“Get off Facebook and do something! How to motivate an inert child,” by Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella, Slate Magazine (May 2010)
We’ve written often for Slate about specific behaviors that parents want to develop or discourage in their children, but there is more to family than a set of particular behaviors.
Many of the deepest concerns of parents are more general. One of the most common is the worry that their chidlren, especially preadolescents and adolescents, are just not motivated to do anything. The child may sit lumpishly around his room, watch TV, play video games, or fool around at the computer while screened off from the world by permanently implanted ear buds. he doesn’t really show much interest in anything or talk to anyone, and texting or Facebook his life away seems like a pallid substitute. understandably, parents worry that a child who seems inert now may be on a trajectory to become a full-time slacker in perpetuity.
What can a parent do?