“Because I said so” is generally not a great way to get your teen to do anything other than sulk and hate you for the rest of the day. They rebel, they brood, they sigh, and they often make you a little anxious about how their life is going to turn out.
Some teenagers are perfectly focused and goal-oriented, but most tend to lose their direction at some point and start questioning the world (and authority) around them.
While this can be frustrating, it’s not actually a bad thing, because it shows your sulky teen is actually growing and seeking answers beyond “because that’s what the school claims to be true.” It’s a process that most of us have to go through, but it can come at an unfortunate time, just when they’re supposed to be picking colleges and worrying about their future.
What’s a parent to do at a time like this? We’ve got a few helpful tips to motivate your disgruntled teen. Check out the top 5 secrets that will show you how to motivate teenagers in 2018.
How To Motivate Teenagers in 2018: Top 5 Secrets
1. Keep Communications Open
This doesn’t mean you need to ask them “how was school, sweetie?” in a chirpy voice as soon as they come back home. It’s a fine line between letting your child talk, and giving them enough space so you wouldn’t overwhelm them.
Don’t push them to talk to you, but make sure they know you’re there when they’re ready. Not all of your conversations need to be deep and meaningful, either. Chat with them about sports, tell jokes, watch movies together, and ask them for their opinion often.
This will help them open up because they’ll feel like what they say means something, that’s it’s relevant. Closeness can’t be forced, so let it come naturally.
2. Help them discover more options
If they seem aimless, it’s possible that they don’t even know what’s out there. Maybe you think they’d be a really good doctor, and they never even considered the idea because they don’t know what is required to be a good physician.
Talk to them about the Undergraduate Medicine Admissions Test, about the skills they might need, and maybe help them find a good UMAT tutor if they get excited about the idea. This applies to everything else, let your teen have access to good information, and suggest that they talk to the school counselor get some help in picking their professional path.
3. Give them books to read
Books are a gateway to knowledge. They make us curious, they comfort us, and they can be priceless to a teen who’s struggling with motivation or emotional issues. School can, sadly, kill one’s love of books completely if the required reading list is ill-adjusted to their age and interests.
Awaken their passion again by letting them read about contemporary teen problems, and finding books that call out to them. The Young Adult genre is a pretty safe bet, and popular books such as the ones on this list are bound to grab their attention.
4. Don’t mock them
So they told you they want to be a video game developer or an artist. Okay. Take it easy before you mock their choice. First, hear them out. Ask them what they like about these professions, how they got into it, whether there are any books or other materials that they’d like to have.
Just talk to them. Chances are, if the idea is stupid, they’ll realize it at some point and give up on their own. If the idea is credible, you might be the one to change your own mind, but it’s important to keep the entire process judgment-free.
5. Let them fail
Failure is a part of life. You can’t shield them from it forever, and once it happens, it might be a good idea to really let them feel the consequences. Always be there to support them, always make sure they know you love them very much, but let them fail occasionally. It might jolt them awake and motivate them to do much better next time. They’ll know what’s at stake now.
Teens can sometimes seem like a bunch of self-absorbed aliens. They’re changing and they’re confused, and they’re trying to find their way in life. Provide them with some kindness and discipline, be there for them, and let them explore the world at their own pace.