Does your child seem unenthusiastic about learning new things? Are they not accomplishing their homework or household chores? Or do you notice a sudden drop in their school performance? We can help. At Key Transitions, we help teens struggling from a wide range of issues, including lack of motivation. Our Lack of Motivation Teen Therapy program focuses specifically on this.
Your child might experience several problems while growing up, especially in school. Many parents wonder why most teens struggle with focusing on their tasks. Adolescents and young adults sometimes lose motivation to do what they are supposed to, whether that be their home, school, or work responsibilities.
Different factors contribute to someone’s growth and development. Children’s motivation and demotivation sources can stem from genetic factors, mental health, experiences with the people surrounding them, or their current circumstances.
Possible Factors Why a Child Gets Demotivated
According to science, a person’s mood is determined by the brain’s neurotransmitters dopamine. It plays a significant role in the motivation and reward system. In addition, it helps to facilitate learning. Dopamine is an essential hormone during puberty when adolescents start to focus more on their academic requirements. This means that low dopamine levels may cause a lack of motivation.
Another factor that causes teens to feel demotivated is trauma due to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, natural disasters, wars and other acts of violence, or the death of a loved one. These circumstances can contribute to low levels of dopamine in the brain.
Furthermore, mental and physical disorders may contribute to a lack of motivation. Mental disorders like depression and anxiety may cause teens to feel distant. Teens with physical disabilities may feel that they are “not normal” and experience bullying. In a 2015 study, researchers concluded that bullying affects a student’s emotions and academic motivation.
5 Key Strategies for Parents to Motivate Their Teenagers
You will certainly notice if your child has a sudden behavioral shift. A lack of motivation may lead to several mental and emotional problems that may develop into adulthood if ignored. Your primary role as a parent is to guide and connect with your growing child as best as possible. The teenage years are considered highly challenging, so parents have to make an effort to motivate their teens as they grow up. If you notice that your child seems aimless, here are some recommended strategies to help motivate them.
- Find your child’s interests and spend quality time with them.
When it comes to your teen’s hobbies, ask them what they love to do. While you will always want what’s best for them, it is crucial that you support their interests rather than making them do the things you prefer. When you finally discover the things that boost their drive and motivation, spend time bonding with them. In addition, assist and guide them in accomplishing their academic requirements at home.
However, suppose that you notice they spend their time on less important activities, such as chatting with friends or scrolling through social media all day. In that case, you must exert more effort to help them regain their sense of responsibility and motivation. If necessary, you may seek professional help.
- Observe your child’s mental well-being.
Lack of motivation may also be caused by underlying mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If they are acting strangely, talk to your child and see if you notice any symptoms. Do not hesitate to consult a psychiatrist or a counselor for professional help if you suspect your child is experiencing mental health issues.
- Have your child checked for possible drug abuse or addiction.
Pay attention to your child’s behavior, especially when they are around their peers. If your child often gets involved in dangerous situations, road rage, accidents, or fights, take a closer look at their social activities. Substances and alcohol can negatively influence the priorities and motivation of teens and adults.
Research the signs and symptoms of possible drug abuse and addiction. If you think that your child may be using illegal substances, such as marijuana or cocaine, have them checked and tested immediately. Teen drug abuse is a growing concern, not only in the United States but also in the entire world. Contact professionals for teen drug addiction treatment programs to save them from the dangers of harmful substances.
- Check if your child can concentrate on minor and major work details.
Losing motivation to do work is not solely caused by external elements such as peer pressure and substance use. It may also be due to genetic factors. Your child may come off as lazy, but it could be a sign of a personality disorder called Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Aside from hyperactivity, kids with ADHD often struggle with inattentiveness. They are seen as “ineffective” due to a lack of motivation to do work. If you notice the signs of ADHD, consult a mental health professional for a proper assessment and diagnosis.
- Avoid stressing your child.
According to research, a child’s stress is deeply rooted in their parents’ attitude towards them: frequent nagging and yelling cause most children to feel demotivated. Furthermore, punishments, such as hitting or not talking to them, can significantly stress a teen, eventually leading to rebellious tendencies like aggressive behaviors or drug use.
In addition, the school also stresses most students, and the issue worsens if they cannot accomplish their requirements. Talk to your child and ask if they need your assistance doing their homework. The challenges brought by the pandemic and distance learning since 2020 have caused students a lot of anxiety, mainly because they cannot learn as much online as they could during face-to-face classes. Students who were forced to shift to online classrooms felt more pressure than usual. To lessen the heavy academic load, offer help whenever they need it. If they refuse your help, do not insist, for this may also cause them to feel irritated and more stressed. Instead, let them know they can reach out to you if they need your support or encouragement.
Another factor that causes stress among teens is peers. This is often referred to as social stress. Changes in hormones during puberty influence their socialization skills. It is vital to monitor your child’s social circles and see if they positively influence their overall well-being.
Understand What Motivates Your Child
Professional treatment will help your child become more interested and motivated in school if they have a condition that prevents them from learning or accomplishing things. However, there are still several ways for parents to motivate their teenagers.
- Since research has proven that dopamine — sometimes referred to as the “happy hormone” — is the primary brain chemical that influences a teen’s positive behavior, encourage your child to do dopamine-producing activities with you. These activities include hiking, visiting museums, making art, shopping, and others.
- Find effective strategies for motivation, such as a reward system for accomplishing tasks given to them. At the same time, set consequences for not being able to finish those tasks. Make sure that these consequences act as a formative experience for your child’s future and not as a way to punish them.
- Always work closely with your child, whether with school requirements or recreational activities.
- Assist your teen in completing their homework, but do not do the tasks for them. Develop their sense of responsibility by not taking over their responsibilities.
- Talk about their short- and long-term goals and support them throughout their journey.
- Establish effective communication. Talk to your child at a convenient time, such as cooking, during dinnertime, or watching movies. Create a safe space for you and your child to share your thoughts and feelings.
Teens nowadays often spend too much energy on things that do not matter. Unfortunately, some consider that home, school, and work responsibilities can be neglected. The truth is that they should be focusing on them because they will need the knowledge and sense of responsibility in adulthood.
“Lazy child syndrome” occurs when a teen has little to no interest in accomplishing the tasks given to them, instead choosing to spend their time doing activities that require minimal effort. They also lack a sense of belonging and curiosity about the outside world.
Parents can help address the growing concern of “lazy child syndrome” and unmotivated teens. Your responsibility relies on the holistic development of your child. However, in some cases, professional help is required. At Key Transitions, we offer a Lack of Motivation Teen Therapy that is proven to promote positive behaviors. It aims to uplift teenagers, especially those no longer motivated, through different activities such as art, music, yoga, exercise, and surf therapies. Feel free to reach out to us today to help your child overcome demotivation.