How to Deal With Unmotivated Young Men


Parenting a young man who seems to have no motivation is a difficult task. Your knowledge of what the future holds may not influence his behavior today. If his school work is suffering, his college applications are doing nothing but collecting dust on his desk, or his seeming indifference to learning the skills he'll need to support himself as an adult has you worried, you have to find a creative way to motivate your young man.

  • Reward time spent studying and completing his homework with activities he enjoys, advises online education resource Family Education. For example, if he likes to play football, don’t let him play unless he finishes his homework each night and makes good grades. Aside from the fact that most schools require that teens maintain at least a minimum grade point average, being his parent allows you to ultimately make the decision whether or not he gets to play sports. Taking away something he loves can motivate him to do what is required of him.

  • Make your child earn privileges such as studying in the privacy of his own bedroom or driving by requiring that he make good grades, advises James Lehman, Master Social Worker, for Empowering Parents. For example, you can try motivating him to make better grades by telling him that every letter grade his grades increase will earn him a new privilege, such as being able to do his homework in his room instead of in the kitchen or staying out a half-hour later on the weekends. Rewards are often a good motivator for young men.

  • Show him the future. Sometimes it may take more than rewards and the loss of privileges to motivate an unmotivated young man. For example, set aside a weekend to take your teen on a tour of college campuses he is interested in attending. Show him the dorm rooms, off-campus apartments, the frat houses and the campus. Let him meet some of the students and see what the city each college is located in is all about. Take him to meet an academic advisor, who can demonstrate how his lack of motivation today affects his ability to be accepted into his college of choice or play sports at the college of his choice or even get a good enough job to support himself some day. Hearing it from someone else and seeing what he might miss out on can be a pretty powerful motivator for a young man.


  • Photo Credit Jetta Productions/Lifesize/Getty Images
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