It MIGHT be because they’re working on the goals YOU told them they should have – or goals teachers or someone else said they should pursue.
Would you be motivated by goals someone else told you that you should pursue? Probably not much!
If they’re truly not motivated, it HAS to be because they have nothing to look forward to! [Skip 2 paragraphs down.]
Don’t bother to ask what motivates them – very few people know themselves! Instead, watch what they do or enjoy – or avoid or reject. All these will give you clues.
Strive to avoid negative comments – it will shut down future communications. If you must comment, ask innocent, naive questions – just information-gathering questions – that you’re sincerely interested in.
Your wisest strategy is to start ASKING them about their dreams somewhere around 12 y.o. They may blow you off – but you’ve planted the seed AND made them realize – Mom or Dad may be back – so when you ask again, it won’t come ‘out of the blue.’
You ALSO will have planted a seed in their mind wondering about and even dreaming toward – even if they feign rejection! J
If your teen is ‘older’ -16, 17 or beyond – it’s STILL not too late, but will take longer – and more repetitions – but you will still plant powerful seeds!!
PLEASE KNOW that by subtly influencing your teen to think about their dreams and goals, they will almost always “naturally” become more academically inspired and motivated. Can’t beat that, can you?