Usually the nature of children makes them curious, enthusiastic and joyful much of the time, especially when it comes to their favorite activities. Even the most introverted and less expressive children show interest and enthusiasm for certain activities. However, more and more often parents come to my office concerned that they must deal with listless, apathetic and unmotivated children. And it is that some children do not show interest in anything and openly express that 'everything does not matter to them'.
These are some of the characteristics of children who go through this phase of reluctance and apathy:
- They do not show interest in carrying out any activity that is proposed to them.
- They are not enthusiastic about doing new things.
- They refuse to make decisions and continually respond 'I don't care'.
- They do not feel emotion for any hobby or pastime.
- They do everything with reluctance, they make the necessary effort (even in things they used to enjoy).
- They have no initiative to do things by themselves.
The first question that comes to mind for parents of unmotivated children is about the causes that are motivating this behavior. These are some of the most common.
- A triggering event or as a consequence of an emotional issue
The first step is to rule out that something serious may be happening and is the cause of our son showing such an attitude. Perhaps this situation comes after a loss, and in that case it is part of the grieving process that can occur in these cases.
If there is no recent fact that explains this behavior, we should talk with him to make sure that something is not happening that is disturbing him. It is also possible to verify at school that everything is working properly and make sure that everything is fine in the environments in which it operates.
On the other hand, children who go through episodes of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, stress, etc. They can fall into similar patterns of behavior, although most of the times they are accompanied by other signs.
- Is tired
Some children become overwhelmed by a large number of extracurricular activities that sometimes respond more to the interests of the parents than to their own. Endless classes and activities are added to their schoolwork that exhausts them and really leaves them little free time. Perhaps this attitude is simply the result of exhaustion.
- The goals or objectives that are imposed on them exceed them
Sometimes the expectations of parents are very high and cause children to continually become frustrated or feel that their effort is not valued enough. As a result of this comes demotivation and apathy.
- He is over-stimulated
Sometimes there are too many stimuli: television, video games, toys, parties, walks, vacations, etc. Everything in front of them without even having to wish it and that, although it seems contradictory, can make them fall into a 'I don't care'.
- You are developing a pessimistic view of life
Sometimes children become pessimistic, they begin to focus on bad experiences and to generalize. They do not expect good things to happen in their day to day, no matter how simple.
It is important that as parents we can assess where this situation may be arising and act accordingly.
Once we know the causes that are causing this apathy, it is necessary to help children to get out of there. Here you will find some keys to accompany your child.
1. Listen to him and watch for his signals
If you think that your child may be overloaded with many extracurricular activities (events, walks, camps or anything that takes him away from home) and that may be causing this response, talk with him, ask him how he feels, if he is enjoying them or if wants to take a break with any of them. Do not forget that the important thing is to make decisions with the information it gives you, although that does not necessarily please you.
Sometimes children cannot express what really exceeds them, in that case, watch out for their signals, if they refuse to go to any activity or are very angry or sad, it is time to ask themselves if it is worth continuing.
The important thing in all cases is to make sure you have enough time to play or do what you really want, even if you don't want to do anything. All we need!
2. Review your and their expectations
Assess whether the expectations you have conveyed to your child about his performance at school or in any other activity are realistic or if you are pushing him to the limit and act accordingly.
Maybe he has not managed to get a medal in swimming and you are pressuring him to the point that he is apathetic about everything. Allow him to enjoy his activities without continually pressuring him and make sure it really is a hobby he likes.
3. Don't over-stimulate him
Sometimes as parents we wish so strongly that our children would be happy that we exaggerated the amount of stimulation and 'fun' activities that we put before them. Let him want something before he has it and if possible, earn it in some way, that will make him enjoy it that much more.
4. Don't decide for him
Do not allow him to continually assume an 'I don't care' answer, gently guide him to choose between two or three options of places he wants to visit, activities he wants to do on the weekend, etc. Although some of her from time to time is to do nothing. The important thing is that it is your decision.
5. Teach him to appreciate the simple things
Gently try simple activities that can excite him and that go beyond what they always do. They can walk and collect stones to paint them in different shapes, count stars, play marbles, draw, make up fun games, play with pillows, etc.
6. Help him see things positively
If you notice that your child is developing a pessimistic view of things, help him to always see the bright side of any situation without overwhelming him. If you do it right, in no time you will help him to expect good things and consequently to be more lively and enthusiastic.
7. See a professional
If you have detected that the problem is a consequence of a strong event or part of something that could be more serious such as anxiety, depression or issues of low self-esteem and security, it is important to go to a professional who can help you assess the problem, probably working directly with your child and provide parenting strategies to help him overcome this stage.
You can read more articles similar to Permanently listless, apathetic and unmotivated children, what to do?, in the category of Motivation on site.