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  • Writer's pictureDale V Wayman, PhD

Children's Motivations

To properly parent, it is important to know what motivates children. If you can figure out a child's goal, then you can figure out how to best help them. If you can identify the goals of a child you can plan your corrective action much more intelligently




1. Attention - Children want attention be it negative or positive. Negative attention is better than no attention.

2. Power - Children can openly rebel or be quietly stubborn

3. Revenge - lying, stealing, or hurting others

4. Inadequacy - This passive child relays the message, "Don't expect anything from me because I don't have anything to give."


CORRECTIVE ACTION - Four steps can help you to be proactive in your parenting. These four steps can be remembered easily with the acronym CARE.


C - Catch yourself - don't yell, talk too much or preach. Make action, not

words, the principal means of conveying intentions.

A - Assess the child's goals - What goals are being served by the behavior?

R - Respond with consequences and encouragement - Consequences

need to be logical and natural.

E - Execute with consistency, friendliness, and respect - Remember

that rules without relationship leads to rebellion.

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