How to knock laziness out of your teenager
Knock laziness out of your teenager: When you are at home because it is your day off, what are things that your teenager does?
Let me take a guess, most of the time, they are sitting on a couch with snacks in their hands and just watching Netflix.
Or, sometimes during weekends they are just inside the room playing video games or sleeping all day.
This is common with teens because they are experiencing some changes in their body.
Things like, hormonal and chemical changes during puberty could be the main cause of unmotivated teens.
If, our sons or daughters are not motivated we all know that it is a bad thing. Lack of motivation in the long run may have some serious effects, like failing to go to school, anxiety and in the worst-case depression.
So, it is important for a parent to monitor teenager motivation and knock laziness out of your teenager. You must make sure that they are always motivated to do things.
Having said that, how can we effectively motivate our teenager to do something? What can we do to help them stay motivated despite of changes and stress that they may be experiencing? How to bloody knock laziness out of your teenager?
It is common for parents of teenagers to feel frustrated about their teen’s laziness. And I am not different. My teens especially my second son is so skillful in being lazy that he can put a sloth to shame…
Read on to get some insights on how I went about, and I hope it will help you too, to knock laziness out of your teenager.
Topics covered in this blog
- Three Types of Laziness
- Two Types of Motivation
- Signs of Unmotivated Teenager:
- 21 practical ways to knock laziness out of your teenager
- Video Time – Experts Speak
- Note to parents
Three Types of Laziness
There are 3 types of laziness. All equally bad and hence need to be improved upon for our wellbeing
- The first is physical laziness where one does not want to do any type of physical activity. They do not like to work with their hands and legs.
- Mental laziness is where one does not want to exercise their mental muscles. They like to take shortcuts, easy way out. Not read or learn and do things.
- Spiritual laziness is where one does not like to do anything that helps them grow spiritually. Things such as seek knowledge from religious books, pray, meditate, observe silence etc.
All these types of laziness need to be overcome to have wholistic growth.
Two Types of Motivation
To overcome laziness, one needs motivation.
Motivation is the experience of desire or aversion. It is the driving force when we want to do something or to avoid something.
Do you remember the first day your child went to school? How did they react ? They were excited right? That clearly shows what motivation is.
There are two kinds of motivation,
- The intrinsic motivation (internal motivation): This motivation comes from within to meet personal needs. There is no need for an external stimulus to be motivated. Example, your son or daughter really enjoy singing, they love to sing because it is their hobby. And one day there is a singing competition in their school, and your son/daughter participated in it without any hesitation.
- The extrinsic motivation (external motivation): This is the opposite of intrinsic motivation because it comes from external factors. The motivation comes extrinsically. For example, you get your teen to participate in a competition because you have attached a reward to it. Like a trophy, recognition, certificates, medal, or eve cash prize.
Signs of Unmotivated Teenager:
Below are few signs to show that you teen is not motivated to do anything.
- Feelings of sadness
- Frequent absences from school
- Shunning away from responsibilities
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Making excuses or finding reasons not to do something
- Changes of sleeping and eating habits
- Fatigue, exhaustion, or lack of energy
- Decrease in productivity
- Taking too much time to complete the task
- Being vague and idle loitering
Watch out for the signs, so you know the situation you have at hand with your teenager.
To know more about raising teenagers and get insights into teen related challenges you can browse though our articles given in this link -> Parental challenges faced while raising teenagers.
21 practical ways to knock laziness out of your teenager
Teenagers tend to become sloths. My second son, who is now a teen, can beat a sloth when it comes to being lazy.
So, all that I have written below is in consultation with him and the tricks I have picked up over time to make him the busy bee he is now today.
Let us jump right on to how to knock laziness out of your teenager.
Monitor their achievement
The main reason for lack of motivation during the teenage phase is because no one monitors their achievement. Or takes interest in it.
They soon get into the mode “who cares?”, “Why do we need to put in this effort?”
They start thinking that they are just wasting their time and effort. It will become meaningless to them.
So, pay attention. Monitor their achievements. Guide them and celebrate with them. All this will show your teen that that their achievements are meaningful and will make them feel that what they are doing is important to you.
This involvement and monitoring also helps in good academic performance while it also helps to knock laziness out of your teenager. To know more read our article How to help with poor academic performance in your teen
Support them at all cost
Focus on supporting your teen’s activity. If they have new skills or project that they are working on, support them at all cost.
Teens are very sensitive. With just simple harsh words you can make their feelings crumble.
If they are starting something support them. Tell him/her that they are doing great and they must continue it. Get them the needed resources so they can be further motivated to complete.
Your support means a lot to your teenager. It is their extrinsic motivation to start something and will help in your journey to knock laziness out of your teenager.
Give them positive reinforcement
Reinforcement is important in motivation because it makes us repeat a certain action. Give your teen positive reinforcement by displaying their achievement or their work.
I had a double door fridge and each side was dedicated for each son. All that they did went up on the fridge for the year.
