Are you tired of prompting or telling your loved one to do things, maybe do things around the house? This is something that many families that I work with keep bumping into, and it becomes exhausting for you and frustrating for your loved one. In this video/article, I give you my #1 strategy to motivate your loved one! This means less prompting from you, and more choice and control for your loved one.
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Are you tired of prompting or telling your loved one to do things, maybe do things around the house? This is something that many families that I work with supporting their loved one to grow their independence keep bumping into, and it becomes exhausting for you and frustrating for your loved one.
I’m Eric Goll. And today, I want to talk about the #1 strategy that I’ve found to help motivate your loved one so that you are prompting and telling less, and your loved one takes more ownership.
So let me tell you about my experience growing my independence. And I think it might be insightful for us to talk through it so that you can understand maybe what’s going on within your own family. So as a teenager, my mom did everything for me. She would make all the meals, do my laundry. And I just learned that my mom would do those things. So I developed learned helplessness. I learned I didn’t have to do those things and didn’t know how to do those things. So I was dependent on my mom to do those things. As I got older, I would be asked to do more things like take the dishes out of the dishwasher and cut the grass.
And for me to do those things, my parents would have to ask me three or four times! Maybe this is starting to resonate with you and your family situation. So I just wasn’t motivated. If I didn’t do the dishes or cut the grass, I knew that my parents would do it. So they had to remind me or prompt me continually to the point where they would get angry and threaten to take things away. Then my parents switched gears when they realized that money would motivate me. Money worked for a while until money became less of a motivator. And then my parents still had to remind me to do the task or remind me that I wanted to get paid.
But there was still that external push. It wasn’t my desire to do those things. So those external motivators weren’t that effective, and they wore off over time. And maybe you can relate to that experience within your family?!
Then I left, and I went to university. And that’s when things changed for me. My clothes piled up. My dinner wasn’t served. And I needed clothes. And I needed food. So I had to make a decision. Do I want clean clothes? Do I want to eat? And no one was coming to save me or do those things for me. So I had to decide for myself. And that developed this internal motivation. Well, I need clean clothes. So I’ve got to do my laundry. I need to eat, so I need to get my own dinner. Right?
So it’s this intrinsic or this internal motivation that built up inside me. This happens when we become more responsible for ourselves, and no one else will do it for us. So, naturally, moving out for many people is that step.
Now, when we relate that to your loved one, maybe they aren’t at the point of moving out, but you’re thinking about the future. And there are ways that you can work on this now to help your loved one develop that internal motivation while they’re still living at home.
So a strategy on how do we do that? There are three parts: partnering, giving choice, and consequences. I will go over this quickly, and I will have an upcoming Growing Independence workshop to go into this in more depth.
So the first step is partnering. So instead of just telling our loved one what we want them to do, have a conversation. You can start by saying, I’m swamped, and I really need some help. How might you be able to help? This brings your loved one in versus telling them to go do the dishes. A much different approach.
Then, in step 2, you want your loved one to decide how they will help. Whether it’s the laundry, dishes are preparing meals, or maybe something around their self-care. But by giving our loved one a choice, they are taking responsibility. And there’s a sense of agency – I made that decision.
Okay, and then the last piece, consequences. If I don’t do the laundry, I’m going to have dirty clothes, and clothes will pile up. I only have a limited number amount of clothes. Eventually, I’m going to run out. So the consequences are that I wear dirty clothes or don’t have clothes. So I need to do something about it. This is the natural consequence. And the key is not to save your loved one or remove the consequence. Then there’s an opportunity for a conversation around the consequence.
This is what develops that internal or intrinsic motivation! So that’s the strategy for you. I’m going to continue to talk more about it, and I’ll talk more about it inside the growing independence workshop – which I’ll tell you about soon.
So I’d love it if you scrolled down, left me a comment below and let me know what was helpful for you in this video/article.
I’m Eric Goll. Together, let’s take a small step forward this week.