Put down the remote and inspire your teen to get up and active.

How to Deal With Unmotivated Teenagers

by Jaimie Zinski

Teenagers are constantly facing the pressure to perform in school, plan for their future, follow the rules and any other number of pressures placed on them by their parents, teachers and society. Psychologist Dr. Carl Pickhardt for Psychology Today says that many teens have the motivation required to participate in activities that provide them pleasure, but lack the gusto to finish their homework, complete chores or even wake up without a fight in the morning. There are several ways to motivate a teen to succeed, both at school and at home.

Talk with your teen about the underlying causes of his unmotivated attitude. He might suffer from low self-esteem, stress or feel he isn't getting the support he needs at home, according to GreatSchools.org, a resource for parents looking to find schools for their children.

Discover ways to help your teen work through his problems. If he's overwhelmed by his studies, offer to hire a tutor or take the time to help him with his schoolwork. If a lack of parental support is the issue, ask what you can do to reassure your teen. It might be something as simple as eating around the dinner table every night or scheduling a family movie night once a week.

Provide your teen with consequences to his lack of motivation to perform simple tasks at home in a timely fashion. For example, if your teen isn't willing to perform his chores, the natural consequence is the loss of an allowance. When your teen wants something of value, such as catching a movie with his friends, he won't have the money because he didn't follow through with his obligations.

Help your teen discover a new passion. If your teen isn't motivated to study or perform his duties at home, help him find a hobby or interest to spark a passion for life. For example, if your teen enjoys science fiction films, encourage him to join a local film society or try his hand at directing a sci-fi movie himself. Once his interest is rolling, remind him that if he wants to continue pursuing his passion, he must live up to his obligations at home and at school.


  • Speak to the school psychologist or a counselor if you're worried about your teen's complete lack of motivation or interest in life. The problem might be deeper, and require professional intervention.

About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.

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