Most parents think that the way to motivate children is to combine strategies; tell them to do their homework, raise our voice while telling them to do their homework, saying something to make them feel guilty, setting consequences or pointing our finger at them with determination to let them know we are really serious. 

We easily forget that our real goal is to have our children develop ambition that comes from the inside, rather than being moved by outside forces. One tool for developing ambition is to tell your child or teen one minute stories of your personal ambition or another person’s ambition that paid off. This strategy avoids power struggles and creates internal motivation through inspiration. The reason to keep it to one minute is because your child may not pay attention any longer than that and one minute is sufficient to get the message across!

An example of a one minute story of ambition I share with my clients is the time I was in high school and went to a friend’s house and noticed she had a schedule of study hours hanging on her bedroom door. She studied a lot—she even studied on Saturdays! I was inspired by her ambition, organization and use of effective strategies. I began using her strategies, studying on Saturdays, but more importantly felt the inner motor of ambition driving me toward my own goals. Ambition drives kids of all ages to succeed, focus and work at achieving their goals. One minute can make a big difference in kids’ lives!

What stories can you tell about moments that inspired you to become ambitious?

Dr. Lara Honos-Webb is the author of The Gift of ADHD, The Gift of ADHD Activity Book, The Gift of Adult ADD, The ADHD Workbook for Teens and Listening to Depression. Learn more about her work at

I also have A Gift of ADHD facebook page —


About the Author

Dr. Lara Honos-Webb

Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and author of multiple books.

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