Motivation is difficult when your kids won't try. Some parents get so frustrated that they try unpleasant methods which crush motivation and discourage character. Inside you'll learn 10 parenting mistakes you must avoid.

1. Praise Kids Only for Their Successes.

Parents who praise kids only for their successes:

  • Create anxious perfectionistic kids
  • Discourage kids from trying unless they have a guarantee of success
  • Lessen kids' ability to handle setbacks

2. Give Vague Encouragement

Parents who use vague encouragement like, “Good job,” instead of “I like the way you smoothed out your bedcovers,” need to realize:

  • Kids won't know which behavior was good and should be repeated
  • Vague praise evaporates and kids forget
  • Specific praise motivates and increases the good behavior

3. Insist Children Become Experts in Outside Activities They Don't Like

Parents undermine the better use of their authority and teach kids to:

  • Resent authority
  • Rebel
  • Hate the activity

4. Point Out Mistakes Repeatedly

Parents discourage children by:

  • Giving negative feedback without positive encouragement
  • Raising children with the, “Nothing I do is good enough” feeling
  • Causing children to “tune out” parents and their advice

5. Demand Children Think Beyond Their Attentions Spans

Parents who insist kids stick to the same thing for great periods of time are forgetting:

  • Young children have short attention spans
  • Many kids lack the focus and patience to attend to one activity for a long time
  • Tired thinkers give up.

6. Model the Opposite Behavior They Want Their Kids to Follow

Parents who model poor behavior teach their children:

  • Parents don't practice what they preach
  • If parents thought the behavior was really important, they'd do it too.
  • Kids can ignore values and rules just like their parents do

7. Try to Motivate Kids with Nagging, Coaxing, and Lecturing

Parents who use these methods teach kids:

  • They don't have to follow orders until their parents reach the boiling point
  • Kids don't have to start projects until their parents push them
  • Parents pressure and irritate

8. Ignore Child's Schooling

Parents who don't get involved with school and ignore report cards teach:

  • School's not important
  • Grades don't matter
  • School doesn't prepare kids for a better future so why bother

9. Protect Kids from Difficulties and Failures

Parents who are over-protective teach their children:

  • They're not strong enough to handle stress
  • They're weak
  • They should give up if things are difficult

10. Put Downs, and Make Discouraging Comments about Kids' Abilities

Parents who act like a critical judge teach children:

  • They're a disappointment
  • They're worthless
  • Their efforts will be put down or ignored so why try

    Motivation Conclusion: Avoiding Parenting Mistakes

    If you use unpleasant methods to motivate your kids you'll discourage them. To motivate kids, ask yourself, “Would this motivate me?” If not, don't use it. Think a little deeper. Ask, “What has motivated me to want to achieve?” Consider your answers. Pick out the best ones and use them. If you do, you'll be on the road to building character and raising a motivated child.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to receive 33 expert parenting tips when you subscribe to her blog at and find out in detail how to motivate your kids.