How to Motivate your Teenage Son or Daughter
Learning how to motivate your teenage son or daughter can seem like a daunting task and for me, it has been at times as I try to make my way through the experience. But, there is hope! If I can do it, anyone can. It is also an ongoing process. Don’t quit, the fact that you are reading this tells me you are on the right track! Read below and keep searching and finding the right tweaks along the way.
Parenting Tips and Tricks
Daniel Wong, a popular speaker, coach, and writer on the subject of equipping students to be successful and happy has written: “How to Motivate a Teenager: 13 Tips Guaranteed to Work”. After reviewing his tips, I found that I couldn’t agree with him more. To summarize, he states these 13 Tips:
- Focus on the process more than the outcome
- Respect your teenager’s autonomy
- Promote empathetic communication
- Support your teen’s interest
- Set a good example for your teen
- Speak positively to and about your teen
- Promote healthy habits
- Avoid giving both rewards and punishments
- Let natural consequences run their course
- Find a mentor
- Equip your teen with valuable organizational tools
- Avoid giving pep talks
- Develop routines and structures together with your teen
Each of these is explained further in his original post (linked above) but taking these at face value I see some major themes: Communication is key, Listening is Everything, Working Together is Crucial, but most of all Changing YOU (myself included) and Your Approach to Parenting is Vital.
Parenting Teens and Tweens
In my experience as a mom of 4 (parenting teens and tweens), I have been blessed to raise children with wonderfully diverse personalities. Each of my children is so different and parenting creatively has been a must. It has also required establishing guidelines for our household. Learning to establish these guidelines took me a while to say the least. I was beside myself at first, trying to parent with force and empty threats out of frustration mostly. I saw my tactics were definitely not working and no one was winning these battles either. I needed help and as an educator of almost 30 years, I don’t shy away from researching and reading as much as possible to find answers. So years ago, I read a book titled, How to have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Lehman. This book changed me as a parent.
The Importance of Boundaries in Parenting
Dr. Lehman explained how to set clear parameters for teens and tweens. His guidance helped me in creating intentional goals with my spouse about what type of adults we were expecting our children to become. This helped us focus on how we would communicate with them on their level and specific to their personality types. Dr. Lehman wrote on autonomy which helped us as parents allow our children (and later for me in the classroom, my students) the autonomy to make their decisions and also experience the consequences (good or bad). I was getting way too personal with the discipline of my child and felt that their success and failures reflected on me as a parent. But in reality, their lives are a series of learning experiences that I was guiding them through. Isn’t that exactly how our Father God guides us through life? One lesson after another, full of grace and guidance as He waits patiently for us to “get it” and continually reminds us that He has not left us along the way. Therefore, Daniel’s list hit home with me. He reiterated what I had learned from Dr. Lehman and add more to the topic.
Guiding and Motivating Youth in Parenting
The best thing we can do while guiding and motivating youth is to help them take ownership of their journeys while being a good example of how to enjoy the learning process. One of my favorite sayings is “progress not perfection”. As parents (or teachers) motivating teenagers we have to begin somewhere, and using Daniel Wong’s list, changing your approach is a great place to start!
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