Trying to instill a sense of personal responsibility in an unmotivated teen is a central frustration point for parents. Your kid is obviously motivated to do the things they want to do, but how can you get them to do the things they NEED to do?
It feels like it should be easy to get your kid to follow through with their responsibilities. You don’t ask much of them, so why can’t they do what they need to do without being defiant? The answer might be unmotivated, but it could be more than that. They know they need to complete their chores at home and follow the rules at school, but they won’t.
Teens who struggle with mental health problems like ADHD, depression, or anxiety might need additional support in developing a sense of personal responsibility. It’s not as easy for struggling teens to understand the need for action or promptly follow through with their chores. Teens who have a tough time with laziness and defiance can benefit from therapeutic treatment and life skills lessons.
Lazy teenager vs. frustrated parent
Don’t let your child’s laziness get you down. Finding creative ways to motivate a lazy teenager is a real challenge, but it’s essential to teach your teen how to stop being lazy and follow through with their responsibilities. As they approach adulthood, they will get more and more responsibilities that they need to accept. If they don’t learn how to manage them now, it will be harder to learn as an adult.
Start by having a conversation with your teen and genuinely listening to them. A lazy, defiant teenager isn’t usually as careless as we think. Something motivates them to hang out with their friends or play video games, so try to find out what that is. What drives them to get up in the morning and do what they do?
Once you understand your teen’s values, you can start implementing motivational techniques around their values. If your teen wants something, they’re more likely to work towards it. As a parent of a lazy teenager, it’s vital to help your teen learn to set goals and see mundane tasks as steps toward meeting their goals.
How to motivate a lazy teenager
Here are some ideas that you can use to motivate an unmotivated teen.
Help them build self-confidence
Motivation is often linked to self-confidence. If your teen doesn’t believe in themself, they’re less likely to work hard and shoot for big goals. It’s much easier to sit back and let life pass you by than to try something and risk failure.
Help your teen see their value and notice their success. Praise them when they do something well, and encourage them to count their successes. When they fail at something, help them see it as a learning opportunity that they can bounce back from.
Teach them to use small steps
Some kids get overwhelmed with their responsibilities and don’t know where to begin. So, they just don’t do anything. Defiant teens who refuse to do basic tasks often avoid how anxious the tasks make them feel. If your teen gets overwhelmed by everything they have to do, teach them how to break big tasks into small steps.
Recovering from failing grades might seem like a daunting, unattainable challenge. It’s easier to act like they don’t care about failing and refuse to try than actually to work toward a passing grade. By breaking the goal into small steps, making a passing grade seems much more attainable. If the goal seems achievable, your teen is more likely to attempt it.
Emphasize time management
With so many adults in the world who struggle with time management, it should be no surprise that teens also struggle with time management. They know what they need to do, but they get the timing wrong.
They overestimate how long it will take to do what they don’t want to do (like homework), so they put off doing it. They underestimate how long it will take to do the thing they want to do (like play video games), so they try to squeeze that in first. Ultimately, they spend too long on what they want and don’t leave enough time for anything else.
Teenagers need to learn how to manage their time well to complete their required tasks and still have time for fun. You might need to help your kid develop a schedule that works for them. You could also institute house rules designed to help them manage their time. If your teen spends all their time on video games and neglects their homework, you could create a rule that they don’t get their gaming console until their task is complete.
Get outside help
Sometimes, your teen needs to hear from someone other than you. If they have lofty goals for college or career, have them talk to someone in that field. If they really want to achieve that goal, they’ll be more motivated to act than if you had given them the information.
Depending on the severity of the lazy, defiant teenage behavior, you might also need to get therapeutic help. If teenagers completely lack the motivation to do anything, including the things they typically enjoy, they might have a bigger problem.
Most teens just need to learn to tweak what they care about to live a healthy, productive life. If your teen genuinely doesn’t care about anything, they could be struggling with mental health issues.
For more information about our specialized therapeutic treatment program for teen boys, call us at 866-639-2856.