Staying motivated towards a specific goal is often difficult even for adults, let alone teenagers who are just beginning to discover the world from a different perspective. Even responsible and hard-working students may get side-tracked by their freedom, self-exploration and all the wonders of the adult world. Since adolescence is a crucial period of an individual’s life when they can form some long-lasting habits and pave the way for their future, it’s important that they remain focused on their education as one of the pillars of self-actualization. However, without motivation, they will disregard their studies and educational goals despite being highly intelligent and having enormous potential. Thus, it’s of the utmost importance that you, as a parent, find the right approach to motivate your child and help them find their intrinsic motivation in order to put them on the road to success.

The challenges of adolescence

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.Kofi Annan

Adolescence brings a lot of changes for a young individual who starts to discover their place in the world. They start differentiating themselves from their parents and shaping their own identities, which is why they are often resistant to your advice, guidance, and opinion. Communication with a teenager becomes quite problematic, as well as your attempts to guide your child in the right direction and point out the importance of taking care of themselves, exercising, learning, eating healthy and avoiding people who are truly a bad influence. Your attempts to impart your wisdom onto your child are met with disapproval and rejection, which can damage your relationship with them.

During this period, a parent’s task is to get to know their child all over again and connect with them, but not as a friend. Many parents try to be friends to their teenagers which causes them to lose their authority. You need to maintain your role as a parent and be an authoritative figure to your child. Also, you need to learn how to communicate with your teenager, who has become a different person, start to listen more and value their opinion. You should also get to know their interests, desires, and aspirations and then find a way to create a balance between your expectations and their desires. Only then will your child become a hardworking dreamer who is ready to work on their progress, as well as personal and professional development.

By getting closer to your teenager, you’ll be able to advise them, help them achieve their dreams and get into one of the best ROI colleges without them rebelling against you or alienating themselves. You will inspire your child to be the best version of themselves and help them find the long-term motivation to do to so.

Different types of motivation

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.  Martin Luther King, Jr

Motivation is a change-oriented movement, which means that there should be a specific goal that your teenager will strive for. There are different types of motivation that can be divided into four categories: possible selves, possible futures, task interest and near-term gratification. While the first two categories refer to long-term achievements and results, the second two stand for short-term achievements and support the long-term goals. In order to help your child realize a long-term goal, you should start from short-term ones that will bring about optimism and energy which will then motivate them to stay focused and pursue their major life goals.

The best way to start inspiring and motivating your child is to involve them in the process from the very beginning. They won’t respond well if you lay out your plan for their future before them. You can help them create their long-term goals divide them into several short-term ones and think of ways to achieve them. The goals should be clear, specific and measurable, which will enable both of you to follow the progress. Remember to be understanding and emphatic, especially when it comes to problems and obstacles, listen rather than yell and recognize their achievements.

Another possible categorization of motivation is into extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation stems from an external factor. For example, when you promise to buy your child a car if they get into college. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is a product of personal desires – when your child performs a task because they find it enjoyable, they are intrinsically motivated. Since the latter type of motivation is durable and more powerful than the former, it’s important that you find out your teenager’s intrinsic values and aspirations. If they have an educational goal that is intrinsically important to them, they will be truly motivated to achieve it.

By helping your teenager discover their interests and aspirations and form long-term goals, they will be intrinsically motivated to achieve them, which is the key to their personal and professional progress.

About Author

Isabel F. William

Body & Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.


    • Isabel William
      Isabel William on

      I agree about that tricky stage comment totally.

      We really have to pay attention more on their behavior, but also we need to balance with our parenting moments or they will run away from us.

  1. Avatar

    Adolescence called a period of storm and stress, during this period, parentsts and teachers played an important role. So motivating them to get their goals. Nice read.

    • Isabel William
      Isabel William on

      Yes, I agree!
      Yet, we can’t have positive role if we don’t know how to communicate to them, and how to balance our friendship and authority towards them.
      Thank you.

  2. Avatar

    What a great post, though my son is very small right now, but I could relate to my adolescence here. It needs so much of motivation, guidance and friendly aura with parents.

  3. Avatar

    I really agree with you! Intrinsic motivation, as you explained, is really helpful for teens and young adults! And for every one else too

  4. Avatar

    Adolescence is a crucial stage and it has to be handled properly. This is a very informative and well written post…

    • Isabel William

      Thank you very much for this kindly words!

      I am so happy that my words reached you in that way!

      You have my full support, and if you need some additional motivation don’t hesitate to contact me!

  5. Avatar

    I think teenage is very difficult age. And right guidance is important at this age. It is important to set your goals and start working on them while you are still understanding yourself!!

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