Motivating Teens – 5 tips

Help your Teen, Adolescent, or Child find Motivation to Succeed

Motivating Teens is a topic that concerns a lot of parents. When I was a teen, I struggled with finding the motivation to do homework, study for tests and exams, go to school, go to soccer practice, do chores around the house; really anything.

It appeared as though when faced with any type of task (even the ones I enjoyed doing), it became this long drawn out battle between whoever was trying to get me to oblige and myself (sorry Mom and Dad). Does this sound like a normal occurrence in your household?

Motivating Teens to Succeed

Motivating Teens with Inspirational Quotes

A tactic I frequently would try was to look up motivational quotes. I loved the way their eloquent phrases danced out of my mouth and their supposed meaning fluttered through my head. I was infatuated by their articulacy and could not take my eyes of the pages and pages I was delving into- especially when an assignment was due very soon. For a split second I felt I could conquer the world, and thus (obviously) needed to find more motivational quotes.

There was the “angsty” type: “You are a victim of the rules you live by” (Jenny Holzer).

The find your inner cheerleader: “The desire for success should be greater than the fear of failure”

The classic Gandhi: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

And, the ever so wise, Oprah Winfrey: “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”

The list goes on and on, but I digress, as I do not want you to be taken away as I have time and time again by their perfection.

Now since I have read thousands upon thousands of motivational quotes, you would think that I would be the motivation master. I am not. I can tell you though, that motivational quotes will do squat. That is not to say what these world-renowned people have to say is false, rather their motivation at the time of said quotes cannot be immediately transferred after reading. Alas, I repeat, motivational quotes will do squat.

My motivation to find motivation became procrastination — a very sneaky disguise, a common occurrence, and a success deterrent.

I have since noticed a simple trend looking back at my moments where I was able to find motivation. It is so simple that it was overlooked time and time again, and I am sure it has been a strategy overlooked by many parents and teens themselves. The moments where I found myself of true and pure motivation, I had an unwavering belief in my abilities to succeed. Believe in yourself. Simple as that.

Once I figured it out, and consciously began putting this strategy to use, I found my motivation increasing ten-fold. I wanted to see what I was capable of doing and the more I believed in myself, the more I found myself capable of. [Insert “and look at me now” moment]

I present a classic case of the “if only I had known then what I know now.” Alas, I urge you to learn from my misfortune (and of course my parent’s) and I offer you strategies to try with your child or teen to increase or find motivation.

5 Strategies to Increase or Find Motivation

  1. First and foremost, you must believe in yourself. That is, trust yourself to succeed, trust yourself to take the first step towards your goals, and believe that change is possible.
  2. Put your goals in perspective- write the end goal and list the steps to get there. Break down the goal as much as needed for you to feel confident and knowing of success in taking the steps as planned.
  3. Look at those small and big successes to find strategies that have worked in the past and expand upon them. Further, be sure to look at any and all accomplishments as successes (yes, even brushing your teeth twice a day). How were you able to get out of bed in the morning? How were you able to shower and get ready to proceed with the day? How were you able to finish that assignment early that one time?
  4. Do not be afraid of change. It is a funny paradox where the one thing most people want in life is for things to change; yet it is the one thing that terrifies most. Being open to change will allow a freedom to express motivation and cross the bridge to success.
  5. (And finally, to really drive my point home) BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITIES TO SUCCEED

Your teen, adolescent, or child may not have the tactic of looking up motivational quotes but I am sure to bet they are trying something that is not working, or perhaps you sense they are trying nothing at all. Whatever that tactic may be, a re-wiring or re-writing of sorts is in store. A look at their past successes and their future goals will highlight those strategies they already know to work. Of course without the belief in themselves, no tactic will ever work (no matter how fancy the words or makeup of the tactic may be).

If your child or teen needs some motivation, consider teen counselling or an education assessment. I practice at Toronto Psychological Services in west Toronto (416-531-0727) ~ Maryn

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