Motivating Teens: Pain, Pleasure, & the Pressure to Achieve

Have you ever found yourself doing something for fear of negative consequences?  Ever tried to achieve something difficult, just to prove to yourself that you can?  Have you ever pushed yourself to do a dreaded task, only to find you truly love what you are doing?  Think about each of these scenarios. Why do we do what we do?  What is the source of our motivation?  Motivation can be thought of as a movement away from pain or toward pleasure.  You may do your best on a project at work to avoid getting laid off.  This is a movement away from pain.  You may bump up your training miles so that you can run a marathon.  Gaining the personal satisfaction of completing a marathon is a movement toward pleasure.

We have all done things to avoid pain or feel pleasure.  In fact, chances are good that we have all used these strategies to influence our teen’s actions.  Think about these scenarios. “Be nice to your sister, or you will Continue reading “Motivating Teens: Pain, Pleasure, & the Pressure to Achieve”

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Motivating Teens: Why Can’t We Just Give Them Gold Stars?

Have you ever wished you could motivate your teen by offering him a sucker or providing her with an opportunity to earn a desired toy after putting enough gold stars on the calendar? This may have worked when your child was younger, but life with a teenager is much more complicated!  In order to understand how to motivate teenagers, we have to develop a better idea of what motivation is and where it comes from.

So, what is motivation? In general, motivation is a set of reasons that affect our choice to engage and persist in a given act or behavior.  That means that motivation guides our decision-making. It guides both our initial Continue reading “Motivating Teens: Why Can’t We Just Give Them Gold Stars?”

What Parents Can Do To Improve Communication with Their Teen

Improving communication with your teen can be challenging, but never-the-less, one of the most important things you can do to have a strong, long-lasting relationship.  The trouble is, it can be hard to get children to talk once they hit the teenage years.  What can you do about this?  Below are 5 things you can do to improve communication with your teen.

1.  Make time for them: Young children spend a vast amount of time with their parents because they Continue reading “What Parents Can Do To Improve Communication with Their Teen”

Does Your Teen Spend Too Much Time Gaming?

Recently, a mother said to me, “My son spends too much time gaming! My husband and I are at our wits end! What do I do?”  This can be a challenging situation and every family has their own level of tolerance for gaming.  I wish I could say that I didn’t feel her pain. However, as a parent of a teen, I too have faced this question.  Here are three things to consider.

First, restricting the amount of time spent gaming is always an option.  Sometimes this is not just putting Continue reading “Does Your Teen Spend Too Much Time Gaming?”

Increase Communication by Creating “Commonness” with Your Teen

Communication involves expressing your ideas and feelings, as well as accurately receiving the ideas expressed by others. But, communication is more than just the exchange of words. Originating from the Latin word “communis”, communication means to establish a sense of “commonness” through what we say, how we say it, why we say it, when we say it, as well as what we don’t say.  Marian-Webster  defines commonness as “belonging to or shared by two or more individuals or things or by all members of a group”.  As parents, we share a sense of commonness through the parent-child relationship.

Why can it be so difficult to communicate with teens? Communication is how parents and children share aspects of themselves, developing increased awareness, understanding, and closeness through the exchange Continue reading “Increase Communication by Creating “Commonness” with Your Teen”

Motivating Teens: Developing Self-Determination

青少年
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How do You Motivate Teens? Teens Need Self-Determination!


What is self-determination? When we act with self-determination, we  rely on our own “natural” or “intrinsic” tendency to behave in ways that help us to be effective.  When people are intrinsically motivated, they do things because they are personally interested or enjoy what they are doing. When someone is extrinsically motivated, they will only participate in something because they believe they will get some sort of  external incentive or reward.

Why is self-determination important for teens? Parents, educators, or other professionals living or working Continue reading “Motivating Teens: Developing Self-Determination”