Raising Motivated Kids: Inspiring Enthusiasm for a Great Start in Life Book Review

The book Raising Motivated Kids: Inspiring Enthusiasm for a Great Start in Life is a helpful guide for parents, especially new ones, to learn how to motivate their children. The author, Cheri Fuller, lays out the book in an easy to read segmented format. There are three parts to the book. Part 1 is the building blocks of motivation, which includes four different building blocks: relationship, a good example, expectations, and a healthy perspective. Part 2 is the motivation boosters which include five different boosters: patience, storytelling, developing curiosity, learning about the world, and the attitudes of responsibility and optimism. Part 3 is the motivation busters which include four different busters: perfectionism, attention problems, single-parent families, and burnout. Fuller does an excellent job at providing real life examples to demonstrate key concepts for parents to grasp easier while backing up her anecdotes with relevant credible sources.

Fuller has already published forty two books (Fuller, 2011). She is “an award-winning author, speaker, and mother of three grown children” (Fuller, 2004, p. 173). She has spoken to many different groups of people around the world, including “parents, teachers, and mothers’ and women’s groups” along with appearing on “national radio and TV programs” (Fuller, 2004, p. 173). She has also written hundreds of articles for magazines (Fuller, 2004, p. 173). “Through her engaging storytelling style and practical wisdom, audiences leave inspired and challenged to face life’s struggles with hope and purpose” (Fuller, 2011). Fuller is well received.

Fuller is a bit biased when it comes to religion. She likes to incorporate God into her teachings and takes a slightly religious view even in her non-religion based books, such as this one on motivation. This could be due in part by where she lives, Oklahoma, or her community. Her background and experiences helped to shape the conclusions reached. Fuller “has worked with children for over thirty years and lives with her husband in Oklahoma” (Fuller, 2004, p. 173). Fuller is not considered an expert in the field, but she is a knowledgeable woman who has a lot of experience to pull from. Cheri Fuller does not have the credentials to adequately back up her work so she quotes numerous creditable sources, including doctors, magazines, books, and personal interviews to name a few, to back up her claims. Fuller relies on her expert sources to back up her personal experiences and anecdotes. Cheri Fuller’s point of view is from a mother/grandmother, teacher from elementary school to college, speaker, and author (Fuller, 2004, p. 173). Cheri Fuller is an excellent author that connects well with the reader on a personal level and keeps the reader interested while imparting invaluable wisdom.

Cheri Fuller’s thesis when writing this book is that children are capable of becoming motivated individuals in many different aspects of life (home, school, church, chores, and responsibilities), parents just need the right tools to help them succeed (Fuller, 2004, p. 17). The tools are the building blocks of motivation and the motivation boosters. The key to motivation is success, and success leads to further success. It’s a spiral effect of momentum. Fuller thought, “How can we-parents and teachers- help kids stay motivated to meet the challenges that lie ahead? How can we equip them to realize all of their wonderful plans?” (Fuller, 2004, p. 12). Parents need to nurture their children in the proper ways in order to motivate them.

Fuller highlights motivation in three main sections of the book: the building blocks of motivation, motivation boosters, and motivation busters. With these tools that she lays out, along with real life examples that she has encountered from her own family and others, and citations from scientific research from sixty six sources to support her claims, parents will be better able to motivate their children knowing they have quality information coming to them from reliable sources. The first building block is developing a good relationship with your child. It is very important for parents and children to bond over a common interest. “The child starved for love, acceptance, and attention from her parents has scant energy to face the challenges of school and life” (Fuller, 2004, p. 22). Once emotional needs are met and a good relationship is formed between parent and child then progress in other areas of life can be made.

The second building block is setting a good example for your children. Children model their parents’ behavior. “Countless studies show that whether it has to do with dietary habits, manners, drug use, physical violence, or treating people kindly, one of the major factors that influences children’s behavior is parental example” (Fuller, 2004, p. 32). Children learn most from their parents’ example.

The third building block is having high expectations of your children. “Kids who succeed and overcome obstacles in school and life usually have one experience in common: They have at least one person in their life who had high expectations for them and provided support and structure for their dreams” (Fuller, 2004, p. 37). High realistic goals need to be set for children to accomplish so that they can succeed in life.

And the forth building block is having a healthy perspective. Instead of focusing on the grades being brought home, focus should be on “the content of what is being learned” (Fuller, 2004, p. 61). Children should be made to value the knowledge acquired rather than the grade.

