How to Motivate Teens to Try Their Best

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. “– Winston Churchill

I like this quote and believe that as human beings, we should try our best to do our best. I also want to pass this value to my children and students whose parents share the same belief.

Needs and Motivators

In Understand Children’s Needs, we discussed children’s basic needs, which are the key motivators including emotional drivers and materialistic motivators. All of them are powerful forms of encouragement.

Some of the motivators:

Health – to stay healthy is a must for one’s life

Happiness – everyone wants to be happy, this is one of the most important emotional drivers

Success – the desire to do something valuable to receive recognition and feel self-fulfillment and increase self-esteem. These are basic needs for a person’s self-awareness. Teens want to succeed in life, and gain recognition from their family, school teachers and peers

Love – this is the most powerful emotional need for everyone and is not an exception for teens. They need love from parents, family, friends etc.

Freedom – People want to control and not to be controlled. Teens do not want to be controlled by their parents, they want to be independent but at the same time receive support while seeking that independence.

Security –People want be safe and certain about things rather than experiencing worry. Insecure situations lead to teens experiencing stress.

New experiences – people want to know what they do not know. Everyone has curiosity.

Praise for Effort, not for Innate Ability

Because innate ability is out of our control, I think when it comes to motivating children, we should stress effort not innate ability. Effort and motivation are crucial to success. Motivating children to increase effort and try their best to achieve is one of the most crucial motivators. Fortunately, that can be nurtured.

Parents should praise children for their effort, not for their innate abilities. By doing so, parents teach your children a greater sense of control over their lives, and this results in improved study habits and grades. Your children will know that it is their effort that leads toward their success. Therefore, they are more likely to work hard and wisely toward their goals.

Although certain innate advantages do exist in some children, educational research demonstrates that calling attention to innate ability is demonstrably unhelpful to achievement. Both children with and without innate advantages benefit from developing a mindset that equates success with effort and are hurt by a mindset that equates success with innate ability (e.g. “She is successful because she is talented” as opposed to “She is successful because she practices daily”).

How to Motivate Children: 8 Ways to Motivate Children

I think most parents agree that the cause of their children’s underachievement in school is often simply a lack of motivation. What can parents do to motivate their children? Here are some ideas I want to share with you.

Be your children’s supporter

Teenagers are different from younger kids. A teenager wants to be treated like an adult. I think respecting your teenager is the key to building a trusting relationship between parents and teens. Parents should give teenagers as much support as possible, not by controlling, but by guiding teens.

Expose your teenager to various ideas and areas

Sometimes, a teenager lacks motivation because he or she hasn’t yet been exposed to what might be a life passion. Look for different programs, give your teen a chance to try them, and keep an open mind to help your teen to find his or her interests and passions.

Help your teenager make connection between schoolwork and his interests

Sometimes, children lack motivation because they do not see a connection between the work they are being asked to do and their interests and goals. A teenager who wants to be a doctor should know that math and science is important in those jobs. Parents may give examples how these courses help.

Teach your teenager responsibility

Parents should encourage teenagers to understand that freedom and power brings responsibilities. If your teen wants to make independent decisions, then he or she will have to take responsibility for the resulting consequences of the decisions.

Guide your teenager to find his/her goals

Individuals who have goals are highly motivated because they know what they want and work towards the goals. For most of teenagers, they do not know what they want to be yet, they are exploring and trying to find their values, beliefs and their future paths. They are usually driven by the sheer joy of participating in something they love now, and do not consider long term goals. Parents should talk to teens about things they enjoy right now and guide them to find what they believe about their life and set up appropriate goals that are associated with their passions.

Set high expectations

High standards lead to high performance. If parents set clear goals and expectations for their children and support them to achieve their goals, the children become successful. This success motivates children to feel fulfillment and do even better.

Use short-term goals and rewards

Sometimes, a child gets overwhelmed by a large task and gives up before he or she even begins. Help your child separate the task into a series of smaller tasks. Make each small task a goal and try to setting an age-appropriate reward for that goal.

Help your teenager learn to manage time

When they start school, most children have few problems keeping up with school work because they learn quickly and easily, so they don’t get the chance to learn to manage their time in order to get work done. After they become teenagers, they face more challenging tasks, and they may feel overwhelmed by the work they need to complete and do not know how to set time aside to complete their tasks. Teaching your teenager how to create and use a time-management schedule is helpful.

Children are natural learners. To motivate teens to try their best and be best of them is the key to achievement. Parents learn different ways on How to Motivate Children and foster a supportive climate in which you serve as supporter and your children have the opportunity to explore and gain their own experience.

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