There are different phases of growth in an individual's life and
because teenagers are human beings, they are no exceptions to the rule.
During this period of physical development of the body, teenagers are
irritable and unruly and parents find them hard to manage.
crucial time of their lives, parents worry about their children's
welfare and future prospects. It is okay to be concerned. But being
worried does not solve any problems. In the alternative, parents should
make an effort to find out how to motivate these teenagers, instead of
just hoping that all would be well someday.
To rectify this
unhealthy situation, I urge parents to follow these reliable strategies
for motivating teenagers. They include: getting information, learning
from counselors and being more understanding. The other factors are;
being patient, developing effective communication skills, praying and
Let's clarify how these strategies could be used by parents to motivate teenagers.
should obtain information of how growth influences behavior, attitude
and social interaction. This knowledge would enable them understand why
these teenagers behave in the way they do, and help them accept the
changes as normal occurrences.
The information gathered would also
reveal that parental role during this important growth period, should
be to support and guide these teenagers to develop into healthy adults
they could be proud of some day.
Also, acquiring relevant
information would help parents to understand the nature of pressure
teenagers suffer due to growth, and help them to overcome these
Some of these problems includes: developing facial
hair, pimples, consciousness of their looks, awareness of their
attraction for the opposite sex, monthly periods for girls and wet
dreams for boys, development of muscles for the boys and well formed
hips for girls. All these physical and emotional changes are new and
unsettling to them.
In addition to rapid physical changes in their
bodies, teenagers face other pressures like: tough school work, poor
self image, peer pressure, sibling rivalry, fashion and class
consciousness and high parental and societal expectations.
these burdens they carry on their slim shoulders, make them nervous and
behave irrationally sometimes to adults. For teenagers to cope with
these pressures and succeed, parents must be aware of this precarious
situation and be supportive. Otherwise, they would have rebellious teens
they cannot manage.
Learning from Counselors
addition to getting information that would help parents understand the
problems their teenage children face, they should also get counsel for
managing these teens from psychologists, doctors, teachers, school
administrators, pastors and religious leaders.
Another way these
parents could learn from counselors is by reading books that teach how
to motivate teenagers and imbibe lessons learnt.
The importance of
good counsel cannot be underestimated. It is a known fact that without
good advice, the relationship between teenagers and their parents would
not be easy. To be more factual, there would be arguments,
insubordination and tense moments with these teenagers.
example, if these parents got good counsel, their communication and teen
management skills would improve, and enable them speak and treat their
teenage children with the dignity and respect they deserve.
change of attitude by parents would cause a reciprocal change of
behavior by these teenagers who would feel loved and obviously be more
obedient to their parents.
Being more Understanding
the enormous pressures the teenager face daily is one of the solutions
to insubordination. As a parent, find out the problems your teenage
children are facing. Lessen your authoritarian posture to them and
genuinely seek to know them.
Build rapport by patiently listening
to all the problems they bring up and jointly find the answers. Give
them the breathing space they need and stop nagging about their
dressing, yet to be completed home work, unkempt hair, scattered rooms
and unmade beds. Instead, model what you want them to copy by your
actions and speak less in your home.
Listen keenly to know their
fears and burdens and be a source of encouragement to them. Relate with
their friends so that you would know where they go to, and what they do
there. When they fail to live up to your expectations sometimes, do not
scold them, just look the other way.
Help teenagers solve problems
that they may have with their homework, if they trust you enough to
seek your assistance. Though this may hurt, ask yourself this question.
Were you like them as a teenager? Be frank with your answer so that you
can offer relevant solutions to their predicaments.
the family out on a picnic once in a while and show your children you
would always be there whenever they need a listening ear, guidance or a
shoulder to lean or cry on.
Play and exercise with them. Go to the
cinemas, ball games, school drama and public speaking presentations.
Attend their school's prize giving day. Call them on the telephone daily
and let them know they could count on you.
Be very clear about
your family values, habits and attitudes so that they would try to live
up to your expectations. Make them realize that you want what is best
for them. Let them know that even when they come short of your
expectations, you still love them because you know they did their best
and you are proud of them despite the poor outcome.
manipulate them. Ensure you are genuine in all your dealings with them,
so as not to give the wrong impression and end up driving them farther
away from you.
else you would always fight with them. Recall that you were once a
teenager and you probably drove your parents to the wall occasionally.
Without patience, you would clash with your teenage children each time
you addressed their misdemeanor.
Please understand that they would
test your patience most times, but you must learn to control your
emotions. You can be firm but don't be too hard on them and in time,
your patience would pay off in excellent relationship with them.
Develop Effective Communication Skills
communication is one of the keys to understanding and motivating your
teenage children. To communicate effectively with them, be simple and
stoop to their level of intelligence and development.
their problems and jointly work it out. For instance, deal with peer
pressure by discussing the causes and the best solutions, with examples
from your own life as a teenager.
Talk about low self esteem and
reassure them that they were intelligent, good looking and fun to be
with. Let them know you love them the way they are. Explain to them that
no one would take them serious or believe in them, if they don't take
the lead and control their shyness. Tell them a story of how you
conquered low self esteem worries as a teenager and assure them they
Explain how you dealt with poor grades at school. You
are permitted to exaggerate some parts of the story to teach them vital
lessons of life.
Reveal to them that you too, were a shy teenager
at some point in your life, but picked up courage to face challenges the
world presented. Give an example of where you displayed courage; like
how you felt when you spoke to your first girlfriend with wobbly knees,
yet did it all the same, and won her heart for trying even when it was
obvious you were shaking with fright.
Show them why it pays to
have goals and a plan for their future. For example, making goals and
having plans would enable them become successful adults capable of
making valuable contributions to the society. Find fun ways to teach
them all they ought to know as teenagers, and inspire them to solve
problems without giving up on themselves.
Show them that you had
experienced what they were passing through, by sharing how you overcame
those problems. Remind them that if you were able to overcome those
difficulties back then, they could too.
Maintain a joyous
atmosphere in your home so that they would desire to come home, love to
talk and stay with you because it was educative, exciting and not under
Praying and Having Faith
you are a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or practice some other religion,
when you have done all that you can do, and the results are still not
very pleasing then go on your knees and pray to your God.
is a two way thing. First you ask God for something. Next, you listen to
hear a feedback from Him, and then you thank Him for giving you what
you had asked for in faith.
Use this method to pray for your
teenage children and believe that God or nature, would step in to change
your unruly teenage children. Believe that your teenage children could
become role models for other uncouth teenagers to emulate, as answer to
Teenagers are human
beings just like you and deserve to be heard and treated with respect.
Gaining understanding from counseling would enable you manage them with
empathy than with harsh words. You would get their full cooperation when
you lead by example, than by scolding them.
Relate with them and
get to know them better so that you would not only gain their respect,
but also the much needed collaboration necessary to change their lives
for the better, and keep them motivated while doing it.