We all know them – kids with ADHD who are bright, energetic, and creative – yet struggle in school. They don’t enjoy learning. They prefer easier work. They give up easily. By all accounts, they lack motivation.
But why? Is it due to a bad attitude? Is it laziness? No, it’s in the wiring!
What can we do to help real motivation take root?
Real motivation – motivation from within the individual – thrives in social environments that encourage positive relationships, competence, and autonomy.
Develop positive relationships with kids with ADHD. Empathize with their struggles while focusing on their strengths. Take an interest in their interests. Give them opportunities to shine. Honor them for what they do well.
Help kids with ADHD become more successful. Teach kids with ADHD what they need to know – academic skills, social skills, executive skills. Help them see errors as guidelines for what to learn next rather than reasons to feel shame. Give them challenges and then use feedback to guide them toward successfully meeting those challenges.
Respect the need of kids with ADHD to choose their own paths. Find out what they value. Listen to what they want. Empower them by providing choices. Trust them to make their own decisions (and to learn from their own mistakes).
If we provide a nurturing, manageable, trusting environment, motivation will grow.