Why Is My Child Lazy To Learn?
"Oh my gosh, my child is really lazy to study! No intention of studying. If you study, you have to be ordered and waited on,” said the parents I met in the counseling room.
Through this statement, there is an impression that some children have high motivation to learn, but some other children have no or less motivation to learn.
However, is learning motivation something that can be sought, obtained, and then added to a child so that it seems as if a person's level of motivation to learn is high?
If we want to explore, actually since childhood, children already have the motivation to learn. For example, when they are two years old and start playing dropping the ball down, this can be a process in which children learn about the earth's gravity. The child not only drops the ball but also tries to drop various types of objects to test the validity of the theory of gravity, that is, whatever object is dropped, it will fall down.
Another example, when the child is four years old and begins to explore with colored pencils or crayons. He tries to doodle to imitate simple pictures or patterns found in storybooks. He started drawing apples by making simple circles, then coloring them red. This is also included in the learning process based on motivation from within itself (intrinsic motivation).
Similarly, when a child's vocabulary begins to grow, his curiosity about the things around him grows, wider. He kept asking why the wheel is round, where does the sun goes when night comes, how trees can bear fruit, and so on. This is also a form of motivation to seek information and learn (master) something.
Thus, from the beginning, every child already has the motivation to learn, know something, and master certain skills. That's intrinsic motivation.
Then, what makes this intrinsic motivation slowly seem to shrink? There are three factors that decrease children's intrinsic learning motivation, namely: the response from the social environment, the challenges faced by the child, and the rewards he receives.
The first factor relates to the responses of adults around who are less supportive of the child when asking questions. Answers such as, "Ah, you ask a lot of questions, don't you," "It's really noisy, the questions have been endless," often make children discouraged from asking questions and suppress their strong need to know things around them.
In addition, sometimes children ask questions by exploring their surroundings by touching and testing them directly. They didn't say much, only their agile movements penetrated all corners of the room to observe deeply. When dealing with these types of children, give them the opportunity to explore their surroundings by touching them. This attitude can affect the spirit and motivation of children to fulfill their curiosity independently. However, parents still have to keep all dangerous or fragile (breakable) objects out of their reach.
The second factor relates to the challenges and demands that are increasingly difficult for children to face. When lessons become increasingly difficult, paired with a lack of guidance, children have the potential to face failures in the process of mastering the material or skills they are learning.
If the child experiences repeated failures with a lack of alternative solutions from the adults around him, this tends to frustrate the child and eventually give up. Negative (unpleasant) responses to a child's failure will make the child even more frustrated. In the end, the child becomes unmotivated in trying to face the challenges of the process of mastering certain materials or skills. In fact, children also tend to give up before trying.
Thus, it helps us to empathize with the difficulties and processes that are not easy for children when they are learning. The material they are studying sometimes looks simple and easy to adults. However, haven't we experienced it before, namely facing the process to master the material or skill? In addition to empathy, parents can also encourage children to seek, try other alternative solutions in dealing with challenges in learning.
The third factor relates to aspects of the rewards that children receive after they go through the learning process. Rewards here can be in the form of rewards that are pleasant (rewards) or less pleasant (punishments).
When a child learns to avoid punishment or to get a reward, the learning motivation he has is extrinsic motivation.
This extrinsic motivation conditions the child's perception of completing the task not based on his personal desires, but because of external factors (rewards) that he gets. Children are no longer focused on the process, effort, and fighting power in understanding the material or mastering certain skills, but on the promised prizes.
This extrinsic motivation and reward system is not always a bad thing. Rewards (gifts) can be a source of enthusiasm for children who are not really interested in certain fields. For example, when parents want to encourage children to be motivated by sports that their children don't like, parents can take them on a bicycle or walk in the morning and promise to make snacks that children like after these sports activities.
However, furthermore, the reward should be aimed at the explanation of the progress of competence (mastery of material or skills) that has been achieved by the child through the process of his struggle to face challenges.
With the exposure to the progress of these competencies, the child's feeling of competence (ability) is also strengthened so that he is more confident and able to survive when facing difficulties or challenges in learning in the future.
Positive rewards are also centered on affirming the child's persistence to discipline himself in completing tasks. Another positive reward is praise and realistic appreciation of the child's efforts in dealing with the learning process.
Let us maintain the motivation of children's learning since he was a child. Show a positive and supportive attitude when children ask a lot of questions and explore their surroundings. Parents also need to empathize and provide encouragement so that children dare to face challenges and try to overcome their problems. Enrich children with various praises, appreciations, and affirmation sentences that refer to their toughness when processing or struggling in the face of challenges. Give a positive reward, which refers to an explanation of the child's progress in achieving competence (understanding the material or mastering skills).
Source of References:
- Santrock, J. W. (2002). Perkembangan anak (edisi kesebelas, jilid dua). Alih Bahasa: Mila Rachmawati, S. Psi & Anna Kuswanti. Jakarta: Erlangga
— Diana, M.Psi.
IPEKA Counseling Center