Teen Motivation: Positive Communication Tips

How do you know when a teen is having motivation problems? That age range is infamous for mood swings, rebellious behaviors, lack of focus, and unusual ideas on how to live a productive life. So what looks like trouble can be more of a communication issue. Yes, this means lecturing and nagging are rarely a productive choice on the part of parents.

Those seeking to inspire their child would be well-served to examine how they interact with them. Your teen is faced with balancing out fun with responsibilities. Your task, therefore, is to meet them with respectful but direct communication skills.

Are Most Teens

It’s really helpful to understand that all of us are motivated when it comes to our favorite activities. So, by definition, it’s not that your teen lacks motivation. What’s happening is that life can make it tricky to stay on-point when it comes to fulfilling obligations. Healthy communication will help reveal underlying reasons like:

  • They’re not taking care of themselves: Teens have not yet identified their needs and limits. They stay up late, eat junk food, and sit for hours while staring at their phones. Unless they practice self-care, they may lack the energy to be very motivated.
  • Your teen is overwhelmed: Sure, adult life piles a lot on your plate but your teen years have plenty of challenges, too. Chores, school, jobs, social life, dating, and planning for the future can add up to have your child opt to mentally check out from time to time.
  • Teenagers simply see things differently than adults: This is not to say to always let them do things their way, but sometimes, they need that freedom. It’s how they learn about the consequences of their actions.

Positive Communication
Tips To Enhance Teen


teen boy with fatherNo matter how close you feel to your child, you cannot read their mind. Thus, the ideal starting point is to hone your listening skills. Demonstrate your sincere interest by not assuming, interrupting, or dismissing. Also, keep a close eye on your body language, tone, the volume of your voice, and your vocal inflections.

Be Available

Yes, your life is busy, too. But to truly connect with and help your teen, you have to make yourself available. Their needs are unpredictable, so get ready for some spontaneous moments. Offering your encouragement, support, and availability may seem like a thankless job, but they see you. A few suggestions to consider:

  • It’s almost always a bad idea to offer unsolicited advice.
  • Resist the urge to deliver pep talks; they probably need a compassionate ear more.
  • Set realistic expectations.
  • Stay positive and avoid comparing them to other kids (especially their siblings).


A teenager is on the verge of adulthood. Their autonomy deserves respect even as they lean on you for help. Develop ways of speaking to them that honor their independence without you surrendering the authority of being a parent.

Be a Role Model

Your kids are always watching. Set an example by living up to the standards you demand from them. For example:

  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Take good care of yourself.
  • Don’t waste time on your phone or computer.
  • Maintain structure in your home and make sure everyone—including you—toes the line.
  • Treat others with respect.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Make it a practice to be kind and help people in need.

The tools described above take time and commitment to learn. A great starting place is in a therapy room. Working with an experienced guide is an ideal way to refine your parenting skills and, in the process, help your teen through their challenges. If this resonates with you, I’d love to talk more about it with you soon. Reach out to learn more about teen counseling.

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