1 Surprising reason why some parents are able to keep their kids motivated

1 Surprising reason why some parents are able to keep their kids motivated

Imagine your child moving full speed towards their goals with confidence. Achieving at the highest level, filled with self belief, curiosity, and a growth mindset. Let’s examine the surprising relationship between a sense of ownership and motivation.

Performance drop starts in elementary school

New classroom research shows “that after second or third grade, many students begin to show signs of losing their motivation to learn. 

What happened to that natural eagerness to go to school and the curiosity to learn that is so apparent in preschool, first, and second grade students? 

Why do students progressively seem to take less responsibility for their own learning? 

This challenge only grows as students move from upper elementary to secondary school levels.”

The answer? Ownership, Freedom, Autonomy.

“Research has shown that motivation is related to whether or not students have opportunities to be autonomous and to make important academic choices. 

Having choices allows children to feel that they have control or ownership over their own learning. This, in turn, helps them develop a sense of responsibility and self-motivation. 

When students feel a sense of ownership, they want to engage in academic tasks and persist in learning.”

3 ways you can help your child take responsibility

  1. Help them understand their learning interests 
  2. Challenge them with more responsibility
  3. Guide them to setup a vision for their growth


Helping your child to experiment with different interests is one of the best ways to help them diversify their experiences, build confidence, and ultimately develop their life-long passions.

Controlling parents

“Some research has suggested that too much parental involvement may lead to negative child outcomes. 

Children of over-involved mothers have been found to exhibit higher levels of internalizing problems than other children (Barber et al. 1994; Bayer et al. 2006; Fischer et al. 2007), even after controlling for maternal anxiety (Gar and Hudson 2008). 

High parental involvement may be particularly detrimental to the psychosocial adjustment of children as they enter adolescence (Grolnick et al. 2000) and has been linked to externalizing problems, such as “acting out” at school (Grolnick et al. 2000).”

“In contrast to control, parenting that is supportive of a child’s autonomy may be particularly beneficial to children (Grolnick and Ryan 1989; Kenney-Benson and Pomerantz 2005). 

Autonomy supportive parents allow children to take an active role in solving their own problems (Grolnick et al. 1991). 

Research has demonstrated that autonomy supportive parenting leads to better social and emotional adjustment in children, including less anxiety, less depression, and fewer behavior problems (Grolnick and Ryan 1989; Kenney-Benson and Pomerantz 2005).”

Helicopter Parenting

“Children’s need for autonomy increases over time as they strive to become independent young adults. 

Parents should adjust their level of involvement and control to their child’s developmental level (Erikson 1968; Kins et al. 2009; Luyckx et al. 2009; Soenens et al. 2007).”

“Three recent studies specifically examined helicopter parenting and found that it was related to several negative outcomes in college students (LeMoyne and Buchanan 2011; Padilla-Walker and Nelson 2012; Segrin et al. 2012). 

College students who reported that their parents were over-involved and controlling in their lives had lower psychological well-being and were more likely to take medications for depression and anxiety (LeMoyne and Buchanan 2011).


Freedom is a right that every US citizen has and is the backbone of democracy. It has allowed nations to learn, innovate, and prosper. 

It turns out that what powers a country isn’t much different than what empowers our children, and ultimately our families.


Schiffrin, H.H., Liss, M., Miles-McLean, H. et al. Helping or Hovering? The Effects of Helicopter Parenting on College Students’ Well-Being. J Child Fam Stud 23, 548–557 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9716-3

Developing Responsible and Autonomous Learners: A Key to Motivating Students. (2010). Apa.Org. http://www.apa.org/education/k12/learners.aspx?item=7

Ames, C. (1992). Classrooms, goals, structures, and student motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 261-271.

APA Work Group of the Board of Educational Affairs (1997, November). Learner-centered psychological principles: A framework for school reform and redesign. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

Bandura. A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28, 149-167.

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.

Barnett, W. S. (1996). Lives in the balance: Age-27 benefit-cost analysis of the High/Scope Perry Preschool Program (Monographs of the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 11). Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.




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