How to Fix Laziness in a Teen

By Tiffany Raiford
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Blame it on modern technology or genes -- either way, lazy teens are a common problem. If your teen is more comfortable lying on the couch and waving away chores or physical activity with a shrug and a noncommittal, “maybe later,” you are not alone. According to Dr. Philip Nader, pediatrician and professor at the University of California at San Diego, laziness sets in once your child becomes a teenager. What this means is you have your work cut out for you if you want your teen to get off her lazy behind and get active.

Step 1

Inspire your teen to get motivated by doing it yourself, advises Debbie Pincus, licensed mental health counselor, with the Empowering Parents website. For example, if you constantly ask your teen to put down the smartphone and head outside for some fresh air and a little exercise to no avail, try doing it yourself. Your teen might be less likely to decline your offer to get up and head outdoors if you put your phone down and go with her. Suggest a walk around the neighborhood, or if you need more motivation, to the nearby bookstore or restaurant for dinner.

Step 2

Consider your teen’s schedule, advises Carl Pickhardt, Texas-based psychologist and author. You might consider her behavior lazy, but you may be unaware of just how busy her schedule really is, which could lead you to mistake her relaxation for laziness. For example, she’s in school and has a job, homework and a social life, and she’s also on two sports teams. That means she probably has very little downtime and when she does, she might prefer to be lazy. This doesn’t make her lazy; if she lies down all day, every day, and has no motivation to do anything else, she’s lazy.

Step 3

Let her face the consequences of her own lazy behavior, advises Pincus. Natural consequences are those that result for misbehavior, or in this case, laziness. For example, if your teen is too lazy to work on her history project and receives a failing grade, let her suffer that consequence. A failing grade might mean she cannot participate in sports or go on the next field trip her class has planned. This natural consequence does more to teach her a lesson about being lazy than any lecture.

Step 4

Discuss goals with your teen, advise child development experts at the Kids Health website. If your teen is lazy and unmotivated, you need to discuss with her what she wants out of life and help her see how being lazy will not get her any closer to her goals. For example, if she wants to go to a good college and become a doctor after medical school, encourage her to write it down. From there, do a little research to show her exactly what being accepted into a good college entails, what medical school entails and what she needs to accomplish to reach her goal. Seeing it in small steps might help to motivate her to forgo her laziness in favor of action. Additionally, knowing that her current state of laziness is hindering her future goals might serve as a motivator.