Raising Hard Workers: Tips for Helping Lazy Teens Be Productive

It can seem like every time you take your eye off of your teen, they are playing on their phone or taking their fifth nap that day. Lazy teens are nothing new, but it can seem like there is even more to distract modern teens from the things they should be doing.

Here at Liahona Treatment Center, we have helped many formerly lazy teens become more productive, and we want to give you some tips that may help you get your teen up and working.

Take Time To Explain Why Your Teen Should Do Something

Teens often resist doing something they don’t want to by asking why they should do what you told them to do. As a frustrated parent, it can be tempting to tell your teen, “Because I said so,” but we recommend you avoid giving in to temptation.

Learning how to develop internal motivation—aka a work ethic—is an important pillar of teenage independence. Even if your teen did listen and do what you said just because you told them to, it isn’t enough as they move into adulthood. With internal motivation, your teen will learn to navigate why they should do something even if it isn’t all that enjoyable.

So, say that you ask your teen to do their laundry. You teen challenges you and says, “Why should I do my laundry?” Inherent in the question is why you aren’t just doing it for them.

Instead of saying, “Because I said so,” take a moment and explain. Maybe their laundry pile is close to overtaking their room, or maybe you want them to get in the habit of regularly doing laundry. By taking a couple of minutes to explain why, you may prevent them from bringing mountains of their dirty laundry home on breaks from college.

Avoid Nagging—Opt For Natural Consequences

When it comes to lazy teens, it can feel like the only way anything gets done is if you nag them constantly. But nagging often just sets your teen’s back up, and teenagers will often dig in and recommit to not doing what you asked.

Instead of nagging, be sure your teen knows what the natural consequences are to skipping their tasks and allow the consequences to set in. For instance, say your teen doesn’t do their laundry after you explain why they should. Instead of you giving in and doing it for them, let the natural consequences set in.

This may mean your teen wears dirty clothes, which can feel embarrassing for you as their parent. But, your teen will often feel the consequences more clearly, as often their peers and friends have no problem telling them that they smell and need to do laundry.

Determine If It Is Laziness Or Lack Of Knowledge

There are some instances where what appeared to be a teen procrastinating or being lazy, it is simply a lack of knowledge. Most teens feel acutely uncomfortable admitting they don’t know something, and many prefer to pretend that they have everything in hand.

So, as you take the time to explain why your teen should do something, you may want to ask if they know how, especially when it comes to homework assignments. Teens may delay attempting their homework assignments when they feel overwhelmed or if they aren’t sure how to do it. Some of the lack of knowledge may be due to inattention during school or simply poor teaching.

By taking some time to discuss your teen’s assignment, you can make yourself more available if they do need help with comprehension. Just avoid giving in and doing the work for your teen, as that will only teach them to delay long enough to make you do it.

Break Down Tasks Into Manageable Chunks

As an adult, you have learned how to almost automatically break your work into manageable tasks, allowing you to complete things in a timely manner. But what many parents forget, making a large task into smaller undertakings is a learned skill and not generally an inherent talent.

Say that your teen has a presentation to do that requires a good amount of research. Your teen may not even know what they want to present on, let alone a reasonable pace for completing their work. Rather than catch your teen scrambling the night before, help your teen set a time table for their work so that they can see how much easier it is to break work into manageable tasks.

Choose Resources To Help Support Your Teen

Sometimes teens need more help than you can provide on your own. This help may come in the form of tutors to help your teen catch up on academics or a mental health specialist.

For those troubled teens who have fallen behind their peer group and haven’t thrived with your local resources, a residential treatment center like Liahona Treatment Center may be what they need. With our immersive therapeutic environment, strong academic program, and experienced staff, troubled teenage boys learn to move forward positively again.

If you are interested in our program for your teenage son, feel free to contact us today. We will be happy to address any questions you may have and see if your son can benefit from attending our residential treatment center.

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