Many of Fuller’s claims are backed up not only by numerous references but also by other books that I have read. Storytelling is a great tool to use when raising children. Storytelling “helps us feel we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. Being a part of a larger whole is very motivating…When we’re living and working in the context of a larger story, we’re more motivated to persevere-no matter what the task-because we have a sense of the importance of our own small role in the larger story” (Fuller, 2004, p. 79). This coincides with another book that states that storytelling “reinforces close relationships as parents and children share experiences” (Brooks, 2011, p. 131). Storytelling with children is a great thing to start when they are young and continue doing throughout their childhood. “Storytelling also has amazing motivational power when we are inspired by other people’s journeys of overcoming obstacles, working hard, and obtaining rewards” (Fuller, 2004, p. 80). Too many parents today fail to tell their children stories. History is becoming lost and children are not learning what they are capable of due to inspiration from others’ tales not being told. Communication is what helps to bring people closer together. Another good example is that children model off of their parents. “Role modeling is a powerful motivator because the number one way kids learn is by imitation. So one of your most powerful tools in guiding and motivating them is setting a good example” (Fuller, 2004, p. 32). This coincides with another book stating the same thing, “children copy what they see others do and…they copy what they think others have done” (Brooks, 2011, p. 134). Children are sponges just soaking up what they see others doing, that is how they learn. If a parent tells them to go exercise but just sits on the couch all day they are more likely to do what they see the parent doing rather than what the parent told them to do. Setting a good example is beneficial to both parent and child to be the best person they can be.

However, I feel that a good point to bring up is that sometimes you see what your parents are doing and make it a point to not do what they did, you learn from their mistakes. For example, when children are a little bit older they might vow to never smoke cigarettes like their father does because they see what negative consequences it has on his health. But when children are younger they think their parents are always right and know everything so they assume they should be like them. Therefore it is especially important when children are younger to display good behavior for them to model.

The author makes it sound easier than it is to motivate children. I do not have children of my own yet, but from my experience it is not easy to change people. Real life examples are fairly convincing but they are chosen to highlight a point, even if they may be the exception to the majority. The author’s sources are creditable and numerous (66 sources); she has quotes from the U.S. Department of Education, publications, radio programs, doctors, interviews, and many others. She backs up all of her claims with anecdotes and creditable sources, which are necessary. There are numerous books on how to motivate your child, just by searching “how to motivate your child” on Amazon resulted in 71 results. This is a common topic that more people need to be knowledgeable on.

One thing Fuller mentioned was to not incentivize your children monetarily for doing things. I disagree. When I was in elementary school, my mother incentivized me with a dime for every person I had a conversation with throughout the day at school for a few weeks as a way to get me talking to people because I was very shy. This helped me get out of my comfort zone. I think sometimes there needs to be an outside reward as a motivation booster to help you make that leap and make it even more beneficial for you to accomplish your goal. For example, working out for my own personal happiness and health is good, but working out until I meet my goal and then on top of being physically fit another reward I give myself is to buy a dress to celebrate is even better. Sometimes there needs to be little extra rewards in life to help accomplish goals. To resolve this conflict I would say that each parent would tailor the advice in the book to their own unique child. Some child this advice will work for and for others it won’t. When information conflicts, which it does a lot of the time, you decide what is best for your own personal situation.

I think there could have been a better selection of motivation busters. Most kids do not have problems with motivation due to perfectionism, attention problems, single-parent families, or burnout. I think a lot of kids just expect adults to do things for them and that they will get away with it because they are young.

There is also nothing in the book about conflict with your children. What if the child says no to storytelling time or learning about the world? There is no backup option, which is necessary because children are unpredictable and do not always do what they are told. There should have been a section on argumentative children.

Another anecdote the author tells is of children who would not get up in the morning when their mother went in to wake them up. Her answer was simply to get them an alarm clock to motivate them to get up on time. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims. And personally, that would not have worked for me and probably not for a lot of other children either. They would simply turn off the alarm clock and go back to bed. I enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it to others because it is a good starting point on how to motivate young children. Previous ideas I had on motivating children were to give them good advice to help them succeed. I learned more about how children model after their parents and what you do is much more important than what you say. People need to practice what they preach. I also thought incentivizing them with external rewards was perfectly acceptable, which is not always the case. The book reinforced the knowledge I already had about being patient with children. I knew children love story telling but I did not realize how important it was. I would recommend newer parents to read this book before they start having problems with motivating their children. It would be easier to prevent children from becoming unmotivated than to try to fix it once it has happened. The book presents real life examples to demonstrate the key concepts and backs them up with creditable sources. This is a wonderful introductory motivational learning book for new parents.


Fuller, C. (2011). About Cheri. Cheri Fuller: Presenting life-changing inspiration and encouragement. Retrieved from http://www.cherifuller.com/index.php/about-cheri

Fuller, C. (2004). Raising Motivated Kids: Inspiring enthusiasm for a great start in life. Colorado Springs, CO: Piñon Press.

Brooks, J. (2011). The Process of Parenting. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Parenting ; Kids ; Family | Book Review

QR Code
QR Code raising_motivated_kids_inspiring_enthusiasm_for_a_great_start_in_life_book_review (generated for current page)