A lack of motivation is one of the most frequently heard complaints that parents have about their teens. If you’ve been struggling to get your teen motivated and focused, there are a few things that you can try.
Understanding why the lack of motivationBefore you can work to motivate your teen, it can help to learn more about why teens are often unmotivated in some or all areas of their lives. There could be a few reasons for you to consider.
A lack of motivation could be your teen’s way of trying to do things his way. He’s motivated, to resist the way that you want him to do something. Teens who feel like they are not in control may resist going to school, doing homework, doing household chores, and fighting being involved with the rest of the family.
Your teen may be struggling with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and unresolved trauma. It can be challenging to find the motivation you need to do well in school when your mental health is not where it could be.
How can you motivate your teen?Yelling, punishing, and taking a hard stand is not likely to work to help get your teen motivated in the right way. So how then do you motivate your teen? How can you get him to get up off of the couch or break away from the video games that are otherwise keeping him from what should be a priority?
First, consider that your teen isn’t truly unmotivated in all areas of his life. He’s not necessarily unmotivated to focus on things outside of his video games, sports, and friends. He is motivated there. Here are some tips to encourage motivation in other areas:
- Pay attention and listen to what he’s saying. What interests your teen? Where are his passions? Is he struggling at school or with peers? If your teen is unmotivated to do certain tasks, perhaps there is a reason for this.
- Be his biggest supporter and fan. Teens need to feel supported and to know that someone believes in them.
- Remind your teen that you genuinely want him to do better for his own good and for his own future. Don’t argue, don’t raise your voice, and don’t lose your temper. Your teen is unlikely to feel driven to find his motivation if he’s feeling put down.
- Discuss with him the importance of being motivated and achieving goals.
- Offer your teen choices so that he can get some type of control back.
- Talk to your teen about breaking bigger tasks and projects into smaller and more manageable tasks. Insurmountable tasks can be manageable if you just chip away at them versus trying to tackle them simultaneously. Create a workable roadmap to goals. Teens can often be unmotivated because they don’t yet have the skills needed to focus on their goals. Work with your teen to create goals and a roadmap with realistic milestones.
- With an idea of what does interest him, work on motivators and rewards for your teen when he achieves his goals.
- Be aware of how much screen time he’s getting. Gadgets and smartphones are simply a part of our lives today. However, if your teen isn’t motivated to get his schoolwork done, perhaps limit his recreational time on his tablet or gaming console.
- Set up an environment that will encourage growth and foster the right type of motivation in your teen. The proper structure is important, as is demonstrating motivation to your teen. So be sure you practice what you preach.
If you’ve tried a range of things to try and get your teen back on a motivated track, it might be time to consider a boarding school that can offer teens the correct type of help. Sometimes, try as you might, the best solution is to place teens into an environment that allows them a fresh start as they work hard to refocus and get the motivation they need.