Monday, October 18, 2021

“He lacks desire and motivation”

That’s the unanswerable question for too many parents of teenage boys.

Yet, it’s contradicted by the FACT that all humans are inherently motivated.

So what’s the answer?

If you think it’s a biological or psychological problem, there’s at least an 80% chance you’re wrong!!

And if it’s not biological or psychological, there’s only one element left: their ENVIRONMENT – the world in which they live: parents, siblings, friends, school, sports, other activities.

As a parent your first reaction might be something like “how dare you? I’m doing my best… I feed him, clothe him, care for him…”  And in most all cases, it would be hard to find fault in your parenting.

Bottom line: when you left the hospital after he was born, they probably didn’t give you a book to tell you how to raise the perfect kid.

Parenting is hit or miss – if you miss, try again, DIFFERENTLY.

I’m amazed at how often I read of parents whose teens “suddenly” won’t do anything – school, household chores…  Are they REALLY believing this just started happening?  I think not!

If you’re a helicopter parent, doing and giving everything for him – why should he get off the couch?

Frankly, [subjective opinion] – those kids who have THE LEAST are often the most motivated.


Might you be trying to fit him into the paradigm box of your expectations – and he refuses…?

Are you trying too hard? 

Have you given him every book and resource to ATTEMPT to make him into what you want?

Has he failed – and given up?  If so, what did you do next?

Failure can be very upsetting, often creating an “I’m no good” thought.

Think of his possible interpretations – did he fail himself? Did he fail you?


Here are some questions to ask yourself:

•         What are your expectations of him?

•         WHY do you have those expectations?  [yes, instantly you will say “for his own good”]

•         Do you think he understands that? 

•         Would you, when you were a teen?


One key is to provide or allow as many different resources as he’s interested in – and let him discover his own motivation.

BTW - recent research shows that video-gaming is not harmful, unless done to excess.

I had robotic surgery a few years ago – I hope my surgeon was very good at video-gaming!



•         Have you said unkind things when he fell short – or did you reply as a teaching coach would – “this is how you can do it better…”

Bad example: we see too many parents trying to live out their sports dreams through their kids – which often makes them wild and over-emotional FAR too often and nutsy!


1.       “Fertilize” him with resources and opportunities. 

2.       DON’T force any of them on him.

3.       Avoid over-persuading. You’ll turn him right off – and lose this battle.

4.       Be patient.  I’ll bet he notices – and emotionally ‘returns’ to receptivity.


Two over-arching thoughts:


If you’re interested, we have some simple tools you can use to begin to guide this process.

If we can be of help in this or any teenager issues, please message us here or



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