How To Motivate Your Teenager
Do you struggle to motivate your teenager?
Don’t worry if you do – you’re not alone!
After all, parenting isn’t easy – and it can get particularly difficult during the teenage years.
So, how do you get them motivated? How do you get them to pay attention and try harder at school? How do you get them to put more effort into homework and revision?
And just how do you get them to care about their futures as much as you do?
Well, if we had all the answers, we probably wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing now. We’d be sitting on a beach, sipping cocktails, counting the millions we’d earned from solving the problems of millions of parents the world over…
So, no, we haven’t got a water-tight, fool-proof set of genius answers – unfortunately.
But we have got a few great tips that we know work well…
Rewards and Sanctions
The go-to approach for many parents and teachers is some sort of system of rewards and punishments. Indeed, this is the cornerstone of most school behaviour policies.
The thing is – although the carrot and stick approach seems like a simple way to motivate teenagers – research shows that rewards and punishments don’t usually lead to long-term motivation.
It can have limited, short-term success and – for example – if your teen is currently in Year 11 and approaching their GCSEs, it might just be the thing to give them an incentive for ‘a final push’ before their exams.
However, on the flip side, use them too much and you run the risk of teaching your teenager that they only do something if there’s a reward at the end of it. The reward becomes an expectation.
And that’s a dangerous message to send out when all is said and done!
And, ideally, you want to motivate your teenager from Day 1 of Year 10 rather than just the last few weeks of Year 11. You want to instil in them a love of learning and taking on challenges.
It must come from them.
So, often a different approach is needed.
Inner Motivation is the Key
The secret to motivating your teenager is to fuel their self-motivation. The trick is to develop self-discipline.
The problem with micromanaging your teenager is it soon feels like nagging; the downside of giving pep talks is that they can quickly turn into lectures.
The problem comes with the territory. Most teenagers follow strict rules and schedules. To them, it can often feel like they have little control over their day-to-day routines. This all comes at a time in their lives when they are discovering their personality and developing their individuality.
Their desire for more autonomy and independence is only natural. When they don’t feel as if they are getting this, the result is that many teenagers feel powerless, frustrated, and unmotivated.
Want to know the secret to how to motivate your teenager? Give your teen autonomy
One great way of respecting your teen’s autonomy is to set rules, consequences, and routines together. Another way is to encourage open dialogue and communication. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say – even if it really isn’t what you want to hear!
Creating a positive environment in the home helps teenagers to feel understood rather than judged or criticised. Lack of confidence is often at the root of a lack of motivation. If your teenager is lacking either confidence or motivation in a particular subject, a tutor can be a great help. Get in touch with the TutorRight team to find out more.