There is no one alive who is youer than you. (Dr. Seuss)

– Desiree Panlilio

We all want to be inspired. To know that keeps us motivated, gives us that spark of curiosity and awe and drive to keep going. It is important to discover what inspires us and what our intrinsic motivation is that keeps us moving forward. For our teens it is important for them to find inspiration to be motivated and to understand that they create the future that they want to have.

However, as a parent, do you ask yourself, “How do I inspire my teen or help them to find inspiration?” After all, we can agree that the homework day-in and day-out can be less than exhilarating, and our teens can quickly become unmotivated leading to missed assignments, poorly done assignments, and often not attending a class. A few ways to help with keeping your teen inspired.

The first is to emphasize the process rather than the outcome. Yes, passing a course is important but shift the focus to the process of learning and the knowledge that your teen is gaining builds their interest in the subject. Believing only in the outcome lowers a teenager’s self-esteem and hinders their growth. They feel that they are judged only by the academic outcome and not on how they are growing and processing knowledge. Focusing on the process helps our teen to build critical thinking skills. So learn to acknowledge the work your teenager is putting in. By recognizing the work they are doing and the process you will motivate your teen to concentrate and focus on the things they can control, such as reaching their goals, their attitude, and their effort. Your teen will be inspired by their own growth, and when teenagers feel like they have control, their enthusiasm will grow along with their motivation and focus. Thereby, they are inspired to learn.

Let your teen know how proud you are of them. Focus on the behavior not the outcome. Our teens are seeking our approval and as a parent we are still a huge influence on our teens. I know sometimes we wonder with the eye rolls and “I know” responses, but we can inspire our teens to be the best version of themselves and to grow by letting them know how proud we are of them. Teenagers need to feel loved and accepted, but letting them know how proud you are of them will also boost their self-esteem and motivate them. Look for opportunities to let your teenager know that you are proud of the person they are becoming. Our teenagers have numerous negative influences in their environment, what they need is some positive affirmations and that will inspire them and to realize that they are growing into an amazing individual. I do want to point out that you should use this tip in moderation. You don’t want your teenager making decisions based soley on what they think you, or others, might feel about them. Decisions should always come from a foundation of beliefs and values. As a parent we want our teen to find their own inspiration and to create their own intrinsic motivation so that they can build the future they want and achieve the goals that they have created.

Another way to help your teen find their own inspiration and intrinsic motivation is to have them involved. What does that mean? As parents we have made all the decisions for our young children, but as our children grow we need to let go and let them be involved in the decision making process. It’s a difficult adjustment for a parent to make, but acknowledging a teenager’s maturity by asking them what they think will get your teen involved in deciding what their goals are and what they want to do. It also allows for them to experience natural consequences for their choices. All of this helps them to gain self-confidence and motivation in that they are the author of their own story, that they have magic and are their own inspiration. By pausing, encouraging and having your teen build their goals, you are giving them the responsibility and accountability to create their own unique story. As a parent you are also letting them know that their thoughts have value and their opinions count and that you are guiding and mentoring them to make choices and decisions based on your teen’s values and making sure that they explore their options and consequences in creating the goals and choices they have decided on. Critical thinking skills are a skill that we must help our teen to gain, and in turn it helps them to gain self confidence, self esteem, and inspires them to try new opportunities as they realize how insightful and empowered they are.