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How science changed my parenting
There are important take-home messages here for risktaking, social policy, and our understanding of teens that I will discuss in my next post.
But the first thing I took home from this reading had to do with my parenting. TEENS ARE MOTIVATED BY PLEASURE, NOT BY PAIN.
Thus telling a 13 year old that he will fail a test tomorrow if he doesn’t study isn’t that effective in inducing willing compliance. He knows that. But risk avoidance is not emotionally motivating. And that video game sure is.
Reminding a 13 year old how good it feels to accomplish something, how happy he’ll be when he does well, and how much more time he will have to play if he studies efficiently works a lot better. Those POSITIVE emotions activate their incentive processing center. And teens are VERY sensitive to pleasure.
So I tried it.
I stopped reminding my son of all the negative consequences of not doing what he was supposed to.
I consistently pointed out how good it felt to do the right thing. Every positive I could think of.
A week later, things are going great.
He’s less anxious. His work has improved. We’ve gotten along better. And he’s taking more responsibility for making good choices. Even choices he doesn’t like (like practicing his violin tonight because he wants a whole day of uninterrupted time on Saturday).
And you know what? I feel better too. I can be motivated by reward as well.
The First Rule of Consulting: “No matter how much you try, you can’t stop people from sticking beans up their nose” (Jared Spool)Published October 15, 2011 Uncategorized Leave a Comment
read more: http://rachelbaker.me/the-first-rule-of-consulting/