While most teenagers are naturally enthusiastic about their lives, there are some kids who exhibit significant disinterest with theirs; as a result, these teens are often left lagging behind their peers both academically and socially. Lack of motivation and teenage mood swings could lead to more serious behavioral issues. While it’s normal for your teen to experience some moodiness, it’s important that action is taken to stop the behavior from escalating.
Today, there are too many teenagers who are unmotivated to work for their future. Among the many causes—videogames, cable television, internet, all these are factors that can contribute to a teen’s lack of motivation and urgency to work hard. In a report, Forbes shows that 59% of the parents in the U.S. are still providing continuous financial support to their children even though they have stopped schooling.
As a parent, it’s important to understand what is considered normal behavior for your teen. Your teen’s lack of motivation and mood swings could be caused by anxiety and stress. For years, many scientists have been looking into whether teen moodiness has a biological basis. A study published in Nature Neuroscience revealed that these teenage mood swings are caused by the biological changes happening in the adolescent brain.
While all of these things are happening inside a teenager’s brain, there are other sociological factors that can really trigger anxiety and stress among teens. There’s tremendous pressure on teens not just in their social life but also in their academics. The schoolwork, the expectations to do better, the prospect of going to college; all these are common stressors for teens. Add to that the pressures that build up at home. Parents expect a teen to “act their age” when they don’t know exactly what that means. Teens have a lot on their plates, and parents often don’t know how to deal with it when their teen’s emotions go haywire once in a while.
Tips for Motivating Your Teenager
Set an ultimatum
What would you do if you have a guest who has overstayed his welcome? Simple, you tell him to move out. In similar fashion, you can give your teenager an ultimatum that he has to move out in three months’ time. By that time he has to have a job to pay his rent and support himself. Take note, it is important that you explain to your teen why you are doing this. Otherwise, it will only seem to him that he is being punished.
Bring to an End to Freeloading
Freeloaders are the kind of people who enjoy the benefits of things without paying for it, usually by taking advantage of the charity, generosity, or hospitality of others. In a sense, kids who take advantage of their parents’ infinite support, love and care are by definition “freeloaders”.
If you love your teen and do not want him or her to turn into a family freeloader, start by treating him or her as an adult. Stop giving freebies (outside of necessities) and tell him or her that working to acquire what they need and want is the reality of life. That means financial support should be the first to go, and next is free lodging. Step by step, challenge your teen to start helping themselves.
You can even do this to your teens who are still studying. Do not supply them with everything they ask for, do not give them too much pocket money, and start teaching them ways to provide for themselves.
Set Clear Boundaries on Help; Do Not Go into Debt Helping Them
While it may not be possible to turn down every time your teenager asks for help, let your teens know the extent you are willing to help. Otherwise, you will be hearing the old excuse “but we have no food” or “but I am sick” many times. If anything, it is high time for your teenagers to feel the pain associated with irresponsibility.
Give Them Direction
Sometimes teenagers do not know what they want out of life. Sometimes they think they are ill-prepared to meet the demands of responsibility and would rather put it off and bask in the comfort of their parent's support.
These teens are struggling, and it is the parents’ responsibility to reignite their children’s passion to succeed. Talk to them about what they want to achieve in life and help them to explore possibilities. Help them by giving direction. Talk to them about what kind of jobs they want to do and are capable of doing. Help them make portfolios and resumes and drive them to their job interviews.
Like teaching toddlers how to take the first step, sometimes parents have to initiate the first few steps for their kids’ transition towards independence and adulthood.