Do you have a teen or pre-teen at home that is driving you crazy because they're totally unmotivated? No matter what you try, or how much you explain the importance of learning to them, they just don’t get it? Does getting them to do their work sometimes feel like pushing a boulder up a mountain?
Well, even if it’s not that extreme yet, you'll benefit from knowing 5 surprising reasons that school aged kids lose motivation. Keep in mind that their indifference is most likely because of a combination of these reasons, but the last one is almost always the greatest factor...
1. Their classes are too hard. If they’re used to getting good grades without having to put in too much effort and then suddenly, they do poorly on a test or two and start falling behind, their confidence in their abilities can make them lose momentum very quickly. In these instances, it is best to seek out tutoring as early as possible to get them back on track.
2. Their classes are too easy. Conversely, when classes come too easy, students often feel like there is no point in putting in much effort. They can start procrastinating because the subject matter might not be at a level that challenges them. In order to ramp up their drive (if they cannot be placed in a more fast-paced class), we need to turn the concepts into challenges, like timing them and having them compete with their best time.
3. No utility for what they’re learning. Have you heard that famous question students love to ask, “when am i ever going to use this,” and internally cringed because there is a part of you that knows there might be some truth in their objection? Telling them “look, I had to do this when i was your age and now it’s your turn” doesn’t really seem to do the trick, right? Well, this is actually another manifestation of the fear of failure. The fact is, they don’t ask this question about things that they perform well in, even if it is something they won’t need, and just like the last point.
4. Too many repeated failures. Regardless of the reason, too many repeated perceived failures can shatter the fragile confidence of a kid very quickly. Normally, in these instances, they will start to reject learning altogether and give reasons such as “it’s boring” to save face. This, at its core, comes from a fear of failure. What these students need is someone delivering a growth mindset to them and helping to navigate their thought towards perseverance.
And the last but most important point is…
5. They question the unconditional support and love of their parents. No one likes receiving "conditional" gifts. Studies show that children who feel they have a solid foundation of unconditional love and support perform better in school and are better adjusted in life. As a parent, however, this can be confusing because you want to be loving, but also feel like you’re responsible for showing your child "the right way", and if you don't they'll fail. You feel trapped - you're doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t.