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How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care

Top Ways on How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care

Teenagers are no longer children and as much as they prefer being left alone and finding out things on their own, they still need a parent’s guidance and assistance. At this stage, most teenagers might seem not to care and others would say it to your face. Don’t be alarmed, this is probably because of low self-esteem. At such a time knowing how to motivate a teenager who doesn’t care is your best take.

Teenage hood is a stage of development that every child has to pass through. It’s during this stage that children seek their path and identity. It’s also during this stage when teen apathy is at its max and parent-child misunderstandings escalate.

How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care

There are multiple ways how to motivate a teenager who doesn’t care and some are more effective than others. Since our aim is to be successful as possible, we will only focus on the most effective ways.

1. Communicate with your teen 

Gone are the days when punishment was the best way to talk to a teen. For your teen to listen, you have to talk with them in a soft and calm tone.

Let them know you acknowledge how they feel and you are willing to be by their side. Having an honest conversation with a teen makes them feel free and actually open up about what they feel or what is happening.

Teenagerhood can either damage your child or make them stronger. Being there for them helps them to better know themselves (their path and identity). Take it like the point of life when one is ready to learn about the family’s values and norms.

Show them you once experienced what they are experiencing and that all life experiences come with a lesson. 

Encourage them to stay positive by seeing the best in every circumstance.

Communicating with a teen makes them drop their guard hence they will be more willing to listen to you. While trying to communicate with your teen, ensure you have a good relationship with them. This is because it will be difficult to have them listen to you have a strained relationship with them.  

How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care

2. Be a mentor

It’s important to keep in mind that you are your child’s parent, not a friend and a mentor not an instructor. Teens are trying to find their identity and path, hence it’s of utmost importance for you not to try to direct them on what or how to do something.

The best thing you can do for them is to provide them with guidance and assistance.

Help them in investigating and perusing their interest as well as exploring themselves. This way, you will be in a position to help them and give them a direction if they require it.

Schoolwork is important, but remember this is not the time to pressure your child with school. Remember teachers are doing that already. Talk to them and let them know why it’s important to graduate.

If they openly admit that they don’t want to continue with their studies or you have the feeling they don’t want to, let them know it’s okay to feel that way. Show them they can pursue their interest while studying.

Children model the behavior they are exposed to while growing up. If you want them to be motivated and care, it is actually up to you to show what caring and being motivated are all about. If you be a good role model for your child, they will most probably turn up like you. Therefore, being a good role model for your baby reduces the need to motivate them to care when they are teens.   

Related: What to do When your Teenager is Out of Control.

3. Positive Reinforcement 

A little positive reinforcement will do more in motivating your child. They might be thinking nothing is happening to them as they had planned. Through positive reinforcement, you will be able to gradually eliminate this thought from the teenager’s mind.

Rewarding teens when they do something as expected makes them want to care. This act sparks them up.

Knowing the right reward to give can be tedious at times. This is because you will have to find something that your teen really loves or likes and would be happy to have as a reward. This might include a favorite action figure – if he or she is still a fan, a favorite place, or even a video game. It can also be as simple as a new pair of shoes.

While doing this, remember not to take your teen’s words since they can easily say “I don’t care” or be interested when they do deep down.  

4. Let Them Express Their Autonomy 

Teens yearn for autonomy, connections with others or someone in particular, and experiences. This is something that you will have to be aware of and accept.

Take your teen seriously without labeling or judging them. Let them know you believe in their abilities and be ready to provide emotional space to them for their need to explore.

With empathy, challenge your teen to do better. It might seem impossible to them at first but with your support, they will have a different perspective.

Providing an environment and books suitable for your teen to explore themselves and express their autonomy will also play part in motivating them. Be there for them and let them know that you are willing to assist them to take the small steps they need to. Learn more on how parents can help a teen develop autonomy.

5. Show Them Why Something Matters

When a teen doesn’t care, it means they don’t see the value of something. Such thoughts and feelings come from the mind and perceptions.

To motivate them and make them care, you will have to show them why something matters. This will assist in changing their perceptions which is a step toward them caring.

They might feel like nothing matters and don’t see the point of life or living. This is a normal feeling, especially for teenagers who are realizing themselves.

Doing this might be difficult, but be calm, patient and trust the process.  

How to Motivate a Teenager Who Doesn’t Care

6. Seek Professional Assistance 

Of all the steps you can take to motivate a teenager who doesn’t care, this should be the last one.

There are people who have been trained and know the ins and out of how to motivate a teenager who doesn’t care, and handle teenagers accordingly. 

Help your teen to connect with a counselor or a coach who can understand and assist them in navigating their emotions. This will assist them in gaining clarity around their thoughts and feelings.

Teens might have issues that can only be solved by professionals. This means that the above techniques might not be effective in addressing the issue(s) at hand.   

Related: What to do When Teenager Hits You.


In motivating a teenager who doesn’t care, calmness and patience have to be there. It might be difficult but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Teach your child to accept what life has to offer and enjoy the experiences that come along. Encourage them to make friends or get them interested in something like a hobby to keep them active. This will help them get the big picture of life and be motivated.

As much as you might want to motivate your teen, don’t forget to be inspirational. Inspiration from a parent is more beneficial than that of a stranger or even a professional. Remember demotivation comes from the mind. Getting rid of such thoughts and feelings is a stride towards motivating them. 

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