How Parents Can Develop Achievement Motivation in Kids

What is Achievement Motivation

Is your kid motivated enough to carry out STEM education activities such as robotics for kids and coding for kids? Many parents would grapple with this question when their children begin their STEM learning journey.

Motivational intensity has a robust relation to a kid’s creativity. Motivation is the driving force behind many actions and is often the result of an imbalance within a person when they recognize the lack of something.

The level of motivation stems from the person’s needs. Henry Murray, a prominent early 20th-century psychologist, said humans have two types of needs. There are primary needs like food and water. Then there are secondary needs, such as the need to achieve, affiliate, nurture, and dominate. The extent of the presence of secondary needs will determine the personality and behavior of your kids.

American psychologist David McClelland who worked extensively with motivational theories extended the concept of secondary needs and identified three particular needs – the need for affiliation, the need for power, and the need for achievement. These three needs drive individuals toward the successful attainment of goals or what we can call achievement motivation.

McClelland further says that persons with achievement motivation set goals for themselves according to their ability and the effort they can put in. They are driven by a personal sense of achievement rather than some reward to attain those goals. These individuals are likely to be more creative as they are open to new ideas.

Such individuals spend considerable time thinking about how to do things better. It is akin to problem-solving in STEM robotics activities, where the kid would have to try different things, make mistakes, and ultimately find a solution.

Food For Thought for Parents

Parents can help their kids by providing them with genuine and honest feedback. Since achievement-motivated individuals are always looking to do things better, they value concrete feedback on their work and implement suggestions to improve their tasks. Here’s some food for thought for parents.

McClelland further says Individuals with achievement motivation are likely to be from families where parents encouraged independent thinking in kids from the time they were 6 to 8 years old. These parents encouraged kids to do things independently without parental help. Such parents would have allowed kids to make their own choices.

A Stanford study found that a parental style that sets clear standards or goals, expects mature behavior from kids, and promotes healthy discussion among kids, was required for academic achievement.

Research has also found that achievement motivation behavior is the composite of implicit and explicit motivation within the kid. Implicit motives cause one to act out of spontaneous impulses, perceiving the task as inherently incentivizing. On the other hand, explicit motives arise out of the external situation and are more deliberate than instinctive.

A person acting on an implicit motive will derive pleasure merely from completing the task. In contrast, a person working on an explicit motive will derive satisfaction from the boost in self-image and the ego boost on the successful completion of the task.

A research study by Teresa Amabile found that intrinsic motivation can enhance creativity, the extrinsic motivation can impact creativity negatively. Creative thinking thrives when individuals are intrinsically motivated and focused on their work and goals.

As parents, it is also essential to know what factors can hinder creativity in your kids. Factors that hamper creativity include surveillance, reward, expected evaluation, competition, extrinsic orientation, and restricted choice. All these factors reside outside of the individual and are extrinsic factors.

You can help your kid develop intrinsic motivation by constructing a supportive environment with opportunities for choice, self-expression, and time for making decisions. and psychological support.

If your kids display an innate talent for something, they may be termed gifted. Such gifted kids demonstrate strong intrinsic motivation towards their vocation. However, they may struggle to progress on things, not in their interest. They may also fear being isolated from their peers and resist exploring their chosen interest area to the fullest. So, reducing their isolation and helping them to overcome their fears and anxieties are some of the things you can consider doing. A favorable environment that helps gifted kids to develop a sense of pride in their achievements would also help them.

How Your Child Benefits

Now that you know that achievement motivation is essential and fosters creativity let’s look at how your kid would benefit from developing a sense of achievement motivation.

1. Kids become self-motivated and have greater control in their lives as they work toward goals they set for themselves.
2. Kids become result-oriented and focus on getting things done.
3. Individuals with achievement motivation, with their creativity and problem-solving mentality, impact society positively and lead more meaningful and purposeful lives.

Finally, we can say that achievement motivation is the driving force that provides the energy to individuals to accomplish their goals. As outlined above, if your kid needs to excel, the motives should come from within oneself. Creativity and drive should always come from within if you want to see your kids perform well in robotics programs, science, and mathematics. Extrinsic factors will take your kids only so far in their STEM learning journey.