How to Motivate Your Teen. Is this possible?

Do you feel like your teen is “stuck”?

Are they living, breathing, eating up social media, video games, and the contents of your fridge, but not much else?  Or are they busy with many activities, moving along, but still not quite in the right direction?

It’s time for a reality check for you as a parent.

You have just a few short years with them, and if nothing changes, a lot will pass them by, and they will not be equipped and ready for life after their teens. And someday they may fault you for that.

The good news is that you DO have a few years left with your kids and you have time to steer them toward more productive days, teaching them to choose to succeed on a daily basis, set some of their own goals & achieve them, and get rewarded for their efforts! You also have a greater chance of hearing your kids say, “thanks” in the future

You may be frustrated by your teen’s lack of motivation and drive. You are tired of nagging. You may have given in and they seem to be directing their own life – but not well.

It’s time to get the ship going in a new direction. For your kids’ sake, you need a different strategy. And, just as it takes some doing to get a ship turned around, the change of course is necessary to reach that  desired destination.

It’s not too late to proceed with the end in mind. Many leadership books and parenting books have been written with this idea – and it is GOLDEN. But how many of us are parenting with this as our mode of operation?  If THE END picture has not been clearly defined from your viewpoint and your child’s, you are not going to get there.

Has your teen ever been asked to map out what a successful life looks like to them? Where do they want to go/who do they want to be when they are 24?  44?  64? What were/are your dreams for that child? Have YOU ever really written them down? Or have you just had them somewhere in your mind as a wish list? And maybe not communicated but expressed as pressure or expectations on your child.

Now is a good time to drive a stake in the ground to clarify targets for them and with them. There are SO many options out there! A particular target for two of my teens was to make the varsity soccer team. To do this they had to pass a physical skills test laid out by their coach. To achieve this target, they had to, on a daily basis, train and consistently push themselves to work hard, even when they didn’t feel like it. Side note: both achieved that goal! Another goal for a teen might be to achieve a desired score on their college entrance exams.  If they are not strong in vocabulary, they may set a target of reviewing vocabulary words for 15 minutes a day. Dreams create targets. Your teen may want to travel and see the world. Nothing wrong with that goal, but they may need to look for academic tours, study-abroad opportunities, or even au pair positions.  A consistent job and creating the discipline of saving will help get them there.

Targets should be focused and have paths to hit them. Make a list of some targets you would like your teen to reach for and then have your teen do the same. Discuss your lists unemotionally. Don’t grade them.  Affirm what your teen is feeling and ask questions about why and how they have come to those targets. Be sure to acknowledge your teen’s abilities and potential. This could be a pivotal point in your relationship and help you both get to know one another better. Teens need parents to be cheerleaders and trusted mentors.

Next, discuss devising a plan to meet those goals. These goals will require intentional steps to get there-they will not just “happen”. They will need  a daily plan, because time is short, to attain those goals.

I devised the All Done Day plan for my own family, built on targets my husband and I defined and our kids later weighed in on as they matured. These targets were built into a daily plan that teaches good habits, develops character, equips with life skills, challenges personal achievement, encourages goal setting and achieving, and gives each kid ownership in the success as they are also motivated by carefully chosen incentives. The incentives are designed to speak to that child/teen. Whether It’s earned device time, a desired outing, a longed for item, a sleep over, or an amount of cash, the rewards will become affirmation of their daily choices that are also bringing them closer to their vision of where you/they want to go and who they could be.

You will be getting them ready for the “real life” they will experience after they leave home. There is great satisfaction in working toward set goals and reaching them. Equip your kids now to put in the daily work that will leap-frog them toward real satisfaction and success. Help your teen to learn to help themselves now and in their future.

If you are interested in learning about the All Done Day plan and how it worked for my family – from the Pull-ups stage to the college send-off, buy my book All Done Day; How to Win at Everyday Parenting.

Everyone Wins with an All Done Day!

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Ann Lahm

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I love the opportunities to support parents and Moms in particular, that All Done Day has provided me.

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