You can lead your teen to the laundry room, but you can't make him wash his clothes. Getting a teenager off the couch or away from his video games is one of the many challenges of parenting. Watching your teen shirk his responsibilities often causes frustration, but forcing him into action may cause him to resist even more. Whether he's skipping out on class, homework, family time or chores, knowing how to motivate your teen is key to spurring him into action.
Serve as a motivating role model for your child. Avoid lazy tendencies in your own life to encourage him to get moving. According to the Mayo Clinic website, showing your teen how to act is more effective than telling him how to act.
Set expectations and boundaries for your teen so he understands how you want him to act. Be specific, yet flexible, allowing your teen to make his own decisions within reason. The Mayo Clinic site suggests avoiding ultimatums, which may cause your teen to resist or rebel.
Talk to your child about his behaviors. Ask about specific issues where he is showing a lack of motivation to find the cause. You might say, "I've noticed you haven't done your science homework lately. Is there something going on in that class?"
Present choices and consequences to your teen. For example, he has the option to skip his homework, but his grades will suffer and he may become ineligible for sports. Discuss the effects of his laziness, both immediate and down the road. Poor grades now mean difficulty getting into college later.
Set goals with your teen that match his interests and aspirations. If he wants to be a computer programmer, research the school requirements with him. Help him decide on high school classes he needs. Break down that goal into smaller steps that might include getting at least a B in his high school classes. Goal setting shows your teen that his actions now affect his options later.
Encourage interests and talents that keep your teen from being lazy. If he loves skateboarding, suggest he skateboard to school to get him there on time. If your teen is a music fan, get him off the couch and involved in family life by seeing live music together.
Avoid nagging your teen into doing what you want. He doesn't learn motivation this way but instead resents you or simply does the task to get you off his back.