“Turn the music down!”
“Clean your room.”
“Do your homework.”
“Have you done your chores?”
“Not until you’ve done your…”
No one appreciates nagging. If you cringed a little bit reading that list, you probably grew up hearing things like that. You might have even promised yourself that nothing like that would ever come out of your mouth.
How do you motivate a teenager?
The reality is, if you’re the parent of a teenager, you’ve probably already used a variation or two of these very words, even despite the best of intentions.
Why? Likely it’s because at some point you were just too tired or too stressed to figure out the alternatives. It just seemed more natural to tell your teen to ‘do’ rather than giving them the gentle push they needed that would have made them choose that action for themselves.
Believe it or not, there is a better way – that is motivating your teen. These tips really do give you a better chance of raising teenagers who are happy and successful.
Try not to nag and instead focusing on the positive ways in which you can encourage your teen. You will find that your child comes away more motivated and excited about their lives in general. What’s more, you’ll build a positive relationship with your teen that you can enjoy in the years to come.
So here are our 5 tips on motivating your teen without being a nag.
- Start by being the voice of reason in the middle of the storm.
When a teen is stressed and overwhelmed, at best they’ll shut down. At worst, they’re likely to make a series of decisions leading to disaster. When they hit this panic, it falls to you to still the chaos.
Ask what they need and how they can help rather than jumping in with a rapid-fire set of instructions. Once they are calm, they will be better able to make their own decisions.
2. Give your teen clarity so that they can see themselves for who they truly are.
Teens typically have a pretty skewed vision of themselves and don’t often see the things that their parents do. Ask the questions that guide them to start seeing their strengths and talents.
Prod these things into the spotlight and then show them how they can use these skills to solve the problem at hand.
3. Become a researcher and guidance counselor rolled into one.
Rather than giving your teenager the options, show them where to find them. Talk to them about their goals and then discuss ways to find the information needed to make them a reality.
Encourage them to talk to mentors and counselors at school to guide them on this path of discovery.
4. Become a brainstorming buddy.
When your teen gets stuck, instead of jumping in to tell them what to do, set up a session where the two of you can throw out ideas without censoring yourselves until you find a solution that sticks.
5. Become a cheerleader.
Praise efforts and celebrate successes. It feels so much better than hassling your teen for the things left undone, or the failures they’ve met along the way.
Teenagers often have big dreams. They may seem outlandish to us, but dreaming big is a wonderful trait. In fact, I bet a few of us wish we had never stopped dreaming big. If you want to foster that type of big thinking, then check out this article:
How to motivate your teenager to do well in school
Here is something that many of us know, but tend to ignore – some children aren’t interested in school. Your teens may be the most important years, but if you are not motivated then that can result in wasted time.
If you want your teenager to do well in school you have to work out how to get them motivated to study.
Studies show that rewards and punishments work in the short term, but not in the long term. Your teenager may react to other methods.
There are many teenagers making a very good legitimate living in a wide variety of areas. Taking an active part in their hobbies and interests may well open your eyes into their world. Perhaps you can demonstrate how they can combine their education with their particular love.
Lou Holtz is one of the most successful football coaches ever. As a college head coach, part of his job was to help mold teenagers into adults. He knows a thing or two about that! In this book he shares his commonsense message to all the teens out there.
How to motivate a lazy teenager
The teenage years can be a period of frustration for both parent and teen. In some cases this is a matter of misunderstanding. If we take the time to look at things rationally, we can see that there are ways to approach the teenage years.
An excellent example is how to handle lazy teenager. The perception of the lazy teenager vs frustrated parent is often seen as real. In reality this is greatly misunderstood.
Teens need more sleep because their bodies and minds are growing quickly. Scientific research shows that many teens do not get enough sleep.
The recommended amount of shut-eye for children ages 14 to 17 is between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every day. The truth is that most teens need far more sleep than they are actually getting.
How do you deal with a difficult teenager?
One of parenting’s hardest question is how to deal with a difficult teenager?
Teenagers are difficult – it’s in the job description! If they don’t rebel at all now, they can’t forge their own identity and go on to lead an independent life.
In fact a teenage “mini-you” can even signal danger ahead, because being a rebel in later life is much riskier.
Having said that, of course there have to be boundaries:
Rule One: Try to see life from a teen point of view. For a start, teenagers do actually need more sleep than an adult does.
They are experiencing hormone storms and disturbance to their body chemistry. (Adolescent boys may be at their grumpiest at breakfast because of a testosterone surge: it’s the wrong time to tell them off!)
If they are rude to you – and for a son or daughter aged 14 Mum can even do wrong by pouring out the cornflakes – mention it later, and agree ways to avoid rows first thing in the morning. Tell them how it makes you feel.
Rule Two: If a teenager gets in trouble with authority make sure you hear their side of the story. Put yourself in their shoes before you rush to judgement. Then you can point out where they went wrong and how they can best deal with it.
Teens are hugely sensitive to humiliation. When forced to apologize they appreciate it being taken graciously.
A teenage boy whose voice has just broken cannot always control how loud he is. He isn’t even sure where his feet are when he’s just had a growth spurt.
Basically, he will be getting told off all day long for being noisy and clumsy. Girls are dealing with new physical discomforts that often involve real pain.
Rule Three: Don’t be afraid to apologize. Admit that you were partly in the wrong. This is being a good role model.
Rule Four: When you need a chore done, don’t just give an order – ask for help and co-operation. Thank and praise.
Rule Five: Love the teen you’ve got, not a vision based on the neighbour’s child who plays in a band, goes to three sports practices a week, gets straight As and wakes up at 5:am to go running. The likelihood is they are probably quite exhausting.
The bottom line when it comes to handling difficult teenagers is that you will need patience and tolerance. So remember to:
- Pay Attention.
- Don’t Make Excuses.
- Recognize Achievements.
- Celebrate Strengths.
- Never Give Up.