Talking proudly about their achievements is a way of positive reinforcement. Give them some present if they got high grades or simply, cook them their favorite meals.
Use negative reinforcement but with caution
Negative reinforcement is opposite. Being judgmental or sarcastic can become a deterrent and make them ditch the project.
If your teen is showing lack of motivation. You can use the negative reinforcement to prevent it from happening. But use it sparingly and with caution.
Like for example, your teenager is just becoming lazy at home. Make sure you give her/him some firm but gentle pointers so that they’ll be aware about wrong actions that they are doing.
Show them consequences
Always apply value on things. Teens will only realize that something is important if they see value on it.
Tell them the possible consequences to them like what might happen if they don’t to develop their skills? What they could gain by developing new skills.
If your teens are lazy to exercise talk to them on the health benefits and what they will lose if they do not exercise. Putting value will help you motivate your teen to do something.
Engage your teen in activities of their choice
Find out activities that your teenager likes to do and engage them in it. Create avenues so that they can explore further on these activities. Give them options and choices that they can investigate to help nurture these passions of theirs. You will soon see that it does knock laziness out of your teenager.
My second one came up saying that he likes to start a vegetable garden. My dad spent a good 3 days and used all his influence to introduce him to people who practiced agriculture and buying the required material for him to start his own vegetable garden.
Today, few of our day today items come from this garden. He has not only gotten smarter in this but also works on it to weed it, to water and to pluck the fruits of his labour.
Get involved in their activities
If you think that your teen is becoming unmotivated to do something, then maybe it is time for you to engage and get involved with them to ensure that you knock laziness out of your teenager.
I am not saying you always have to be part of their daily activities. What I am saying is be in the activities that you think you can help to make your teen be motivated.
When my son started to play the guitar, there were times he was frustrated because he was playing the wrong chords. While I do not know how to play the guitar, I sat and sang and asked him to play for me.
Soon he started learning new chords for songs and would ask me to sing along. This became one of our favorite activities and it was not only enjoyable but also formed a good base for bonding.
Help them grow in knowledge
Always encourage your teen to gain knowledge. The more knowledge they get the more intelligent they become. Because they soon learn to apply this knowledge.
When they seek knowledge, new avenues open to them. They get to know new things out there, new fields that they can explore. How to knock laziness out of your teenager is the least thing you will be worried about.
My son picked up his interest in computer programming after reading a python book that was lying around in the house.
It also helps when your teenager has good friends who also seek knowledge and have intellectually stimulating conversations.
Read our very informative article How-to help your teen to choose right friends to know more and guide your teen.
Monitor their sleep
All of us feel lazy and sluggish when we are tired and it is a no brainer.
Teenagers need good sleep. With all that is going around with mobile phones, social media, hyper connectivity, peer pressures and all the hormonal changes that they go through.
All of it affects their sleep and their sleep routines.
By having a good sleep, they are fresh and not tired. Additionally, a fresh mind helps them stay alert and gives them the energy that is needed to do some work.
Good sleep helps in reducing stress and increases mental wellbeing.
You can get more information on this from our article How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager and How to influence your teenager’s mental well-being.
Tell them stories
Tell them stories of achievements due to hard work. You would have 100’s of them lying around because there is no success without hard work. Make them watch these documentaries, ted talks or read biographies.
All this forms an impression on your teenager’s mind and gives a good model for them to follow and aspire to be.
Make it fun
Make activities fun for them. Invite their friends over for a craft work or some DIY work. Throw “tell me why questions” and ask them to find answers from the books you have on the table.
Peak their imagination with thought provoking questions like. What does one learn from ants? Why are bees called busy bees? Etc…
It’s my son responsibility to set up the event and host it. Right from invitations to engagement activities and refreshments. I do help along.
Find their talent and nurture their interest
Find out the talent that your teen has. And explore what is being offered in your neighbourhood and enrol your teen so that it can nurture this talent.
Introduce them and show them the openings that are available and see if your teen is interested to pick up anything and pursue.
You can also help them participate in extracurricular activities in school.
My son enrolled for chess and tennis classes outside. And robotics in his school.
You can read about how to find your teenagers talent from our article How to Help Your Teen Make a Career Choice
Give the chores
Chores are very important for your teenager. No, not because it gives you an extra helping hand. It is very fundamental to your teenager becoming very successful and independent later in their life.
Have a schedule for chores and insist that the schedule is completed, and chores done.
I do not want to get into the details of how to get your teenager to do chores. You can read all you need to know about chores from our exhaustive article All You Need to know about Chores for Your Teenager.
Be creative in rewards
Attach rewards to activities. Be creative with it.
In my opinion I would recommend not to attach to rewards for chores. Because chores are part of being in the family and needed to be done and not to be done only for reward.
