By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
What I hear most often from parents of the teens with whom I work is complaints about why their teen is not motivated to do the things that they want them to do. Why are they spending all their time on YouTube instead of homework? Why are their social relationships so much more important to them than their schoolwork? And so on. Often these parents would like for me to “fix” their teen so that they do what they are “supposed to do.” And honestly, I get it. I really do. They see their child’s flaws, mistakes, potential, and opportunities through their own adult lenses so clearly and it is hard, oh so hard, to just sit back and let their teen figure it out.
Before we get into this any more it is important to talk about teens and what they really need… Teens are at a particularly difficult stage of life because while they feel like they are just so ready to be adults, we know as actual adults, that they are totally not ready yet. Often, this leads parents to worry too much and dive in and save their kids more than is needed. In actuality, teens need autonomy and independence. They need to make mistakes and fall down as painful as it might be.
Remember when you taught your kids to ride a bike? How hard was it to let go of them, knowing full well that they are likely to fall? Really hard right. But you knew that letting go is the only way they would learn on their own. The teenage years are essentially the same. They need us to let go so that they can own their choices, responsibilities, and futures. As counterintuitive as that might feel, this is how they will build their own motivation.
In fact, I believe the following to be the most important ingredients to supporting and helping your teen motivate him or herself.
3. Let Them Make Mistakes
5. Listen and let them Lead
I will be sharing more information about the above ingredients to a motivated teen during my talk at Halstrom Academy on 3/30/17! Please check out the below flyer if you are interested!
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."