How To Motivate Teens: Top 15 Tips For 2024

a teenager and motivation text, representing how to motivate teens

Ok, let’s be honest! being a teenager can sometimes mean struggling with identity, lacking discipline, feeling awkward about their bodies, and even having low self-esteem. 

If you are the parent of a teen then you might be familiar with refrains “Whatever” and “I don’t care”. Sometimes they can be so unmotivated!

But we all know that developing self-discipline is the key to motivating teens – to fuel their inner motivation. As a result, your teens will have good grades, but more importantly, they will develop the confidence and mindset that will help them succeed in all areas of life.

You might ask yourself how to motivate teens or is it even possible? Well, By using the following strategies, you can assist your teens in developing intrinsic motivation. 

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How to motivate teens: 12 tips

Let’s explore these tips and find a way to motivate your teenagers without being intimating or strict.


1- Help them to enjoy the journey until they get to their destination

There’s more to life than grades and extracurricular activities.

It’s essential that your teen learns skills like responsibility, perseverance, resilience, and hard work throughout the journey.

So help your teenager become a more motivated and disciplined student by encouraging them to focus on the process.

Encourage your teens to identify opportunities for improvement while paying attention to their effort if they don’t achieve their goals.

The following is an example of what you might say:

Despite failing at math, I hope you’re proud of yourself for practicing 5-10 Min every day even though you failed. Your determination and grit were admirable. In the future, how do you think you can practice more effectively? ” Teenagers who focus on the process are less likely to shy away from challenges and more likely to try new things.

If you are not sure what to say to encourage your teens more or want to change your way of saying, here are some additionals you can use:


  • It takes time, effort, and determination to pursue rewarding careers and hobbies.
  • Make sure you praise your teen when he or she is working hard – not just when they perform well.
  • Learn about the benefits of studying and learning beyond grades.
  • Encourage your teen to share his or her hopes and aspirations; show how you are pursuing your own dreams (even if you end up failing).


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2- Give them the freedom to Set Their Own Goals

A dad is giving motivation to his two teen

This is something you’ve seen before. A parent who wishes to become a famous athlete or actress pushes this dream onto their child.

Self-determination is essential for teenagers. Providing goal suggestions by parents is still valuable as long as they don’t force them.

It is helpful to ask questions such as “Why did you choose this goal? ” and “What steps do you need to take to reach this goal?” It is also helpful to teach the components that make a goal decisive.

The best way to achieve goals is to make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART).

It is better to have specific goals, such as “turn in all my assignments on time,” than vague ones, such as “try harder in school.”

If you want to test the measurability of a goal, ask yourself, “How will you know when you have achieved it? If you do not achieve it, unrealistic goals may lead to feelings of failure.

Goals should be more realistic.

Last but not least, goals that have a precise timeline work better than those that are ambiguous.

Getting a sense of accomplishment from completing a goal never ends if it never ends.

Make sure teenagers set their own goals rather than those determined by others.

Consider replacing “get the lead in the school plays” with “have my audition monologue memorized.”

In order to increase their chances of success, teenagers should write down their goals once they have established them.

With patience and time, you will learn how to motivate teens, so do not give up yet.


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3- Be a good example for your teen

Whether it’s procrastinating on laundry, delaying a dentist appointment, or hitting the snooze button repeatedly, adults procrastinate too.

Parenting is hard, and no one expects you to be perfect.

Nevertheless, your teenagers are watching you and modeling their behavior after you, consciously or unconsciously.

If you find it difficult to motivate yourself, your teens might have a hard time changing their behavior.

Your teens will be more likely to develop these qualities if they observe that you are hardworking, responsible, and disciplined.

You can set a good example for your children by:

  • Make mistakes as a family and develop a culture where it’s okay. Take risks – even when it’s scary – and share your dreams and setbacks!
  • Keep your procrastination to a minimum. Don’t hesitate to complete a simple task within a few minutes if possible.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health to demonstrate a holistic approach to motivation.


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4- Explain the costs and benefits to them

In order to achieve their goals, teenagers need to consider the challenges and benefits they may face. Money is needed for some goals.

In order to increase his or her chances of making the varsity team the next academic year, a young adult may wish to attend a basketball camp over the summer. 

You can help your teenager determine how long it will take to earn money, whether from an allowance or a part-time job if this is a cost they will have to cover on their own.

A cost isn’t always a monetary one.

It may not occur to a teenager that going to bed earlier and missing out on previous late-night activities could be a downside of waking up earlier.

In addition, specific goals may have more significant benefits than initially imagined.

The primary objective of babysitting may be to earn more money, but it can also be physically beneficial.

Teenagers interested in volunteering for a cause they believe in may not realize they could later ask the charity for a college recommendation.

In order to determine if a goal is worth it, teens should understand the costs and benefits of achieving it.


5- Encourage healthy lifestyles


cheerful teenage boy with his dad in mountains

The value of a good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated when it comes to motivating teenagers.

Exhaustion makes motivation difficult for anyone.

You should help your teen develop a routine that provides enough time for rest so that he or she can function optimally at night. Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. It’s also essential to eat right and exercise. Teenagers can increase self-control and cope with stress by adopting healthy habits.

As a parent, you can be a great role model here. Try exercising more and reducing caffeine and screen time. Show your teen that it’s achievable if they want it.


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6- Rewarding and punishing at the same time is not a good idea

A simple way how to motivate teens is to use rewards and punishments.

I often hear parents say things like: “Won’t my teens study harder if they get extra video game time for good grades and lose their phone privileges for bad grades? However, here are some things to keep in mind…

Long-term motivation is not achieved by rewards and punishments, according to research. They might motivate your teenagers to study harder for an upcoming test, but they won’t teach them how to persevere and work hard. The process is less important than the outcome when it comes to rewards and punishments.

