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How to motivate an unmotivated (but capable) teenage boy (14)? Grades are not important to him. We've taken away priveledges. We've tried to positively motivate him. We have tried to not care. Nothing seems to work. Ideas from Moms who have been through it?

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Asked by KCNKC at 9:09 AM on Apr. 17, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (11)
  • Maybe give him a little more responsibility, i.e, a job, bank account a small bill, i.e., cell fone or internet something he likes manage/monitor that. At that age kids are torn between childhood and adulthood and need us more than ever. Unless they leave, run away or something.

    Answer by milmiracle at 9:22 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My son is now 17. He is very bright ie:test scores etc.. Not very motivated. At age thirteen I had him visit a life coach. Our Kaiser coverage.. covered this. He is now on his way to college next Fall, has had the same job for a year and a half and has been writing for his school paper through high school. He found his own way with the guidance of motivated adults talking him through this tough time. In retrospect I now see that some of those behaviors were plain puberty. They need to talk through it somehow. I didn't know what puberty looked like because I had never raised a pubescent boy before and was raised around girls. Also, through this I have learned that our expectations are sometimes get in the way of their success.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:51 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I have also learned that there is no one quick fix. It takes time to adjust. Keep talking, keep caring... keep moving forward. Honestly, when I was there I couldn't hear this but.. This too shall pass. Honestly. Keep hugging him!

    Answer by Smhobbs at 9:53 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • Hes probably depressed about something that he does not want you to know about. Maybe a girl, or maybe he doesnt fit in. Does he hang out with friends? If so, find out who they are and how they are, they might be pressuring him to do something and putting him down when he says no. Do family stuff with him, have a game night, teach him cool stuff, make a bon fire in your yard and eat marshmallows, he will get comfortable and open up to you. Ask him if he has a girlfriend, and what his views on dating are. Tell him to talk to you like he would a friend, but ofcourse he will rebel a few times, and then he will get over it because he probably cant talk to anyone but you.

    Answer by MammaBella at 10:00 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I would give him a visual lesson of what happens to people who grow up uneducated and unmotivated. Take him to the part of town where the homeless live. If you are brave enough, stop and talk to some of them. Take him to the Salvation Army at supper time and have a talk with the person in charge there. Let him share some of his stories with your son. Whatever he has in his room that you have bought for him, take it out. Dr. Laura suggests even taking the bed and leaving only two changes of clothing. Emphazise that the only reason he has had those things is because someone has worked when they would have preferred to have been sleeping or fishing or whatever it is that he thinks he would rather be doing. He is going to have to see and experience lack before he appreciates having plenty. Sometimes, love must be tough.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:21 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My son (16yo) has no real determination for school either, and he never really has. This year, we enrolled him in an alternative program that our school has, and he does almost all of his classes, except PE, online in the computer lab. He spends two hours in "lab" and then comes home at noon. He is still required to puit in two additional hours online at home every day, but he can do it whenver he wants.
    Not all kids learn the same way, and traditional school isn't always the answer. be you could check with your schools, and see what other options they don't know until you ask!! You can usually even go to the schools website and find out a lot of info. -- Sometimes we have to think outside of the box!
    Next year, he will go to a wonderful Skill Center program, where he can learn a life skill, to help him get a job! He is studying computer tech, but they have about 15 different options for the kids.

    Answer by christyg at 10:53 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • My 15 boy was exactly the same. It took some time to think outside the box and figure out what would work for him. We put him on independent studies through the school. He is finally on track. We discuss the night before what needs to be done the next day by a certain time. ie: 8:00 PM, school work, chores... No nagging or asking and he has to report to me by then to show me tasks have been completed. If he does not have them done then he gets nothing the following day. No phone, computer... or whatever is important to him. It works for him. I think they need a routine/structure. Good Luck.

    Answer by dillonsma at 11:16 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I love your answers mommas! I needed this too. My son has been recently been struggling and fighting me too. Don't let go of your fight to get him on the right track. The world is very ugly and cruel. He needs the discipline NOW. I told my son he can go to his dads for the 3 day weekend with only the clothes on his back. He is not happy. I picked the oldest clothes too. You have to be tough and yet Remind them you love them and whenever they are ready to get stuff back you'll let them earn it. RESPECT so important. I love NannyB response. :)

    Answer by JCRestoredme at 11:40 AM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • Thank you ladies,I'm also going through this with my 15 yr. old grandson,first,let me tell you,13 -16 is a very hard time for teens,they aren't babies,but,they aren't grown either,girls are usually the hardest at this age, i should know,I got 4 grown DD,and a 14 yr. old DD.Now,back to my grandson,he is a twin,but, he has always been a real GRANDMA BOY,this young man is so intelligent,but,I have to literal sit on him to make him do homework,I went to the school 3 weeks ago,I talked to his teachers,and we talked to him,mostly ,we listen to him,to see what he wanted from life,and how could we help him to suceed,from there,he has gotten much better, he is doing homework,we had a big projectto do last night,also,we did find out,some kids were really saying some mean dirty things to him,he didn't tell no one,a teacher over heard the student,the dean called a big meeting with the boys parents,so I hope he will keep getting better.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:43 PM on Apr. 17, 2009

  • I have a 16 year old son, and have been through the wars starting in middle school. He has finally settled down, has found some nice friends through a youth group at church(he found himself), and their input has helped him focus as well. I would also not put blinders on, and also drug test him regularly could just be marijuana but it is a gateway drug. My son is clean, but he finally told us last spring the reason his grades and attitude was so bad is that he was smoking pot regularly. This floored us, as we have a very short leash on him and thought when would he be able to do this or get this stuff. It is amazing how the schools miss that other kids sell in the boys bathrooms everyday easily. My son is doing well, and we buy the drug store tests at home kits and randomly screen. We are happy to say, he is doing much better. We also hired a tutor to help him, since he would just argue with us when we helped him with school!

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:55 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

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