By Teen Coach: Melanie Black
Do the words, “ whatever,” and “I don’t care” sound familiar? Motivating teens can be challenging and frustrating. In life coaching we discuss three motivation styles.
Conditional vs. Intrinsic
Motivation away from bad stuff vs. Motivation toward good stuff
Motivation for the sake of self vs. other
When teens become self-aware of their motivation styles they can more easily use the ones that work best for them. This makes them more confident, successful, and less stressed.
What can parents do?
Talk about their teen’s “why,” their long-term goals. Ask them what they want to become in the future. Sometimes it is hard for a teen to understand why they have to write that history research paper with bibliography when they don’t care about history. Parents can simply say, “Well, you need history and school if you want to graduate.” Graduation is not about obtaining a piece of paper. People who hire you want to know that you have grit and aren’t a quitter. Help them keep the big picture in mind as much as possible. “You have to do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.” Josh Shipp
Sit down together and create systems for things. Life is overwhelming. Teens are stressed about everything they have to do. So when you tell them to clean their room they roll their eyes it is probably because that is the least of their concerns. Often teens keep their to do list in their head. Looking at a planner system together is a great way to motivate your teen and relieve everyone’s stress. When they can see a visual representation of time it is helpful. If they feel confident about getting everything done then they will be motivated to do it.
Consequences of failure and mistakes are hard to accept and can make us unmotivated. When your teen feels low because they have not done well it is important to try to lift them up. Help them remember a struggle they had that they overcame. Ask them how they accomplished that victory. How did they stay motivated? Share a victory story of your own. Teens like to know parents are not perfect. Ask them if there is something they want to do differently in the future to avoid the mistake or failure.
Experiences are a great motivator. Giving your teen an experience related to their future goals or current interests will be beneficial to their success. They will thank you!