How to Motivate a Teen Student Who Doesn't Care About His Grades

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Having a teenager who lacks motivation to succeed in school can be a frustrating parenting challenge. Typically, people experience motivation from one of two sources: fear or love. Interests and desires also play a role in motivating you to pursue something. When you fear consequences from not doing something, this motivates you to act. Use various techniques to motivate a teen student who doesn't care about his grades to encourage better performance.


  1. Understand how some teenagers use a lack of motivation to exert control. By not caring, a teenager effectively resists your expectations and experiences empowerment. Because you cannot cannot force a teenager to care about grades, the teenager acquires a certain power by not caring.

  2. Think about the activities and interests your teenager has and make a list. Write down everything your child enjoys doing. Examples include video games, television, computer time, cell phone use, friends, money, clothes and sports.

  3. Talk to your teenager about your expectations for him. If you want your child to earn at least a "B" in each class, make this expectation clear to your child. If you expect your child to spend at least two hours each day doing homework, tell your child this expectation. You cannot expect your teenager to meet your expectations if you do not communicate them.

  4. Use a loss of activities or privileges to motivate your teen to perform. Remove the activities from his use and provide them after he meets your expectations every day. For example, if your teenager enjoys video games, make video games inaccessible to him. Each day, after your teenager attends school, hands in homework, completes new homework and satisfies all of your expectations, he can use his video games. He must meet your expectations and perform his tasks every day or he loses his video games until he performs.

  5. Stay in frequent contact with your teen's teachers. By working closely with each teacher, you know when your child is working and you will know almost immediately if your child begins slipping. If your child gets a bad grade on a test or skips an assignment, ask the teacher to call or email you so you can follow up with your teen by restricting the teen's privileges until he performs.

  6. Encourage and support your teen. When you notice your teen working hard, getting a good grade or being self motivated to succeed, make encouraging comments.



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