(Inside: My teen has no motivation. What should I do? Help me gain perspective on this!)
My teen has no motivation
I had a wretched evening. My middle school son and I battled over his schoolwork and I felt completely discouraged…
The next morning, I went to a student-of-the-year presentation at the high school where I teach. Each teacher picks a student who has stood out over the year. This award is a big deal.
Low motivation in teens is not uncommon
A teacher stood up with a graduating senior I’d had in previous years. She’d both warmed-my-teacher-heart and broken-my-teacher-heart. Incredibly likable, this girl was kind and fun to be around. But she didn’t like homework, or goals…or really doing anything academic at all.
Despite encouragement and talking-to and phone calls home, her mom and I barely dragged her over the passing line in my class. For three high school years, she struggled to find any success at all in school.
How this teen became motivated
Then something happened – I don’t know really, but her senior year, we all saw a change in her.
She carried herself differently. With more confidence. Like she’d made up her mind to do well and now she was ready to take some steps.
She started making plans for after graduation – her future excited her. She took on more leadership roles in school – her confidence grew. She focused on getting assignments completed and turned in – her grades went up.
And now she was standing on a stage being applauded by a room full of teachers, administrators, parents, and peers.
Her mom beamed as she came over to say hello after the presentation. I asked, “What changed?” She said, her daughter…
Ready for this life-changing event?
This lighting strike moment?
…she said her daughter simply matured.
Moms, we keep giving our unmotivated teens the tools to success
No big dramatic moment, instead, at the end of her junior year, she quietly began to “grow up.” All the things her parents and teachers said to her finally started to sink in. And because she’d been given the tools to find success over the years, she knew to pull them out and start testing a few. Also, because everyone unconditionally loved her when she wasn’t using her gifts, I imagine she knew she had nothing to lose by simply trying.
This mom’s words were exactly what I needed to hear.
Just because my kid fought me on completing homework well, doesn’t mean he always will….
And just because our kids don’t always make good choices, doesn’t mean they always will… Just because our kids are moody and cranky with us, doesn’t mean they always will… And just because our kids can seem apathetic with no ambition or direction, it doesn’t mean they always will…
Sometimes kids just need time…
to let it all sink in…
to be a late bloomer…
Have faith – your kid will find their way
Moms, we stay the course. We keep loving and encouraging our kids through the high moments and the low moments. Even if our kids don’t respond to our “motivation” and “wisdom,” we keep giving them tools. We keep placing in their toolbox life lessons and tangible steps of how to be successful along with a ton of unconditional love.
And then we know – we really know and believe…
…that maturity will happen…eventually.
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Read more in the helping your big kid thrive in school series…
As a high school teacher for over two decades, I love, love, love watching kids learn. It’s okay if there are struggles in their educational journey. Not just okay – normal, even. We just keep stressing the importance of education and giving them the tools for success. And then we encourage our kids and love them well.
I hope you enjoy these articles.
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.