Lazy children are no laughing matter. They under-perform in school and accomplish little around the house, but that is not the worst of it. A lazy child turns into a lazy adult. Common sense tells us that lazy adults can expect to accomplish little of worth in their lives, and often become dependent on others. As a parent, your job is to raise a child who can not only support herself, but also be a responsible member of the community.
1. Redefining Happiness
In American culture, happiness is often defined as "having a good time." While engaging in enjoyable activities can certainly contribute to happiness, it is not the key, and if you raise your child to prioritize this version of happiness, laziness may be the result. Happiness scholar Gretchen Rubin states that "One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself." Involve your child in volunteer work to make a difference in the lives of others. Let your child see that his work makes the world a better place.
2. Developing Habits
Laziness is a habit, and the popularity of passive forms of entertainment such as television, computers and video games makes it pervasive in some households. Teach your children to be hard workers by requiring them to complete chores and to do work that furthers their development. An April, 2011 BBC news article points out that research shows that in pianists, the area of the brain responsible for finger movement grows larger with practice. The lesson is that people are not born talented -- talent takes hard work to develop.
3. Giving Responsibility
Give your child responsibility for chores and schoolwork. Let him take the credit for a job well-done. Be careful not to bail your child out of difficult situations, such as bringing a forgotten lunch to school. Children who learn that they are responsible for their own actions develop an independence that does not foster laziness. Provide your child with opportunities to help others outside the home as well. The positive feedback he gets for these activities will encourage him to continue this habit throughout life.
4. Judiciously Praise
Praising a child for his accomplishments can backfire in a big way. A 1998 study published in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" discovered that children who were praised for their intelligence tended to be lazier later on when working on academic tasks than children who were praised for working hard. Kids who are industrious have an intrinsic, that is built-in, motivation to get things done. Too much praise can decrease this type of motivation. Dole out praise only when it is well-deserved, and then, only for hard work -- not for doing tasks that come easily.
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