Finding motivation

Lee Hausner, PhD Clinical Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how they can help to successfully motivate their children in a beneficial manner
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Finding motivation

You cannot create motivation in somebody else. This is the danger of strong parents who feel that, because they are personally motivated, they can lay their motivation on the heads of their children. Motivation is internal and there is a very simplistic formula for what is motivating: Activity plus a sense of satisfaction equals motivation. Activity, with stress and pressure, equals avoidance. So if you want to motivate an individual what you do is create an environment where they can be successful and feel good about what they are doing. And that is the internal engine for motivation. And I think if you sit down on a personal basis and say, “What am I very excited about doing? What do I need no encouragement to do?” You will find it is something that causes you pleasure, whether it’s gardening or whether it’s running a company. It is something that gives you personal satisfaction, so no one has to tell you to do it. Think about something that you do not like to do and have to be reminded or pressured to do and it’s usually an activity that creates stress. So the key to motivating as a parent is to try to find an environment and try to make the activity as positive as possible. For example, school often becomes an enormous issue. But very often parents are giving critical messages about school. “Study harder.” “Work harder.” “Get better grades.” So the whole activity of learning gets imbued with certain amount of anxiety and stress and so we find that children are not motivated. If in fact, we are giving positive messages, “I loved the way you tried.” “What I love is that you never give up.” “What a great idea that you had!” “How exciting it is to see you express yourself.” If those are the kinds of positive language that you are using as it relates to the learning environment, you will find the child that will become motivated, because they are going to feel good about that experience.

Lee Hausner, PhD Clinical Psychologist and Author, shares advice for parents on how they can help to successfully motivate their children in a beneficial manner


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Lee Hausner, PhD

Clinical Psychologist & Author

Dr. Lee Hausner is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, business consultant and family wealth advisor. She served as the senior psychologist for the Beverly Hills Unified School District for 19 years. She is currently the Senior Managing Director for First Foundation Advisors. An acknowledged expert on psychological issues involving wealth and wealth transfer, she was a presenter at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, and is a frequent participant at the high wealth/private client conferences for major financial institutions. She is a frequent guest on national radio and television and a quoted expert in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Times, Forbes, Fortune, Privilege, Town and Country and Worth Magazine.

Dr. Hausner is the co-author with Doug Freeman of A Founder's Guide to the Family Foundation, published by the Council on Foundations and is the author of the seminal work regarding wealth and the family; Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting for Prosperous Families. In addition, Dr. Hausner incorporated her unique six-step transition model for succession in family business in the critically acclaimed family business resource book Hats Off to You 2: Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business, of which she was a co-author.

Dr. Hausner is a graduate of Northwestern University (BA, Psychology), San Francisco State University (MA, Psychology), and Kensington University (PhD, Psychology).

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