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4 Ways to Motivate Your Teen


When parents constantly step and rescue their teen’s from failing they undermine their teenager’s ability to grow up and progress. No parent wants to see their kids fail, but it is through failure that we grow and learn to improve.

If your teen chooses not to study for an exam and fails they are more likely to be motivated next time. Parents can maximize these opportunities by asking questions rather than giving lectures. Discuss with your teen how they feel about the outcome, what they might do different next time, and ask if there is anything they need from you to help them.


It is not always the case that teenagers don’t do things because they are not motivated, often they fail to follow through simply because they forget. The reality is teenagers, particularly younger ones, are hardwired to forget. Their brains are reforming and haven’t yet got all the bits joined up.

With all the stuff going on in their life it is very easy for teenagers to get distracted and forget. They need help to remember what they committed to do and to get organized.

It is important to point out that constant verbal reminders from parents, also referred to as nagging, is not the solution. If you nag your teenager, you make it about your agenda and about keeping you happy. This does not help your teenager’s motivation; in fact nagging is a great demotivator.

Teaching your teens to be organized and remember is part of what parent’s need to do. Work with your teen to develop methods of remembering that don’t require you to be involved.

  • Use visual aids such as charts, colour coded rosters or timetables, and place them in obvious places.
  • Help your teen create routines in their weeks that help them to establish patterns.
  • Leave little hints around the house about a task that needs to be completed
  • Get them to use an App or program on their computer, phone, or ipod as part of the reminding process.

Sometimes it is the size of the task that teenagers find hard. It isn’t that they don’t want to do it, but rather they don’t know where to start and it all looks to hard.

If your teen is putting off getting started, it can sometimes be helpful to sit down with them to find out how they are feeling about getting it done. Do they know where to start? Do they feel like they will never be able to do it so can’t be bothered starting? Maybe they feel scared about failing?

Whatever the reason, offering to help your teen think through a process for getting the job done could be just the thing they need.

Break the task up into a series of smaller achievable tasks with shorter deadlines.  Teenagers often struggle with long term planning, but respond well to more immediate time horizons. By helping your teen come up with a series of small steps, you empower them to work their way through the task.

Sometimes it might be worth getting your teen to think of little rewards they could give themselves after each mini milestone is reached.

This method can be applied to school projects, sporting or artistic goals, jobs around the home, fixing relationships, future careers or even moving out of home.


This motivational principle applies to people of all ages, not just teens. Most people are more motivated to do something fun rather than something boring.

Fun is the key ingredient to getting teens active and motivated to participate in social activities. If you want your teen to get out of the house, get active, and make new friends, then explore with them what activities it is they enjoy doing and encourage them to do it. Remember what you enjoy may not be what your teen enjoys. Be sure to show interest and value whatever it is that your teen considers interesting and fun.

Teenager’s, particularly boys, respond to competition. No matter how menial the task, any job can be transformed into a passion filled activity if there is a competitive aspect involved. Competition doesn’t always require having others to compete against, sometimes young people respond to the challenge to better their own previous efforts.

If your teenager can learn something by playing games, watching a movie, or searching the Internet then encourage them to do it. Using technology as part of any task makes it instantly more appealing to young people today.


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