Lighting the Fire of Motivation in Your Teen
One of the most difficult tasks parents face in bringing up teenagers is motivating them to do their best, particularly in the academic arena. The truth is it’s very hard for parents to motivate their kids.
Motivation is intrinsic; it comes from within. Parents, or teachers for that matter, can’t force a young person to get motivated to learn more at school. The more they try the more resistance they receive.
So what does motivate a student?
In working with teens for nearly 30 years, I have found that young people who are confident in themselves are more likely to be motivated to move out of their comfort zone, set goals and go after achieving those goals with a single-minded focus.
So maybe the better question for parents is, “How do I build confidence in my teen?”
Two of the five tenets that permeate every aspect of my company’s youth training speak to the confidence issue. The first tenet is “Acknowledge Every Effort.” We know that learning involves taking risks and a willingness to step out of what is comfortable. Acknowledging your kids for both their competence and their effort builds confidence over time.
The next tenet that applies to building a student’s confidence is “If It’s Worth Learning, It’s Worth Celebrating.” Celebration is the breakfast of champion learners. Celebration provides feedback regarding progress and increases positive emotional associations with the learning.
I like to refer to “mini-success moments.” In other words, while major successes, such as a 4.0 on a report card, are worth celebrating, so are smaller things like completing a project that required some extra effort, voluntarily going in for an early morning or evening tutoring session in math, and so on.
Reprinted with the permission of Learning Forum International.
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