Parenting the Lazy Tween

Strategies to motivate your lazy tween

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Has your once enthusiastic tween lost interest in everything? Is it difficult to get him to finish his homework or chip in and help with family chores? Is his new hobby watching television or playing all day on his computer? Do you suspect your tween has become, well, lazy? Laziness is often a side effect of the tween years, but there's a lot you can do to help your tween reenergize and make a contribution.

If your tween lacks motivation and can't seem to separate from the couch, it's time to intervene. 

What to Do with a Lazy Tween

Why are Tweens so Lazy? Your tween's lack of enthusiasm is probably due to a number of factors. He might be putting off homework and chores as a way to maintain control. Your older child is acting out to prove that he can and to show that he's not a little child anymore. But laziness can also come from boredom. Other possible reasons could include personal problems, such as bullying, or even depression. Sometimes tweens exhibit lazy behaviors when they are feeling overwhelmed, or overcommitted. 

Communicate Your Expectations: If your tween isn't tackling homework or chores, or participating in any extra curricular activities, it might be because you haven't clearly stated your expectations. Be sure your child knows what his responsibilities are, and that if he doesn't follow through, there will be consequences.

Post a chore chart in your kitchen, or in another visible spot, and assign specific tasks to your tween. Give your child a deadline for his chores. Also, make sure your child understands that if he doesn't make homework a priority, he won't be allowed computer or television time. If your child seems uninterested in extracurricular activities, it might be that he hasn't found one that really interests him.

Research possible activities and have your tween commit to one.

Set Consequences: If your child isn't taking responsibility, consequences are a must. Be clear about any consequences he'll face if he doesn't follow through. You might even consider writing a contract, so that your expectations, his responsibilities, and your consequences are crystal clear. Post the contract in your kitchen, and give your child a copy for his files. 

Reward Behavior: One way to motivate your tween is to reward his behavior when he does take responsibility and show motivation. If your child picks up his room without being told, or shows enthusiasm for an activity, reward him. If he decides to work out, be sure to support him and encourage him to continue. 

Do Something Together: One way to motive your child is to do something together. Your tween's laziness may just be boredom, and he might not have the skills or the knowledge to know that there's something out there that will interest and motivate him. Try getting your child to embrace a new interest or hobby by doing something together.

You could start working out together and setting personal goals that you help each other reach, or you could take art classes or photography classes together. 

Note: Sometimes laziness is a side effect of depression. If you think your child might be suffering from depression or other more serious problems, it might be time to seek help. Your child's school counselor and pediatrician might be able to help you determine what your child needs from you, and how you can help. 

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