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12 Ways To Motivate Teenagers To Do Well In School

All around the world, many parents are extremely concerned with what they see their teens doing or not doing in this case! People are worried that teens are turning into lazy, social media obsessed kids without a lot of motivation to be happy, and have meaningful connection in life.

If you are like most parents you absolutely want your teenager to be happy and successful. Have you ever wondered what the keys are for this happiness?

Why is it that some people have the appearance of being able to persevere in the face of challenges, while others seem to get frustrated, and give up?

Healthy encouragement is the key to motivation. In this article we will cover 12 teen motivators:

1.  Understand the Issue with Compassion

Parents should begin by understanding the reason their child does not feel inspired to work hard in their studies. Could it be because they are more interested in social media or video games? Do they have low self-esteem from feeling bad from their previous mistakes? Are they just plain lazy? Do they understand where studying and setting goals will get them?

Open communication will help the parent know the right angle to start handling the issue. Teenagers need to trust their parents or people in their lives, by ensuring that a trust relationship exists between parent and child gives room for dialogue and problem solving.

Always approach your child with compassion though, no matter what their reason is. Make sure you build upon and nurture the trust in your relationship by supporting them as best as possible.

2. Hold Honest Conversations

Engage your child on what career they would like to pursue and make them understand the meaning of achieving goals in life. They may not need some subjects in order to pursue their careers.

High school students who face academic challenges can sometimes feel like throwing in the towel. However, with the love and support of their parents and teachers, even the most frustrated teen can set and meet goals.  In other words, set realistic goals and never stop helping your child attain them.

3. Ease the Pressure

Parents should relax and handle the poor academic performance with more attention and love rather than force or threats. Punishing the child may make them avoid the subject all together and this leads to even worse performance.

4. We Learn from Our Mistakes

I believe is is important to not tell kids they are smart, however, praise them for their effort and strategy.  Even more importantly teach kids to embrace mistakes. That is where we learn our life lessons after all!

Students often feel shame when they make a mistake. Too often success in the classroom is determined by high marks and correct answers. Mistakes serve to evaluate what a student does not know. When that is the case, mistakes have no positive role for our students.   

If mistakes and failure are seen as a sign of incompetence and something to avoid (rather than something to expect), our students will begin to avoid the challenges necessary for learning. We must show our students that mistakes can actually help us develop and improve our skills and abilities.

Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, founder of Roots of Action gives us these 10 ways to help our kids learn from their mistakes:

  1. Acknowledge that you don’t expect them to be perfect.
  2. Let them know your love is unconditional, regardless of their mistakes or lapses in judgment.
  3. Don’t rescue kids from their mistakes. Instead, focus on the solution.
  4. Provide examples of your own mistakes, the consequences, and how you learned from them.
  5. Encourage children to take responsibility for their mistakes and not blame others.
  6. Avoid pointing out your child’s past mistakes. Instead, focus on the one at hand.
  7. Praise children for their ability to admit their mistakes.
  8. Praise children for their efforts and courage to overcome setbacks.
  9. Mentor your child on how to apologize when their mistakes have hurt others.
  10. Help kids look at the good side of getting things wrong!

5. Teach Them Ways to Manage Stress

Teach them some meditation techniques to better handle stress and pressure!

6. Celebrate Strengths

We all have different abilities. Parents can motivate their teens to succeed by focusing on their strengths and helping them improve on their weaknesses.

People are different and parents should refrain from comparing their children with others since this is destructive to their self esteem.

7. What is in it for Me?

If your teen does not understand what the task has to do with them, or their well-being, then it will be a struggle for them to find the desire to carry it out. If your teenager understands the value to them of the task, you will have little problem motivating them to do it.

Teenagers long to feel significant. They want to demonstrate to themselves and the world that they matter and are capable of making a difference.  Many of the problems teens encounter today is because their desire to be significant is ignored or diminished.

8. Apply Less Control and Place Them in the Driver’s Seat

As a parent, it is helpful to understand that your child is already experiencing enough control from teachers at school, so they would appreciate if you let them steer a little when it comes to homework.

Having more control over their studying process will allow teens to feel more responsibility and thus become more willing to study.

Your teenager wants to be treated like an adult, so let them feel like one. There are many ways you can do this, while ensuring that they still get their work done.

Try some of the ideas below to see which resonates most with your teenager:

  • Let them choose when they do their schoolwork (within reason) – If they need time to unwind after school and do work a bit later than allow them. This empowers them to make the situation better for themselves.
  • Ask them what they want to be – A lawyer, scientist or videographer? Then ask them how they plan to get there. Give them time to research the trajectory of someone on that career path so they can see for themselves that school is a necessary part of that equation.
  • Allow them to use technology – to complete their schoolwork whenever possible, such as  referencing YouTube videos or writing within Google Docs. Teachers use technology in the classroom for a reason- it engages and motivates students. 

9. Keep Track of Your Teen’s Assignments

Create some time to go through your teen’s homework and maybe take them through a problem they think they can’t solve. This shows that you are interested in their academic progress and this can inspire the teen to be motivated. 

If they need more than your help, hire a positive tutor for them.

Sometimes, the answer to motivating your teenager can be as simple as making it easier for them to remember when work is due or when it’s time to do homework.

With technology, this is easy to execute and manage with this organizer app: 

Cozi Family Organizer–  is free, easy-to-use, and a 3-time Mom’s Choice Award Winner—it is an easy way to manage your whole life. Create a to-do list for your teenager, add items to the family calendar, and use color-coded dots to make it easy for everyone to scan.

10. Help Teens Discover their own Learning Style

Learning styles are based on how people perceive information: via pictures, sounds, words, touch, etc. They can also be based on the child’s temperament. For example, a student can prefer working alone to working together with someone, and so on.

If your child is introverted, help them organize a quiet working place where they can do their assignments without being bothered by non work related things. If they need help, they will ask.

On the contrary, encourage collaborative learning for extroverted children so they can do their homework together with siblings or friends. This makes learning more of a fun and social activity!

Allowing a teenager to study at his or her own pace is one of the great ways to motivate students.

11. Help your Teen Connect with Positive Mentors

This is a huge one. So many teenagers struggle to even imagine what motivation, success and achievement might look like. It always helps to have someone to look up to and even follow in their footsteps.

This could be a coach, an influential teacher, a martial arts instructor, a camp counselor or a successful family member.

12. There’s More to Life than School

Kids obviously need more in their lives than just school and homework. Pursuing their passions outside the classroom provides a much-needed release which allows them to learn better. Some extracurricular activities, such as music and sports, have a proven benefit to education. 


Teens are often faced with uncertainties about how their life will turn out in the future and usually they feel under pressure to excel in their studies. To encourage such a child, instill in them a competitive spirit which will assist them to work hard and improve their performance. Parents can offer rewards for good performance to motivate them.

I have been a professional nanny working with children of all ages for over 15 years. My work has taken me all over the globe and I have had many amazing adventures with the families that I have worked with, all of which has taught me a great deal about how to make parenting less stressful.

I helped create Mothers Lifestyle in order to share parenting tips and secrets that I learned along the way, as well as to provide life-saving tools and advice from the world’s leading experts that I rely on every day in my professional life.

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