How To Motivate Your Teens


In our last blog we talked about how we as parents can unintentionally un-motivate our kids. If you missed it, be sure to check out our blog titled How we Un-motivate our Teens. This week I’m excited to share with you ways we can foster lasting motivation.

Lasting Motivation

What is a lasting motivation? It’s a motivation that springs forth from an internal satisfaction rather than an external incentive. It’s a motivation that moves us to act by faith instead of fear. Its focus is not on behaviour and performance as much as it’s about raising our kids to become healthy adults. 

So, how can we motivate our kids, especially our teens in a way that lasts? 

Model Motivation Instead of Managing Behaviours

Your kids will follow the tone you set. The most powerful motivational tool you have is what you model. If you prioritize hard work, quality time, trust, and respect, your teens will naturally rise to these. People notice the way you walk and talk. Does what you say to your kids match how you ‘walk’ out your everyday? 

 An area of ongoing discussion in our home is time on devices. As much as I ask my daughter to spend only 1hr a day on Social Media, I have to model that. How can she respect my request if I’m spending 3hrs on Instagram? Not only will she reject the request, she will also resent me for telling her to do something I’m not prepared to do myself. 

Parents will often say, “Do as I say, not as I do”. With an attitude like this how can we expect our kids to respect us. Trust and respect are earned, not commanded. Speaking this way only causes frustration in the relationship. A far better approach is to say, “Hey this is a struggle we all face. We’re in this together because it’s as equally beneficial for me as it is for you”. 

Celebrate What’s Right Instead of Finding What’s Wrong

If you want to motivate, celebrate! Sometimes we can think, “Oh he was so kind to his brother, that was nice”. Don’t just think it, share it! 

Appreciate and celebrate more than you think you should. Too often we come down on our kids for fighting or not cleaning their room. And then we don’t celebrate the times they are a kind sibling and pick up their clothes.

Instead of finding what’s wrong, let’s celebrate what’s right. It takes intention to notice what’s right. Seek it out. Celebrate it. 

How can you appreciate and celebrate your teen? What can you thank them for? Could you write them a letter of appreciation, sharing how proud you are of them? I love looking at old photos with my kids and sharing stories of the silly things they did and sharing how much those moments meant to me. As I open my heart in celebration of them, I am gaining their heart in return.  

Assume Responsibility instead of Making Them Responsible 

We think, “Oh good, they can take care of themselves.” Our teens may be old enough to be responsible, but are they mature enough yet? In most cases the answer is no.

Years ago, I was given the best wisdom ever. An old friend shared, “The older my kids get the more I realize they need me more as teenagers than they did as toddlers.”

Our teens can face a ton of frustrations, temptations, and pressures. Getting high grades, vaping, drinking, sex, body image, feeling left out, keeping up with the latest fashions, and what their peers think. We can even put our kids in healthy environments like sports or church and they face pressures to perform or to be more like someone else. 

We can make our teens responsible for far more than they are ready or created for. They are not created to be like someone else. They have been given a purpose and mission in the space they occupy today. It’s our responsibility to help them discover that. Not tell them to be like someone else. 

We tend to think parenting is about teaching lessons. More than teaching them lessons, parenting is about us learning our lesson. When we can impact how our teens feel, we can impact their motivation. When their internal emotions change, so does their behaviour. 


A few reflection questions I want to leave you with:

1.    What areas do I focus on managing my kid’s behaviour rather than modeling motivation? How can I better model motivation for them? 

2.    On a scale of 1-10, how good am I at celebrating and appreciating my child(ren)? What can I do to raise that number?

3.    How have I made my kid(s) responsible for things they’re just not ready for yet? What can I do differently to love and lead them well? 

I am excited to talk about these questions with my husband and my kids. I hope you are too! 

Committed to You! 

Kristine Rustand 


Kristine Rustand is a Master Health Coach with EmpowerWays. Everything we do is about empowering you to live a healthier, happier life. You can follow EmpowerWays on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to know how Health Coaching can help you live a healthier, happier life contact Kristine today.