10 Strategies for Igniting Adolescent Motivation
For educators, parents, and caregivers, the adolescent mind continues to confuse, yet intrigue us, as we look to support them in their individual life journeys. So now is the time (as adults) to apply the 'adolescent lens' and view our current state of affairs. The true challenges become those of developing essential life skills and promoting achievement amidst a global community saturated with instantaneous 'e-reward' systems, the 'de-humanization' of communication, and 21st Century realities deeply rooted in 'uncertainty' (e.g. individual safety & security, financial and workforce instability, economy turmoil, etc.).
Through the years, however, the one thing that has not changed within this adolescent creature is the unbridled quest for meaning and identity. Equally, the virtues that have driven humankind toward advancement and success, still hold great meaning today.
Melding this innate drive of the adolescent with the world 'as we know it' and igniting the passion is your assignment.
Strategy #1: Invest the time and effort to truly connect with your teen. This includes consistently playing the roles of 'good cop' and 'bad cop'. You will see pay-off in due time.
Strategy #2: Listen. Truly listening to your teen involves the ears and heart...
Strategy #3: Trust (reciprocal) - "Adolescence, in essence, is all about trust." (Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip).
Strategy #4: Ingrain traditional virtues that have done us well as Canadian citizens and Newfoundlanders & Labradorians (e.g. loyalty, resilience, hope,...)
Strategy #5: Meet them where they are and do NOT force your own expectations for success on them. The 'new world' offers many alternative ways to achieve success and many of us (adults) do not have experience in those realms.
Strategy #6: Build a relationship that is outside that of parent-child, teacher-student, etc. Be willing to play, cry, and progress together.
Strategy #7: Work with your teen to keep their options open! My father has always espoused this strategy and it has served me very well.
Strategy #8: Embrace change as a family, class, community. Though often shrouded in doubt, change often brings new light.
Strategy #9: Allow adolescents to take chances (actually encourage it!)...we know they are willing to do so and much like ourselves, will come out unscathed.
Strategy #10: Resilience & Adaptability ...in a world that may very well knock them down, we cannot put a price tag on survival of the fittest.