Our teens should be encouraged to learn and take on challenges, as we discussed earlier.


7- Quick wins are the key

Goal-setting should begin with some “quick wins” for teens. We sometimes struggle to achieve our goals because of a fear of failure, whether we are adults or teenagers.

Isn’t it true that if you don’t try, you can’t fail? As teenagers accomplish these more manageable goals, they gain confidence that they can accomplish harder ones as well.

Saving a substantial amount of money, for example, may seem impossible. A quick win would be to open a bank account for teenagers.

By taking that step, they are one step closer to their goal. An action that can be completed in a short amount of time proves a certain level of ability.

Procrastination is also combated with quick goals. Doing something that will take only a few minutes is more manageable than starting a long-term project.


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8- It should be fun too

Teenagers are not the only ones who can benefit from this motivational principle.

It is more motivating to do something fun than something boring for most people.

So this is not only about how to motivate teens but also how to motivate yourself too.

Teenagers are motivated to engage in social activities when they are having fun.

Explore with your teen what activities they enjoy doing, and encourage them to do them if you want them to get out of the house, get active, and make new friends.

It is important to remember that what you enjoy may not be what your teen enjoys. Make sure to show your teen that you value and are interested in whatever he or she considers exciting and fun.

A teenager responds well to competition.

If there is a competitive element involved, even the most mundane task can become a passion-filled activity.

Having someone to compete against isn’t always necessary for competition to take place; sometimes, young people respond to the challenge to improve their own performance.

Encourage your teenager to play games, watch movies, or search the Internet if they can learn something. The use of technology in any task makes it instantly more appealing to young people today.


9- Don’t give motivational speeches

When your teens need a quick boost of motivation to complete an assignment, motivational quotes can help.

Despite this, pep talks rarely motivate teens in the long run. Why is that?

The truth is that even the best-intentioned pep talks become lectures, at least from the perspective of teens. Even words you think are inspiring might sound nagging or even scolding. Follow the tips in this article to help your teenagers develop intrinsic motivation instead of giving them pep talks.


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10- Errors should be allowed

A mom is telling to her daughter that its ok to have errors

It’s vital for our children to learn from their mistakes, and if we’re honest, so are we. You shouldn’t be too quick to step in and fix things when your child makes a mistake.

Their actions should be allowed to have natural consequences so that they can learn from them.

Having our teen ignore the cat box for a few days and then having to scoop it up will be a much more vivid lesson.

A similar principle applies if he doesn’t empty the trash soon enough and garbage spills out onto the floor.

Make sure they understand their responsibilities and remind them nicely.


11- Mentoring and role modeling are essential

A mom hugging her daughter from back representing mentoring

What is the likelihood of a student succeeding in school if they have a mentor?

You should be happy that your teenagers (hopefully) love and respect you. The fact that someone outside of the family can provide them with a fresh perspective is still beneficial.

Your teens will benefit from having a mentor when there are conflicts between them and you.

By mentoring your teens, you can enable them to see the situation from different perspectives, which will make finding a solution easier.

Mentors can be coaches, teachers, neighbors, or even family friends. A life coach could also help teens succeed in their careers.


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12- Maintain a calm attitude

A mom is talking calmly to her daughter

We must remember that our teens aren’t the only teenagers who struggle with laziness and don’t want to do their schoolwork.

Honestly, we must also overcome these feelings.

It is important to show grace to our teens when they are unmotivated or have a poor attitude.

Sometimes, we expect our teens to act like full-grown adults.

Remember, however, that they are still developing their character and learning.

As a teenager, remember your behavior and feelings. Your teen probably feels lazy and unmotivated the same way you do – at least occasionally.

I hope that was helpful. There is no need to feel alone.

Additionally, I know that once my 17-year-old went through driver’s training and got his license, his maturity soared. He also gained maturity after holding his first part-time job.

With more responsibility, our teenagers grow exponentially and start to envision themselves navigating the world one day. Don’t rush. Set a good example for them. Keep in mind that it takes time.


13- Be patient with teenagers

It’s already safe to say if you have a teenager, you know being patient is the only answer that works.

Most teenagers are on edge, and if you push them even a little bit, they will burst out and send you to ground zero. As I said before, don’t rush it and let them figure it out themselves.


14- Just be there when they need you

A happy mother and holding her her teenage boy

It’s essential to acknowledge that even though they say they don’t need you, they actually need you. Teens are like a bird who wants to leave their nest for the first time.

They need their independence, but they also need instructors on what to do or where to go for food.
Try to be in the background so that when needed, you can subtly interfere and don’t make them mad or upset.


15- Don’t worry too much; time will change many things

As a parent of two new adults, I can assure you the time will come eventually. They don’t stay teens forever, and they most certainly don’t carry that attitude for the rest of their lives. The time will come when you suddenly realize how much of a reasonable and responsible adult they are.

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Some Final Thoughts

I encourage you to implement at least a few of these 12 proven tips to motivate teenagers. In doing so, your teens will develop the motivation and fulfillment they need to succeed.

My guess is that you’ve been facing some challenges with your teens since you’re reading this article… 

So make sure to put the time and effort into applying these tips in the upcoming year.  We assure you if your teens see your effort and try, they will fall in line to be more helpful and considerate.

Did you like this article? If so, let us know in the comments and name your favorite way of motivating teens.

Written by Saeed Ahmadi

Who am I? A blogger, mindset mentor, personal development coach, content creator, SEO Specialist, digital marketer, entrepreneur, reader by night, and writer by day.

Mindsetopia, my brainchild, is more than a platform, its my vision of a world where everyone has access to the tools and knowledge necessary for personal growth and self-growing.

What really makes me excited is helping people to unlock their true potential. So,I am here to give you the kick you need to change your mind and then your life :)

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