From daily chores to completing homework to finding a career aspiration and life direction, it can be a significant challenge at times to motivate teenage boys. Often times they don’t want to do anything unless they “feel” like doing it.
Teenagers are often motivated by freedom, friends and fun. However, they may not be motivated by reasonable advice or even doing the right thing. One thing is for sure. Teenagers are not lazy when they really want something.
How can you, as a parent find ways to motivate your son?
1. Provide an incentive
For better or worse teenagers often have a me-centric view of the world. If they can figure out “what’s in it for me” they may just be willing to work hard. This may not be a character flaw. In truth everyone one of us needs a reason or a purpose to accomplish any task. Your teenager may need some help finding a reason to get himself moving. Some people would say that providing an incentive is the same thing as a bribe, but that may be very appropriate.
2. Issue a challenge
Teenagers, especially boys, may respond to a friendly challenge. “I bet you can’t wash all those dishes in ten minutes” or “I wonder if you can beat your score on that last Science quiz.” Competition with others can be healthy at times. Encouraging your son to compete against himself may just be the trick to get him going.
When I was a teenager, my mother provided me with a challenge that included an incentive. I worked extremely hard to get a 3.5 GPA in order to earn a new drum set. It was an amazing accomplishment for me and I was thrilled to get a brand new Pearl drum set for my efforts!
3. Make it fun
Teenagers live for the three F’s, which are freedom, friends and fun. Fun is an essential ingredient and it is surprising what teens will do when they are having a good time. Jump in and do the task with your son. Use humor and playfulness to motivate and engage him. Help your son to imagine his future and make it fun.
4. Speak his love language
Find out what your teenage son responds to and what helps him feel loved and supported. Does your son prefer words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time or physical touch? Teenagers will often respond more positively when they feel cared for and encouraged by their parents. This may be challenging, but creating a strong relationship with your teenage son is essential to having an influential voice in his life.
5. Help him think about the future
For a teenager, considering the future may involve figuring out what they are going to eat in the next 15 minutes. It can be difficult for them to envision what next year will bring or what they want to accomplish after high school. Even though he may think he has it figured out, your son needs you to help him think ahead and plan for a meaningful and successful life. You may need a little bit of help figuring out how to support your son in the process of growing up and becoming a young adult.