Motivating Lazy Children And The Lazy Gene


lazy childrenAre children born lazy or do they become lazy? Are couch potatoes born or bred? These questions are rather hard to answer but new genetic studies have come to light giving the whole nature versus nurture debate a new twist.

It is likely that children are lazy because of a combination of genes, upbringing and their environment. It is not unusual to note that often overweight children also have overweight parents. This trend is likely explained by the fact that generally children eat the same food as their parents and plod along in their same foots steps. If parents encourage unhealthy eating and a sedentary life, then it is likely that their children will also live that very same lifestyle. Laziness does not only include eating habits but studying and a general aversion to anything that involves more effort than moving from the dinner table to the couch.

Learning and the Lazy Child

Motivating your child to get moving and follow a healthy eating plan is one challenge and studying is another. However, the two are actually linked. Unqualified individuals are at a disadvantage when it comes to employment but overweight people are even more at a disadvantage. Several studies cited in Dailymail and The Independent have shown that larger framed people have diminished employment prospects and further more get lower salaries. This is both due to appearances (employers prefer more attractive people) as well as the perception, often unconscious, that fat people are lazy.

Children can be motivated to learn but first and foremost we need to investigate the reason behind their aversion to studying. Material might actually be hard for the child and different children have different learning abilities. Don’t discount the fact that your child might be good in art or writing or might enjoy home economics and detest math’s. Encourage them to excel at that which they are good at and enjoy.

One rule of thumb: lazy children often lack confidence. They are often told off or made to feel stupid for not being good at sciences but never praised for their exceptional skills at drawing. The thought of failure stunts and scares a demotivated child. They are often scared of the embarrassment and the feeling of inferiority which ensue. They will therefore do anything within their power to avoid failure and one coping strategy is laziness.

Keep in mind the child’s environments too: are they being picked on? Do they perhaps have some eye sight problem or hearing problem which you have overseen? Perhaps the child is dyslexic. Are there many distractions around them?

The Lazy Gene

Studies about lazy genes have been confined to mice. But a number of DNA tests have been carried out on these creatures whose DNA is so similar to human DNA. The study involved genetic selection and breeding of active mice versus mice that appeared less active and lazy. Genetic analysis did find a correlation between genes and the mice that loved being on the go. They in fact confirmed that activity-promoting genes were present in 75% of the mice that enjoyed being active. Further to this, they removed the genes which they found to be responsible for activity in mice- removing the genes resulted in less activity. It is likely that couch potatoes have a missing gene. However, laziness is also a learned behavior – lazy people enjoy the benefits they derive from being lazy and cushy. The more they come to repeat and make their lazy lifestyle a routine, the more likely they are to become unmotivated.

Helen McArthur is a part time free lance writer specializing in pregnancy and prenatal care. Helen worked as a nurse in the prenatal care unit for several years before putting her career on hold to look after her kids. A number of articles by the author can be found in the article repository for:

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