Motivation isn’t easy…


  Question:

Our 14-year-old son got in some trouble last fall. As a result, he was mandated to be in a sport. We got him into wrestling, and he has done really well. So well that the high school coach called him in and suggested he go out next year. The problem is, he already decided on the other high school in the district, which doesn’t have much of a sports program. We’d like him to stick with wrestling, as it’s a great workout, builds character, etc. He says he “hates” it. When questioned further, it’s clear that he’s anxious about it, and doesn’t think he’s good enough. Now we’re at an impasse. He’s done really well in this sport and we’d like to see him further develop his talent, make friends, stay out of trouble and accrue some of the other benefits that come from participating in a sport. He is hardening his stand against it…. and suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

   

Answer:

 
Don’t force your child to do something like sports if they don’t want to. It seems that he should enjoy what he does and not hate it. The fact that he was mandated to do this sport seems to show that he is being forced to do this sport. It seems that there are many other ways to get the results you want in regards to friends, staying out of trouble etc… I would encourage your husband to stay involved with him.

Response:
Read between the lines: He was mandated to do a sport because of TROUBLE HE GOT IN LAST FALL. We’re supposed to let him off the hook because he says he doesn’t like the sport (which he excels in)? No, he’s not allowed to do whatever he wants without consequence. Some more background for you: he broke laws, we stepped up for him so he didn’t get expelled and go in front of a judge. He needs to stay busy, make friends, find out what he’s made of — all things he can do as a wrestler. He’s looking for the easy way out. It’s not our job to give him that.

Followup:

Hmmmm,

You asked for my opinion and I gave it. What I suggested was that you find an alternative way to get him interested in the things that you are wanting from him. You don’t motivate a teenager for the things you want by forcing him to do something he hates EVEN IF you think he excels at it. Of course you provide consequences for teens, but you do it with things that are effective not with things like sports. The court you were involved with seems a bit misguided on how to get a teen motivated so you may have been misled on that. Given your return response to me also show some of the other issues related to your son. You sound pretty motivated on controlling him when in reality you only have the ability to influence him. He is fighting against your control it seems and you respond with more control. That doesn’t work generally.

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