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How to Teach Teenagers to be Motivated

By Eliza Martinez ; Updated June 13, 2017

Teenagers often lack motivation for doing things they dislike, even if you notice motivation in other areas. Children in their teen years may suffer from issues with self-esteem, freedom and new and unfamiliar experiences. In some cases, teens lack the motivation to do chores and complete schoolwork due to this uncertainty. Helping your teen become self-motivated will serve her now and throughout her life.

Introducing Motivation

According to Sylvia Artmann, author of "Called to Teach: A Guidebook for the Journey," teaching motivation to your teen involves giving him the desire to do things he might not want to do. For example, if your teen avoids homework, teaching him to understand the importance and benefits of completing schoolwork may motivate him to get it done. To do this, parents and teachers need to make the undesired actions more fun and interesting. For example, if your teen is into skateboarding, use it to explain physics problems. Getting him excited by using his hobbies and interests may be enough to get him through homework. Once your teen sees the results of self-motivation, he'll be more likely to motivate himself in the future.

Clubs and Groups

Teens who become involved in clubs and groups with other teens are likely to become self-motivated, reports the Public School Review. Being accountable to show up for group meetings, whether as a football player or a member of the debate club, motivates a teen to take responsibility, which carries over into other areas because she will feel good about the results of being motivated. Summer camps, teen classes at the recreation center, church youth groups and mentoring clubs are other good ways to involve teens in situations and events where they must self-motivate to meet their obligations.

Postive Reinforcement

Many teens don't respond well to criticism or punishment because they are at an age when self-esteem tends to be fragile, making it easy to embarrass them. Celebrating and making a big deal out of successes and instances of good motivation is an ideal way to keep teens motivated. For example, if your teen hates cleaning her room, but gets it done, you might reward her with tickets to a movie or a gift card for new clothes or music. If your teen studies and gets a good grade on an exam, expressing pride in her hard work and rewarding her with dinner out or a sleepover with friends may be enough to motivate her next time a test is looming.

Making a Plan and Setting Goals

While teens are nearing their independence, most still need adult guidance in many areas. Helping your teen make a plan for getting things done, whether chores or homework, and setting goals that get him there, is a good way to motivate him on his own. Have your teen create a time schedule that maps out when he will study, when he will do chores and when he will hang out with friends and spend time with family. This holds him accountable for getting things done in the allotted time frame, which increases motivation as he reaches his goals and sticks to his plan.

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