Brad Wilcox: ‘This is the secret to motivating your teen…’

Ever heard the phrases “whatever” or “I don’t care” from your teen? There are ways to help your teen unplug and start focusing on what really matters.

Brad Wilcox shares how to understand the different levels of motivation so teens can focus on what’s important.



How to Motivate Your Teen

If your teen has lost their motivation, there are ways you can help. Help them focus on the important things with these strategies.

Levels of Motivation

There are levels of motivation–things we feel we have to do (rewards, punishments), things we feel we should do (expectations and praise or disappointment), and things we want to do (because we love it). We have to identify what level they are on, back up to wherever we need to and then move from there.

What helps us upgrade our motivations?  Knowing some reasons why make a difference.  We can eat veggies because “I’m the Mom and I said so” or we can learn the benefits they give us.  Then we know why we “should” do it.

How do we get to the point that we love it?

It helps to be around people who do, but even that is not the long-term answer. It is not just a matter of doing something until you get used to it.  It is a matter of seeing a bigger picture, seeing beyond the activity to something greater.

You don’t like classical music, but the more you listen the more you feel it touch your emotions or make you feel sophisticated.

You don’t want to drive, but the more you do you feel powerful and independent.

Broadened perspective is how things go from being items to be checked off a list to things that you can’t imagine your life without, part of who you are.

Some people call it a sense of mission. The most important work done is usually not what is done for a paycheck, but because people believe in what they are doing. They are willing to put up with all kinds of things they don’t want to do if they feel like it is for cause they care about.

What to do when teens fall short…

When teens fall short, instead of giving them a lecture, it is best to ask questions. Instead of giving them all the right answers, it is best to ask some right questions:

  • What happened?
  • Is that helping you learn or reach your goals?
  • What are you going to do about it?
  • Will you commit to that?
  • How can I help you?

Such questions, asked in private, can be much more helpful than a lecture.

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