family, that they will move on in life contributing, participating and co-operating. From infancy on, the small child seeks to find those ways of behaving which will gain recognition, feelings of importance, and a sense of belonging to the family. Young children operate on a trial-and-error basis. In their early attempts to seek answers to the questions, ‘Who am I? What am I?” and so on, children will try various ways of behaving and observe the consequences. When a child cries, mother comes; she is controlled. Father does not hear crying but will come when the child holds her breath until she is blue in the face. Almost anything works with grandparents who are constantly hovering over the child. Each experience is evaluated by the child.
The search for significance and for a place in the family is basic to every child. As each member of the family is both an actor and reactor, there is no one individual who is totally influential. Those behaviours which ‘work’ in that they give a child a sense of belonging, are continued while others which do not achieve this purpose are discontinued. It is not necessary that the behaviours be constructive or socially acceptable; they may be disruptive, unacceptable or foolish from a parent’s point of view. The only criterion which determines if the behaviour will persist or not is whether it satisfies the child’s need to belong, to be noticed or to feel important.

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