older sister helping her teenage brother to study

When a teen is praised for good work, they will be motivated to work even harder for more rewards in the future. Picture: Pexels.

Teenagers are often stereotyped as being lazy, naive or misguided young people who would rather sleep in, socialise or play video games from dawn to dusk rather than study.

However, this common yet misguided stereotypical image of the “lazy teen” is what most people get wrong.

According to education experts Impaq and Understanding Teenagers, teenagers can be, and are, motivated when they have reason to be, and when this motivation is properly instilled.

The previous generations of teenagers were regarded as some of the most hardworking members of society.

This was before the curiosity of shopping malls, the infamous social media era and tech advancements – teenagers were expected to work with the adults – and worked hard too.

According to Chris Hudson, founder of Understanding Teeenagers, a lot has changed between then and now. But despite all the changes, teenagers are essentially the same and very few teenagers lack motivation.  

“What many teenagers lack is the motivation to do stuff that doesn’t matter, doesn’t seem important, or is about satisfying an agenda that doesn’t relate to them.”

 Here are five tips from Impaq and Understanding Teenagers to help you motivate your teen to study during Covid-19.  

  1. Help them understand what’s “in it for them”

Most teenagers don’t truly understand the value of the task they are being asked to do, which then makes them less likely to complete the task.

At their core, teens want to feel significant and demonstrate to the world that they are capable of great things.

Nurture these desires by helping them to understand the significance of tasks and why completing them is beneficial to them.

Once they understand the worth of the task they have been given, they are more likely to carry it out.

  1. Let them have their say

Teenagers often feel misunderstood and under pressure from their parents, which is likely to demotivate them.

A good way to overcome this is to put yourself in their shoes, so to speak. Give your teenager a say in what and how things are done. 

  1. Assist them with setting reasonable goals

Sometimes your teen won’t know where to start or might feel overwhelmed about the size of a task.

As a parent, you will have a wealth of life experience, so use this to help them break down tasks and work through it.

Direct them without being a “helicopter” parent. 

  1. Reward your teen for a job well done

Research shows that humans are hardwired to do whatever it takes to feel good, and rewards are a sure way to achieve this.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to encourage desired behaviour. When a teen is praised for good work, they will be motivated to work even harder for more rewards in the future.

Rewards need not be reserved for achieving distinctions in subjects they are good at – it’s also important to reward teens for even just trying their best. 

  1. Make tasks fun 

A good way to keep your teen motivated is for them to complete their tasks in a way that they will enjoy.

Children learn best when they can accommodate their individual needs, so chat to your teen about the way they work best. It’s also useful to add a dash of fun into how they learn and work.