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Are you struggling to get your teen to be motivated, and are sick of feeling like you constantly have to nag and micromanage them to get anything done? The secret to motivating teens is to fuel their inner motivation by supporting and helping them in the development of self-discipline, and to help them to see the meaning and value behind what it is they are doing.

The stereotypical view of modern teenagers is that they are lazy kids who just want to sleep in, play computer games, surf the net and hangout with their friends. The portrayal of the lazy teenager has become so commonplace that many people simply assume that being lazy and unmotivated is a natural consequence of adolescence. Once upon a time, teenagers were some of the most hardworking members of society. Long before shopping centres, computer games and high schools, teenagers were expected to work with the adults and work hard. They likely did this because what they were doing had a point, and it matched their natural desire to be treated and considered as adults. The jobs themselves were real jobs that had to be done and hence provided a sense of significance and value.

So how can you help your teen perform at their highest potential?

  • Dopamine – Motivation is associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine​, and these levels are boosted when we encounter rewarding experiences, such as winning a video game or being praised. In contrast, low levels of dopamine are associated with a lack of motivation and boredom. Stress is the enemy of dopamine. Even mild chronic stress can cause your teenager’s dopamine levels to plummet so that they won’t want to do anything. Here are some stressors you can minimise or eliminate for them.
    • Stop nagging.
    • Stop reminding them constantly.
    • Don’t punish them for poor grades.

Teens need to take responsibility for their actions and decisions, so when you see them make a good decision, do something without being asked, or do well in something they tried – praise them! 

  • Be a good listener – Talk to your teen and listen to what they have to say, even if it’s not  something you want to hear. You can still give guidance and advice. The feeling of belonging and connecting with someone who cares can be one of the most powerful motivators. Motivate by becoming a source of strength in your teen’s life instead of a source of stress.
  • Support your teens interests – Teens can become self-motivated when they invest their time in a passion. So support your teen to pursue their interests while also guiding them to lead a balanced life.
  • Avoid giving rewards and punishments – Research has shown that rewards and punishments don’t lead to long-term motivation. Your advice, support, guidance and being a healthy role model will have the most impact on your teen.

Building a strong parent-child relationship is not much different from building any relationship. If you are always being ordered around and disrespected, and always on the wrong side of things while the other one is always right, would you want to be in a relationship like that?

A strong, positive relationship is built on trust and respect. We’re raising children to become adults. Talk to them as adults and discuss things with them when you don’t agree like you would another adult, and see them become responsible for their own motivation so it can be sustained over their lifetime.  

How to Promote Healthy Habits For Your Teen 

Is your teen low on energy or falling behind? It could be because they’re lacking in healthy habits. As a parent you are a role model to your teen. Your teen is more likely to follow your example if you focus on your self-care by embracing healthy habits:

  • Having a daily routine
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Regular exercise
  • Work-life balance or in their case a balance with their studies
  • A balanced diet

 It is also important to check in with your teen to see how they are coping with their day to day tasks and social groups. Another way to help your teen with making healthy habits is by developing a routine together. It’s easier to follow a routine when you’re working together.


  • PakMag Writer

    PakMag has a number of contributors and writers who sometimes like to remain anonymous so here is a collection of the articles and stories. Enjoy!