What do you hate? What do you love? How easy is it for you to answer these questions?
At this point in our lives, you and I have had enough experiences to know what we do and don't like doing.
Your teen hasn't had those same experiences or opportunities yet...but as a parent, you can help them uncover those interests and passions and motivate your teen to accomplish their dream goals in life.
1. Figure out what makes your teen excited
If your kid spends all their time playing video games, don't write that off. Instead, note that they willingly devote hours of their time to something without tiring of it.
Think: Is there a career opportunity for people who like playing video games?
According to Shea Garner of Business News Daily:
"You could be a technical artist, a visual architect, or do five more jobs that are just like playing video games."
You'll find there's a career for just about every interest!
2. Have them take a personality test
Personality tests are a great place to start when developing life goals and career plans, because they can help you get a better idea of your teen's hidden passions.
At the end of the test, make sure to click read more to see a detailed analysis and explanation of your child's personality type.
3. Watch weekly Ted talks
Ted talks are full of educational topics -- why not use them to your advantage?
Encourage your child to pick out one a week. Make it an event! Take note of the topics they continue to pick and encourage a discussion on that topic.
For example, if your child likes Transformers, they might like to attend a FIRST Robotics Competition and watch students compete with robots they built themselves.
4. Look for outlets that support your teen's interests
Talk to your teen's counselor to see what's available at school, and in their community. Are there clubs or local organizations they could volunteer with?
5. Develop a SMART goal based on what motivates your teen
What is a SMART goal? Here's an example: "Practice a speech in front of family and friends every night for 30 minutes." It's specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely.
The key here is to get your teen to AGREE to the goal they set. This shows that your teen is committed to their goal, and believes they can reach it.
6. Hold your teen accountable for the goal:
Remember to keep their end goal in mind during all of your conversations.
Your Teen: "I don't want to study for my anatomy quiz."
You: "Ok, but I thought we agreed that you really wanted to be a doctor? We both know you can do it, but you still need to build a foundation in science to make that happen."
You can also leave reminders for your teen to help them stay on track -- leaving a sticky note somewhere they will see first thing in the morning, for example, is a friendly way to encourage them toward reaching their ultimate goals.
7. Reinforce their sense of achievement
Have you ever finished a project at work only to receive a new one?
Mind Tools says that if you rarely acknowledge "a job well done," or constantly criticize them, there's a risk that their motivation will slip away.
Be sure to acknowledge the different steps your teen takes toward their goals to let them know that you support them, and give them a better sense of progress.
To many parents, actively motivating their teens can seem like a big under-taking... and it is going to take a little effort on your part.
But if you can motivate your teen to reach their dream goals, they will be happier and better off in their lives.
(Note: A longer version of this post appeared on Student-Tutor's blog. For the full experience, click the link!)