Ever wish your students were more motivated? If you’re like most of us, you have tried an array of rewards and punishments to motivate kids. There’s only one problem: it doesn’t work. At least it doesn't work well enough. People (yes, even students) aren’t motivated from the outside so rewards and punishments only work to a point. We are internally motivated. That’s why it's essential to engage and inspire students to be motivated to succeed in school (and life.)

If you’re ready to move beyond the reward/punishment model and embrace a whole new way to understand motivation, I encourage you to come back regularly. It’s time to challenge the status quo and create schools and classrooms based on what really motivates behavior.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Managing Your Child's "Expanding" Vocabulary

I recently received this question from a parent:

My son is 14 years old and he just began learning cuss words. I understand that he may be trying to verbally release anger and stress but isn’t 14 a bit too young to be cursing? I firmly tell him that he shouldn’t use such words but I can’t seem to get through to him. What can I do to help him stop cursing?

There’s no single reason why youngsters choose to use profanity. It may be an attempt to act “grown up,” especially if adults in the home use profanity. It may be a way to appear “cool,” particularly if their friends use profanity. It may be a way to test limits and discover boundaries. It may simply be a reflection of contemporary society.

I am uncomfortable advising any parent about what they should be regarding their child’s use of profanity. Each parent needs to establish what is acceptable in their home. My wife and I never had a big problem with profanity. We simply told our three kids, “We don’t use that kind of language in this house.” There were no big discussions. No family meetings. No punishment. As parents, we identified the expectation and moved on. Equally importantly, neither my wife nor I used profanity around our kids. (Telling your kids to “Do what I say, not what I do” just doesn’t work. It’s essential to model the behavior you want from your children.)

Part of parenting is helping kids learn that we act and speak differently in various situations. How I act and speak when I’m conducting a workshop for parents or teachers is different from how I act and speak when out to dinner with friends or on vacation with my family. Kids are well served when they learn that some behavior and language may be acceptable in one situation and inappropriate in another context. My wife and I made it clear to our kids that profanity wasn’t appropriate in our home. That worked for us, but each parent needs to establish the expectations for their own family.


As always, if you enjoyed this and found it useful, please send the link to your friends. Thanks.

Bob Sullo

For information about books by Bob Sullo and to schedule a keynote, workshop, or series for your school, agency, or parent group visit www.internalmotivation.net

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