For Andrea, it’s a constant challenge to stay motivated. Mundane tasks and chores like cleaning, preparing meals, laundry, and mediating her children’s conflicts, drain her. Eventually Andrea decided to take more of an interest in her day-to-day activities. As she changed her mind set, Andrea began finding joy in her responsibilities as a mother. The decision to change her view helped her achieve higher motivation and to realize what she does has value.

Today’s families battle countless issues impeding participation in recreation. Family leisure is often a time to introduce challenging opportunities, thereby increasing family functioning through interaction, communication, and cohesion. Challenging each individual child in family settings where family members range in all levels of ability may be a difficult task, however, it is critical to continue challenge activities because they strengthen family relationships.

Perseverance through difficult challenges can make difficult experiences highly enjoyable. Challenging activities are excellent sources of togetherness, thereby strengthening family bonding. Research indicates, “the more time a family spends together participating in recreational activities, the higher the degree of family cohesiveness.” Difficult experiences, especially when children have the choice to participate and responsibility in planning, can have a more positive effect on the child.

Power to choose engenders willingness to participate and increased enjoyment in activities. However, when individuals are confronted with many obstacles and few choices, they must learn to negotiate or overcome those challenges. Use of negotiation strategies positively motivates participation on more and different levels. Clearly, negotiation strategies and motivation levels are crucial factors in shaping leisure participation. The power to overcome constraints and adjust to difficult circumstances helps individual family members feel empowered to freely participate.

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