Do you worry that your teen is having trouble staying motivated? Perhaps their grades have been slipping, yet they don’t seem particularly concerned about raising their GPA. Maybe they used to participate in sports, but now, they’ve started skipping practice or even quit a team. Or perhaps your teen used to be involved in lots of other extracurricular activities, like volunteering. Now, they would rather stay home, and they’ve been backing out of commitments they used to uphold.
You don’t want to push your teen. But you also want to help them feel motivated again so that they can reach their goals and develop a strong work ethic that will serve them well in adulthood. Here are a few strategies that can help you boost your teen’s motivation.
1. llustrate Why Motivation Is Important
Right now, your teen might feel like motivation doesn’t mean much in the long run. Maybe they’ve been discouraged by some setbacks at school or in an extracurricular, and they’re worried that working hard won’t pay off. It can be useful to talk to your teen about your own past experiences with motivation, and how it fuels discipline.
You may want to discuss instances when you had to draw on your motivation to get a promotion, land a new job that you wanted, save up for a major goal like buying a house, or even succeed in a sport that you loved. You can also share examples of motivation from the lives of other adults that your teen looks up to.
2. Set Up Realistic Systems
Discipline and motivation go hand in hand. Motivation on its own doesn’t mean much without discipline. You can help your teen channel their motivation into concrete action by setting up systems and routines for your household.
For example, this could include ensuring your teen completes their homework before using their smartphone when coming home from school. It could also mean having your teen sign up for one extracurricular at a time so that they can explore their passions and interests without overloading their schedule. You could even make time to work out with your teen! Think about how you can support your teen on their journey towards becoming more motivated, and incorporate these routines into your own schedule.
3. Provide Rewards That Matter
Sometimes, teens feel unmotivated because they feel like their efforts aren’t rewarded. Alternatively, they might feel like the “rewards” don’t matter much. While your teen might hear you say that getting good grades is important, they might not see the impact just yet because their future career path seems so far away.
You may want to think about some potential rewards that could motivate your teen. This might mean setting a certain standard for their grades and planning a fun activity if their grades improve. Think about what would mean the most to your teen, and what makes them feel excited.
4. Suggest Therapy
What if you’re concerned that your teen’s lack of motivation isn’t just a minor bump in the road? If you’ve noticed that your teen seems to be struggling with symptoms of a mental health condition like anxiety or depression, you may want to think about reaching out to a therapist. It can be a little nerve-wracking to talk about therapy with your teen, especially if you’re worried that they’ll push back on the idea. However, many teens end up finding enjoyment in therapy, as it gives them a place to be authentic while working on their goals.
Is your teen struggling to stay motivated? Working with a therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session.