You Don’t Have to Do it the Hard Way
The art of motivating a teen can resemble dentistry – there’s a lot of pushing, pulling, pain-laden groans and brute strength.
Unlike the dentist’s office where your dentist sees you for a few hours a year, you have to live with your teenager every day. Should you be content with the impasse you feel every time you try to motivate your son or daughter, or can inspiring them be more than the parental equivalent of pulling teeth?
We talked with expert parenting coach Lisa Read about the finer points of managing your teen’s motivation. She gave us three simple steps to make it happen.
1. Focus on connection first
The old saying “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” may be a little campy, but it’s 100 percent true.
You can spend hours lecturing your teen on right, wrong and what you’d do if you were them, but your effectiveness boils down to your ability to connect with your son or daughter.
“If a teen feels that you really are interested in their well-being, they are far more likely to listen to your advice.”
“If a teen feels that you really are interested in their well-being, they are far more likely to listen to your advice,” Read said. “Teenagers often complain to me that they’re not listened to by the adults in their lives, they’re just told what to do.”
2. Offer choices
“You will do this” is not nearly as effective as “Here are three different jobs you can do,’ Read said. Giving your teen choices allows them to take ownership over their daily routine.
“If you’re trying to motivate a teen to be more helpful around the home, for example, you could discuss with them what your needs are,” Read said, “and ask them to come up with ideas about what they could do to help.”
Allowing them to choose their job or their task gives them a small slice of ownership in your plan.
“This gives them a sense of control over their situation, and you still get to have a tidier house,” Read said.
3. Create buy-in
Teenagers are much more willing to help you or help themselves when they can see the bigger picture behind what they’re doing.
“If you want a teenager to be motivated, they need to buy into the purpose behind what you’re wanting them to do.”
“If you want a teenager to be motivated, they need to buy into the purpose behind what you’re wanting them to do,” Read said. “Think about the outcome you’re aiming for and ask yourself, ‘What would have got me motivated when I was a teenager myself?”
As you go through this process, you’ll notice most of your own memories will involve three factors, Read said:
- Inspiring stories
- Positive encouragement
- Clearly setting out expectations all help
Want Some More Parenting Tips?
Lisa Read’s Goaly video strategy is titled “Relieving Mother Guilt”. Her free step-by-step sessions help moms work through their feelings and thoughts in order to bring them to a point of freedom and confidence. Dads can benefit, too.
In the meantime, take a look at Lisa’s introduction on Goaly’s YouTube channel: