Parenting teenagers isn’t easy, and we’re pretty sure that nobody expected it to be easy. However, sometimes it can truly become overwhelming. Something that can really get to a lot of parents is seeing their teenager not reaching their potential. It can be tempting to do something rash, there are some ways you can help manage this.
Giving your teen support and help is crucial, and so is telling them that you believe in their capabilities. However, you can’t expect anyone to rush into becoming something or doing something that they are not ready for.
Motivation is critical to everyone. Just think about how often we need to tap into our own motivation to get up to go to work, go to the gym, do another load of laundry, or start a new project you’ve been meaning to get to.
The same goes for teenagers, but they’re also dealing with hormones, social pressure, mountains of homework, stressing about college, and plenty more.
You can try to meet them halfway by trying to understand them. You might wonder why they would prefer to keep their room so filthy or wear the same jeans for days in a row, most parents know the criticism doesn’t usually help much.
Saying things like “Many times I really don’t feel like cleaning, but I always feel so much better when I go to bed and the room is clean and tidy.” That will usually go better than saying something like “why does your room look like a pigsty?” Showing compassion rather than shaming your teen will work wonders.
You also have to come to terms with the fact that they will not always be good at everything. Help them find the things they do excel at, and encourage them to continue to improve in these areas. Don’t expect someone who isn’t a naturally good tester to suddenly become the best at it overnight. Patience and encouragement will always help more than frustration.
Tying into that is the fact that letting your teen know that it’s okay that they are not good at something. Many kids feel so much pressure to be good at everything, especially with increased pressure from colleges to have an outstanding resume in order to apply.
You can remind your teen that it’s okay if they aren’t the best at everything, and that they shouldn’t get so frustrated with themselves. Not being the best is no reason to give up on something, and you should always make sure your child knows that.
A really effective tool in increasing motivation is to give your child incentives. If you take something away, let them know that there’s a way to earn it back.
For example, if they miss out on doing a homework assignment for some reason, you can take their phone away. However, you should let them know that they can get it back once they complete and turn in the missed assignment. This can also apply to chores.
You can also reward tasks that they do not want to do at all by offering a treat like ice cream after dinner.
Most people need a bit of a push of encouragement in order to stay motivated, and teens are no exception.