In Person and Online Therapy Sessions Available | (616) 309 0737
2460 Burton St SE #101, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
In Person and Online Therapy Sessions Available | (616) 309 0737
2460 Burton St SE #101, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Motivating Your Teen: 5 Effective Strategies for Parents and Caregivers

Being the parent to a teenager isn’t always a walk in the park. Nothing prepares you for what that job entails. 

You want to have a healthy balance of being the boss and being their supporter. Micromanaging doesn’t have the most successful results where motivation and growth are concerned. So where can you find that balance?

Here are five effective tips for successfully motivating your teen. 

1. Be a Role Model

As a teenager, it’s almost a right of passage to push boundaries that parents set. You may often feel like talking to a wall would be more successful than to your teen. But know this, they aren’t ignoring you. They’re actually paying more attention to you than you realize. When they’re around, they modeling themselves after you, even if it is subconsciously. 

Show them how to be productive and maintain motivation even when life gets tough. They don’t expect you to be perfect, so the effort and approach will go far. Be a role model for good behavior and good work ethic. 

Here are some examples:

  • Teach responsibility and discipline
  • Procrastinate as minimally as possible
  • Show the importance of maintaining holistic well-being
  • Prove that it’s ok to make mistakes

2. Explore Their Interests

Motivating Teen Counseling Blog Image 2 Min

Schoolwork is an important developmental factor, but outside social activities and hobbies are also necessary. There are times where you may need to play the “game” with them to turn up their motivation. 

Jumpstart their motivation by incorporating things that interest them. When they’re engaged with things that suit their passions and interest, not only will they be more motivated, but they will also learn how to self-motivate and develop other life skills in preparation for adulthood.

Explore their interests with them so you have a shared bond. If they aren’t sure what interests them, help them in their pursuit. Listen to what they discuss, observe their behaviors, and provide needed guidance. 

3. Focus on the Process

When it comes to academics, good grades do matter, but they’re not the only important component. One of the most important things to consider are the skills learned during the journey. 

When emphasis is placed more on the process rather than the outcome, your teen will be more motivated to face the challenge and not shy away. Provide encouragement even when the outcome is the most desired. Show them you’re proud of them regardless — so long as they’re trying. Make sure they understand that there’s more to learning than solely achieving good grades.

4. Allow Them to Learn Responsibility

The road to adulthood can seem like an unfair path. At this point, teens are old enough to understand some things and are trying to make their way in the world. They don’t know what they don’t know or fully understand yet. You were there once. 

This is a time where they’re uncovering their passions, discovering their personality, and trying to find some independence. Remember, this is a good thing. The desire to become more autonomous is a natural milestone in growing up. 

Simultaneously, rules are being enforced and control is pushed upon them. This can cause frustration and reduce motivation. Keep some structure and maintain some level of authority, but also give them freedom to learn responsibility and make mistakes. Establish rules and consequences in a joint effort, set realistic expectations, and avoid the “I know what’s best” attitude.

5. Allow Open Discussion

Create a safe space for your teen to feel comfortable to come talk to you with life matters. You may not fully agree with what they’re saying or want to hear certain things, but try to actively listen anyways. 

Avoid interrupting or giving unsolicited advice. Instead, provide guidance or coaching to get them through the situation. Laying the groundwork for a positive and close relationship with your teen will promote improved behavior. 

Struggling to motivate and have that connection with your teen? Schedule a consultation to see how we can help through teen counseling.

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