When your hopes don’t match up with your teen’s motivation.

When parents feel like their goals for their teen don’t match up with their teen’s, it can get tricky.

Another holiday has passed, and parents could be struggling to see how they can help their teen get it together for the second half of the school year. 

We speak with parents who have tried holding their teen’s hand through schoolwork, tried reducing privileges, and neither of those work. They start to feel stuck that their teen hasn’t learned to take responsibility yet. But they know that just makes things worse. 

The truth is, a parent’s motivation for their teen’s success just might not match what their teen values, and so they could be stuck speaking different languages at home. 

 But when they try to relate, they’re met with eye rolls, or a teen shuts down. It’s rough. 

At Thompson Child Therapy, we teach teens how to find the inner drive to make their life worth living so they can stop reacting to their emotions in the moment and feel focused on the future. 

Teens need to learn how to find a balance. What parents might’ve seen as the drive for perfection when their teen was younger might have led to a lack of motivation in the teen years when they didn’t reach their goals immediately.

By focusing on the ability to see small incremental progress through tracking effective behavior AND ineffective behavior, we help teens climb out of the cavern of giving up that can seem like hope is futile. 

But with skills and a focus on the teen’s true dream, one met without comments like “let’s be realistic” or “how will you ever be an artist if you can’t do your homework,” (comments we know come from parents at times of frustration but are rooted in hope and love) we can help teens find the motivation to succeed. Even if they’ve given up and have been feeling sad and worried for quite some time, or they were told by other professionals that they couldn’t reach this goal given how they’re struggling right now.

With a clear sense of where they want to go, we help teens find the inner commitment to make it happen DESPITE setbacks (not without them). By preparing in advance (something we call troubleshooting) we help teens feel solid in their decision to live a life focused on possibilities, not whatever isn’t working or going their way. 

Reach out for support if you feel your teen could benefit from this approach. 



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