One problem that a lot of ADHD children have is that they and the adults in their lives disagree about the meanings of words, and neither side realizes that they do. One such word is “motivation.”
Motivation exists on a spectrum. At one side we have “No, I have no intention of doing this thing, I don’t want to and I don’t see any reason I need to.”
Then we get to, “Yes, I want to do to it.” Then comes, “It’s important.” At the far end of the motivation spectrum comes, “This is literally the most important thing in the world and I might literally die if I don’t do it right now.”
The adults, when they talk about children needing motivation, believe that the children need to move from “no” to “yes.” The ADHD child, however, is typically already at yes. The child understands why the task needs to get done, or at least understands that doing the task will result in positive consequences.
Unfortunately, “Yes” isn’t enough motivation for us to do most tasks. Because our brain’s organization is run through the emotional center of the brain, we literally can’t do anything that requires real mental effort without an emotional connection to the task. So, unless the task is inherently fun, we need to get to “important” or possibly “life and death” levels of motivation to actually get it done.
So, the adult says, “You need motivation.”
The child hears, “You need to work yourself up to a panic again, even though you’re exhausted because we do this shit multiple times a day every day of the week.”
So, “motivation” becomes a dirty word.