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How to Motivate Your Teenager

It can happen overnight. One day, your child is pleasant, cooperative, and enthusiastic about learning. The next day, well, not so much. It can happen to boys and girls. It's common, but that doesn't make it easier for parents to deal with. What do you do with a child who will only do the bare minimum, and really isn't interested in learning? Is it possible to motivate your teenager?

Teens can be motivated by natural learning they consider to be fun! Learn how to capture the things your teen does for fun on your high school transcript with this free ebook. Click to download: How to convert Delight Directed Learning Into High School Credit

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Reasons it might be hard to motivate your teenager. 

Some teenagers will remain pleasant and generally cooperative, but will do everything in a uniquely slow-as-molasses way, with a seemingly complete lack of motivation. That's when you look heavenward, asking the age-old question, "Now what?" and try to figure out a way to motivate your teenager. 

As I've worked with thousands of homeschoolers, I've developed a checklist of reasons why homeschoolers may be lazy, lackadaisical, or unmotivated couch potatoes resistant to learning. Many times, motivation is negatively affected by technology. We used to be told that technology would increase student participation and learning outcomes but now we see the opposite is true. Technology can make it more difficult to read, retain, and remain engaged. As homeschoolers, we need to ensure we have balanced technology in home education. You can find out more about teens and technology in my book, Technologic: How to Set Logical Technology boundaries and Stop the Zombie Apolcalypse.

But technology is not the only reason for a lack of motivation. Look over this list of 35 reasons why it might be difficult to motivate your teenager. Open your eyes so you can see the unexpected. The cause could be a physical issue or medical problem. Your parenting could need tweaking or homeschool expectations need to be balanced. It could be one of the serious and life-threatening causes that takes sometimes stealthy discernment.

Remember that your homeschool goal is a general love of learning. You can't make your child love math or writing but you can help them not hate it. Don't coddle them so they avoid their work but establish realistic expectations so they can retain their general love of learning.

Need more help? Check out the motivation section in my online resource, the High School Solution.

  1. Do they feel their work has value?
  2. Do they believe work will be rewarded?
  3. Do they believe they are treated fairly?
  4. Do their peers expect motivation?
  5. Are you coddling or overprotecting?
  6. Are you allowing excessive laziness?
  7. Lack of sleep?
  8. Lack of exercise?
  9. Poor nutrition?
  10. Sugar rush or sugar crash?
  11. Lack of hydration?
  12. Vision problems?
  13. Hearing problems?
  14. Attention problems?
  15. medically-caused fatigue?
  16. Undiagnosed learning disabilities?
  17. Overuse of technology?
  18. Hormonal changes or transitions?
  19. Becoming more independent?
  20. Depression?
  21. Drug use?
  22. Bullying or being bullied?
  23. Sexual activity?
  24. Involved in sexting or pornography?
  25. Anorexia?
  26. Psychological issues?
  27. Curriculum mismatch?
  28. Lack of interesting subjects?
  29. Over emphasis on school?
  30. Are you doing school-at-home instead of homeschooling?
  31. Learning style mismatch?
  32. Gifted and not challenged?
  33. Struggling and challenged too much?
  34. Unreasonable expectations?
  35. Cheating or lying?

Of course, motivation in teenagers can be cultural or societal depending on the friend group, but don't overlook those more important issues as causes. Sometimes this may be "just a phase" - as if the kids are checking to see who is REALLY the boss, and what REALLY matters to Mom and Dad. If that is the case, then the solution is to wait until the phase is over. Bummer, I know, because as a parent it feels like nails on the chalkboard all day, every day. Sometimes it will last just a couple of weeks, while the child (or parent) figures out what adjustments have to be made. Other times the lack of motivation lasts for months - or even a year - until the child finds something that really sparks an interest. Read the entire article, How to Cope with a Lack of Motivation in Teens

Ways to motivate your teenager. 

Since everybody, at one time or another, deals with unmotivated teens, the question becomes, "How can you motivate your teenager?"  

As you know, lack of motivation is a form of resistance and children often resist because they lack problem solving skills. All kids (typically) are motivated by something. Finding that something is the key and will likely take work on your part, as well as that of your teen. So, here are some ways you can work on motivating your teenager.

  1. Be sure to keep school to a reasonable number of hours
  2. Be sure you don't plan curriculum that is too advanced.
  3. Be sure to plan for increased sleep needs in teens.
  4. Be sure you mix active subjects and seated work.
  5. Be sure you have reasonable expectations.
  6. Be sure they will be challenged, not bored.
  7. Be sure you aren't expecting perfection.
  8. Be sure to be flexible, homeschooling is not a race.
  9. Don't argue or fight with your child about motivation. Help them find their interests.
  10. Be clear, calm, and give effective consequences for your child's behavior.

The truth is some teenagers are more motivated than others. That's true of us as adults, too! Sometimes, your reaction to your child's lack of motivation is worse than the lack of motivation in your teen. Let that sink in.

If you don't have support in your circles, consider joining my Gold Care Club. I help homeschool families all the time who struggle with all kinds of issues related to homeschooling, not just the transcript, and I'd love to walk with you, too. You can find out more about the Gold Care Club here and join so we can talk each week. 

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Sunday, 11 April 2021

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