Do you have a teenage son who appears to be lazy? Who doesn’t want to help out around the house or do his schoolwork? Even though parenting teenagers can be a wonderful season of life, it isn’t always easy. Teenagers are a joy to be around – except when they’re not. Do you need tips to help motivate your teenage son?
When our kids act lazy it is usually because they aren’t feeling motivated about whatever it is we are asking them to do. I’m sure you realize that kids often have very different priorities we do. And if our kids actually want to do something, they are willing to work hard to make it happen. So, the issue is actually one of motivation and attitude more than of laziness.
Fortunately, when we are frustrated by the lack of motivation in our teenagers, there is hope. With a little bit of effort on our part, we can help turn around our teen’s attitude so that he’s much more willing to do what we’re expecting of him.
Here are 11 Ways to Motivate Your Teenage Son:
1 – Discuss the Value
Our sons are much more likely to be willing to do tasks that they don’t see as meaningless or trivial. Be willing to tell them why you’re asking them to do specific tasks. And be willing to rethink things if you can’t come up with a better reason than “Because I told you so.”
If you’d like your son to get a part-time job, remind him that the money he earns will help him to buy a car or a computer or something else he really wants. If you want your son to help out around the house, consider having him do things he will easily see the value in such as cooking meals so that he can eat or doing laundry so that he will have clean clothes.
2 – Do the Worst First
This point is similar to the first one. If you want your son to do something that he isn’t intrinsically motivated to do on his own, you may need to find a way to make him care about it. We have our kids eat their meal before they are allowed to have dessert. And sometimes we have to hold video games/phones/TV hostage until school lessons are done.
You know what types of activities your son likes to do. Set some boundaries so that your son is required to complete certain tasks that he doesn’t want to do before he is allowed to do what he would like to do. This works amazingly well!
3 – Give Choices
Our boys are unique individuals and they have preferences. There is more than one way to approach learning and chores. Some of our sons prefer doing their work in the morning and some are able to better concentrate later in the day. Try to find out which ways your son learns best and allow him to complete projects which will allow him to capitalize on and develop his strengths. Allowing our sons to have a voice makes them much more willing to do what we are expecting of them.
4 – Give Positive Reinforcement
Men love feeling appreciated and respected and since our teenage sons are men in training, they respond favorably to our efforts in these areas as well. Whenever our sons work hard or go out of their way to do something for someone else, we should be sure to lavish him with praise. Remember to praise what his actions are rather than his abilities. For instance, rather than saying, “You’re so strong!” say, “I was impressed with how hard you worked stacking that wood.”
5 – Give them Rewards
We all appreciate earning rewards for a job well done. Employees love earning bonuses at work. And our sons will be much more motivated if we reward them as well. Rewards can be monetary or they can be extra privileges that we hand out to our sons as they show more responsibility.
6 – Help Him Develop Responsibility
One great way to help our sons develop responsibility is by encouraging them to hold a part-time job. My 15-year-old had a job working at a greenhouse last summer and it was hot, back-breaking work. It helped him to realize that he might want to consider trying to get into college or a trade school someday because being part of the unskilled labor force isn’t the easiest way to make a living. Kinda opened his eyes to the value of education and training, if you know what I mean.
7 – Let Them Make Mistakes
Our kids learn a lot when they make mistakes, and if we’re honest, so do we. Don’t be too quick to step in and fix things when your child messes up. Allow him to learn from the natural consequences of his actions. It will be a much more vivid lesson if our teen chooses to ignore the cat box for a few days and then has the awful job of scooping it out. This same principle holds true if he doesn’t empty the trash soon enough and garbage spills out onto the floor. Remind him nicely and expect him to take responsibility for his actions.
If the job is miserable enough, he will be much more likely to remember to do it on his own in the future. We need to be willing to give our teens plenty of reminders, though, rather than expecting them to do everything without prompting. Remember, we’re working on helping them learn responsibility and to become self-motivated but they aren’t there yet.
8 – Make it Fun
If you can tweak your son’s lessons so that he will learn the information in a way that is more enjoyable, then, by all means, do it. Rather than having your son read a book and write a report about the civil war, consider taking a field trip to a civil war historical site. Or allow him to create a movie about the civil war. There’s more than one way for our kids to learn. When we’re flexible and allow them to be creative, they are much more likely to be motivated and to enjoy learning.
Obviously, we can’t do this every day or with every subject. But if we’re intentional about mixing it up and adding some fun to our homeschool day, then all the better. There’s nothing sacred about presenting lessons in the most non-stimulating way possible!
9 – Pique His Interest
The more we include subjects which interest our sons, the more they will want to learn. By the time our boys are teenagers, they should have a lot more choice in what they’re learning. Allow him to choose some of the books he reads. Ask him what he’s interested in learning about. The more involved your son is in choosing what he learns about the more motivated he will be.
10 – Provide Positive Mentors and Role Models
It’s important for our sons to understand what it means to be a good, godly man. Our husbands are obviously integral to this happening. If yous husband is unable or unwilling to do this, then do your best to find positive mentors and role models for him instead. Fill his mind with the stories of courageous men by having him read great biographies. Ask around at church to see which empty nesters might have time to build into your son’s life. Point out examples of heroic men from the news. It’s important for us to give our sons something positive to aspire to.
11 – Stay Calm
It’s important for us to remember that our sons aren’t the only teenagers who struggle with laziness and not wanting to do their schoolwork. If we’re honest, we need to overcome these feelings as well! When our sons are unmotivated or have poor attitudes, we need to try to have grace for them. Sometimes, we expect our teens to act like fully-grown men. But remember that they are still learning and developing character.
Remember how you acted and what you felt like as a teenager. If you’re like most of us, you probably felt lazy and unmotivated the same way your son does – at least from time to time.
I hope that helps. Know that you ARE NOT alone. Also, I know that once my 17-year-old went through driver’s training and got his driver’s license, he bumped up a BUNCH in maturity. And after he held his first part-time job, he bumped up in maturity again.
Our boys grow exponentially as they are given more responsibility and start seeing themselves navigating out in the world someday. Be patient. Give your son a good example to follow. And remember that it’s a process. Our sons won’t instantly become motivated and responsible. But with the right environment and prompting on our part, it will happen in due time.