Few of the rewards I had were…
I would pay my children INR 100 for every event that they participated in. If they won, they would get INR 500 for the first place, INR 350 for the 2nd place and 200 for the 3rd
When kids like to go out for a movie with friends all they had to do is wash the family cars. That way they quickly earn their reward for popcorn & snacks during movies. And you have scored a brownie point in your quest to knock laziness out of your teenager.
Highlight but Do not Nag
Highlight the importance of the work that you are giving to your teen. Let them know why they need to do it and how they would benefit from it.
Do not engage in constant nagging. It is just a turn off for anybody who listens. Once or twice you can get away with it but in the long run it will only backfire.
Try your best to build roots of responsibility and wings of freedom. This does take time but hang in there in be patient and be consistent in your effort
Develop their smartness
Slowly and consistently develop smartness in your teen. They are quick thinkers and can tackle the situation smartly. They will be effective in completing the task given to them easily.
This will save effort and time for your teen. They will be more receptive to do tasks this way.
If you are wondering how to make your teen smart read our in depth article How to Train you teenager to be smart to get more insights.
Give them time to be lazy
You did hear me right. Give them time to be lazy. Wondering how this will knock laziness out of your teenager?
Well, do we not look forward to weekends where we can just relax and do nothing.
When you give them some time in the day where they can absolutely do nothing, or nothing is expected from them, it gives them good motivation to do something the rest of the time.
In fact, the first time when my son had suggested this, I was taken a little aback but let me tell you from experience it works like a charm.
He had 30 mins before dinner and 1.30 hrs after dinner where he can just be lazy.
Since he had this ‘lazy time’ it also gave me a reason to tell him to work. If he was lazy other times outside this time.
Encourage them to do volunteer work
This helps them two ways. One, they are working when they are doing voluntary work which means they are not sitting like a lump on the couch.
And the second thing is when they are with people with lesser privileges than themselves, lesser social means, it opens their eyes up to the troubles out there in the world.
It does help them to evaluate their attitude towards life and to gear up so that they do not turn out to become like one of them.
Challenge or give them a dare
Throw the work that you want your teenager to do at them as a challenge to them. A dare if I must say.
Most of the time if you know the knack to do this, you can really get the work done out of them. For my sons, a simple “I don’t think you can do that. You are not yet there.” will do the trick.
Learn the trick of what ticks them and play your hand with tack. Do not overdo your hand, else, you will be called out.
Get involved and help them in their activities
When you get them to do a task, see if you can help them along. That way you can engage them for long time and involve them to do more activities.
E.g. You might have asked your kid to clean the windows. But when you help along, you might land up doing the doors and floors along with it.
Keep inviting them to participate in your activities
This is very simple but very effective one according to me. Every time you go about to do a work ask your teen if they want to help you along with it.
Do not need to expect them to help you every single time. Just throw in the question and you go about doing your work. I have always found that at least 6 out of 10 times they volunteer and come up to help you.
By constantly offering them a spot to help you when you find them doing nothing, you are bound to catch them when they are bored, and they might decide to pitch in.
Its Video time
Note to parents
It is very common and normal for teenagers to be very lazy. There is definitely a huge difference from the time they were little and were running all around the house. And all you wanted was sometime of peace and quiet.
To suddenly you have a lump of clay in the name of a teenager sitting in your couch and just not moving away, is definitely alarming to you.
Accept it. All of us go through this and we all want to knock laziness out of our teenager. The only thing that you need to ensure is that it does not become a permanent thing in the life of your teenager as they become adults.
Since you are a concerned parent and would like to do something about it, I hope the 21 ways to knock the laziness out of your teenager will help you to really knock the laziness out of them.
However, when you accept this phase and know that most of us as parents of teenagers go through it, this acceptance helps you come in terms with the challenges that it poses to you. It will help you maintain your sanity when you go about to knock laziness out of your teenager.
It will also give you some clarity and not get you all worked up into knots getting worried that your teenager might land up becoming a bum.
Being unmotivated is normal in life. Even adults are sometimes unmotivated to do something. If your teens are unmotivated to do something make sure to at least do something because it can be a problem in the long run.
Motivation comes intrinsically and extrinsically. You can use any of those two to make your son/daughter be motivated. If you see some signs that they are unmotivated, be sure to do something about it before it affects their life.
Make sure to monitor the achievement of your teens. It will make them build motivation to continue do better. Their achievement can only be meaningful for them if you care about it.
Support them at all cost because your simple encouragement can mean a lot for them to do more. You can use reinforcement to keep it going.
Give rewards and consequences on the action of your teenager. Apply value or put importance on things so that they have reasons to start doing things.
Explain the long-term benefits that they can gain from it. It can be the main source of motivation if they find it valuable.
More importantly, Engage with your teenager’s activity. Make it enjoyable and fun for them. Let them enjoy doing things with you as their parents. Love them unconditionally and partner with them to help them blossom into successful adults.
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Let us know what tactics you had deployed to knock laziness out of your teenager. Leave your comments below…
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