8 Ways to Motivate Your Teen to Get Work Done

Motivate your teen to get to work without nagging.
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Whether you’re struggling to get your teen to do his homework, or you’re tired of arguing with him to clean his room, don’t give up hope. There are steps you can take to help motivate your teen to get things done.

1. Strengthen Your Relationship

Sometimes, when parents grow frustrated by a teen’s lack of work ethic, they begin nagging and complaining, which damages their relationship with their teen.

And as the relationship grows tense, their teens grow even less motivated to follow their directions.

Your teen will be much more motivated to follow your directions, when you have a healthy relationship. If your teen respects you, he’ll value your opinion and be more likely to want to please you. Spend plenty of quality time together and create opportunities to have pleasant interactions that will strengthen your relationship with your teen.

2. Establish Rules that Encourage Healthy Habits

If your teen spends hours playing video games every day and sleeps until noon on the weekends, he’ll likely struggle to be active and productive. Establish rules that will encourage healthy habits. Set limits on screen time, encourage healthy sleep habits, and set your teen up for success.

3. Praise Your Teen’s Efforts

When you catch your teen behaving responsibly, don’t let his efforts go unnoticed. Point out his hard work by offering genuine praise.

Say, “Great job doing your homework right when you got home today,” or “Thank you for picking up your room the first time I asked.” Your teen will be more motivated to keep up the good work when you provide positive reinforcement.

4. Link Privileges to Good Behavior

Provide your teen with incentives to get his work done, but give him freedom over when to do it.

For example, tell him he can use electronics when his chores are done. Or let him shoot hoops when he’s finished his homework. If he wants his privileges, he’ll be motivated to get his work done.

5. Provide One Warning

Nagging your teen will damage your relationship and cause your teen to rely on reminders from you. So rather than nag or beg your teen to do his work, give just one warning.

Remind him of the consequences for not doing his work. Say, “Remember, you can’t hang out with your friends until you’ve mowed the lawn,” or “You won’t be able to go skateboarding tomorrow unless you clean the garage today.” Then, if your teen doesn’t do the work, follow through with a consequence.

6. Allow for Natural Consequences

Natural consequences can be an effective teaching tool. If your teen doesn’t do his homework, the natural consequence is that he’ll get a zero on his assignment. Or, if he doesn’t do his laundry, he won’t have any clean clothes to wear. Consider whether a natural consequence may provide your teen with a valuable life lesson.

7. Follow Through with Logical Consequences

When natural consequences aren’t enough, you may need to follow through with logical consequences. Take away privileges, assign extra responsibilities, or ground your teen from spending time with his friends. Brief consequences can be a good way to remind your teen to get his work done in the future.

8. Be a Good Role Model

It’s essential to be a good role model for your teen. Telling your teen to turn off his electronics when you’re watching TV for hours, or telling him to clean his room when your own room is a mess, won’t be effective. Role model healthy habits and a good work ethic to motivate your teen is more likely follow suit.

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