Your words can affect your middle schooler’s motivation

Posted by Newsletter on 3/15/2020

The way your middle schooler hears you talk about him to others can have a lasting effect on him. It can motivate him to do his best—or discourage him from even trying.

To make sure your conversations have a positive effect on your child:

  • Assume he is listening when you speak, even if he doesn’t appear to be paying attention. Kids instantly perk up their ears when they hear their names. And your child picks up more than your words. He is mature enough to take note of the tone of your voice and the context of the conversation.
  • Avoid discussing your child’s strengths and weaknesses with his brothers or sisters. This can fuel sibling rivalry.
  • Avoid making negative comments about your middle schooler to others—especially to other family members. Think of how you would feel if two people you love talked about how lazy you were, right in front of you.
  • Congratulate him on his great grades and sports victories, but focus on what’s really important to you. Talk about his kindness or his sense of responsibility. And if you really want to motivate him, talk about persistence. Remind him of a time that he didn’t give up, even when the going got tough.

Reprinted with permission from the March 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: S. Rimm, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It: A Six-Step Program for Parents and Teachers, Great Potential Press.