Trying to figure out teenagers may often feel like an unsolvable mystery.
There’s no doubt that people that age can be unpredictable. Even so, you may notice a more pronounced trend of your teen appearing to lack motivation. This can be difficult to understand and difficult to witness. For starters, please remember that your teen is undergoing significant brain development.
Their choices may appear baffling or frustrating to you. But you will need to maintain some patience with this inevitable process. Of course, you want your child to succeed and thrive, but they need validation and acceptance along the way.
Some Reasons Why a Teen is Unmotivated
There could be an underlying problem. For example, issues like depression, anxiety, or a learning disability can shape anyone’s behaviors. Then, there are the tasks themselves. It’s not easy to get and stay motivated when asked to do something that patently lacks value or fulfillment. Such a task may also shut down your child’s desire to play an active role in their own actions. Sure, life frequently requires us to do busy work, but we can’t expect a teen to casually accept this reality.
In addition, your teen may feel overwhelmed by the quantity and/or difficulty of the tasks, homework, or chores. If heavy expectations are also being laid upon them, a teen could also shut down out of fear of failure. Do your best to empathize with any and all possibilities.
How to Motivate Your Unmotivated Teen
Give Them Room to Learn
Your teen, by virtue of DNA, will have many similarities to you. But they are not a clone. They will think as they choose to think. And this style of thinking will continue to evolve. In other words, as annoying as it may sometimes be, you have to allow them to learn from experience. Let them know you’re available to talk and listen, but also give them room. Simply put, you cannot force them (or anyone) to change.
Explain the Big Picture
Talk with your teen about their goals and dreams. Help them get excited about the possibilities in their life and their future. Ask questions and listen attentively to their answers. Slowly shift the discussion to outlining the steps and hard work it takes for anyone to achieve a goal. This is the ideal time to highlight how important it is to perform tasks—exciting or boring—to stay on track.
Talk About Goal-Setting
It is essential to see even the most mundane task as part of a bigger process. Support your teen as they learn the importance of:
- Setting process-oriented goals
- Breaking down large goals into smaller parts
- Developing both short- and long-term goals
- Celebrating each small victory along the way
- Keeping your eyes on the bigger prize even as you deal with minor tasks
Find Out What Motivates Them
While it’s good to know which external factors are motivating your teen, also look for ways to promote intrinsic motivation. Sure, monetary rewards are nice and often feel like motivators, but the best form of motivation comes from within. Intrinsic motivation is about doing an activity for the feelings of enjoyment and satisfaction it brings. And the feeling of competence is a big motivator. Those goals previously mentioned can help get teens to feel competent in an activity or skill, which will likely go a lot further in the long run than a monetary reward.
Reach Out For Help
Raising a teen can be challenging. You can’t possibly have all the answers. This is a good reason to talk with a professional. A therapist can help guide you as you guide your teen. A therapist might be the right choice for a teen who is particularly unmotivated. Perhaps, you and your child attend family therapy together. Whatever approach you choose, you and your teen will benefit.
Begin Counseling for Teenagers in Columbus, OH
You and your teen deserve support in finding the most effective ways to motivate them. Learn more about how our caring therapists can offer support from our Columbus, OH-based practice and across the state. We would be honored to help you accomplish your teen’s goals by following these simple steps:
- Get in touch with Blue Boat Counseling to set up your first appointment.
- Get connected with a caring therapist you can trust.
- Gain a better understanding of the symptoms you are experiencing
Other Services Offered with Blue Boat Counseling
Our team understands your teen may experience a number of mental health concerns. This is why we are happy to offer support with a variety of mental health services for teens, adults, and couples. We are happy to offer mental health services including anxiety therapy, depression therapy, couples therapy, teen and family therapy, and veteran therapy. We also offer online therapy in addition to in-person services as well. Learn more by visiting our blog today.