5 suggestions to increase academic motivation
Teenagers are tempted by many pleasures, immediate and ephemeral. They live in the present, and their future is far for them! In their quest for autonomy, they need to feel that they control their life, that their parents no longer have so much power over them. The lack of motivation that some teenagers show may be caused by a variety of reasons. Each teen has a personality of his or her own and some teens may be more likely to make efforts than others (basically, there are teens with less energy and motivation than others by nature).
Catherine, a young girl in high school, shows little enthusiasm and seems apathetic in response to many things over the past few months. Even her favorite sport no longer brings her any pleasure. Her attitude is similar to someone who appears burdened and stressed. Her smile has been absent for quite a while and her academic performance appears to be suffering.
How to help Catherine in this situation?
- Take the time to talk to her even if she does not speak much. Be present for her and let her know that you are there if she ever needs to talk. It might take some time, but let her come to you.
- Show sincere interest in her life. Listen without judgement. If she feels that you are concerned about what is happening to her, she will feel that she has value in your eyes and that will motivate her to keep going.
- Demonstrate an interest in what she likes.
- Recognize her growing maturity in the way that you speak to her (speak to her as an equal or a peer.
Give meaning to her life as a student
- Help her build a relationship with a mature, responsible adult in her school.
- Encourage involvement in a school project or activity.
Create a sense of belonging
- Respect the fact that during some periods, her only motivation by be to go to school to see her friends. Focus on the things she likes in school, e.g., friends, specific teachers, travels, and drama or art classes, anything she likes.
- Facilitate and support her relationship with peers.
- Give her responsibilities of her own.
Recognize her strengths
- Give her the opportunity to experience successes, whether academic or otherwise.
- Highlight successes of any kind. To feel that they have value, teens must feel that their parents are proud of them.
- With respect to her report card, focus on her strengths rather than her weaknesses. If the report card is not as good as expected, be there for her emotionally, let her express her emotions whether it’s anger, sadness or anxiety.
Respect her growing autonomy
- Let her live her own experiences: successes and failures.
- Demonstrate empathy for the challenges of adolescence.
- Involve her in determining the family schedule.
- Allow her to choose courses, interests or leisure activities.
- Social anxiety: How to help kids who won’t join in
- ‘Parenting Through the Storm’ – a video with Ann Douglas and Morneau Shepell
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