The truth is you really can’t. But at the same time, you don’t want your child to suffer for the rest of their lives because of a lack of discipline instilled at a young age. So let us rephrase this; how do you motivate your teenager to take responsibility for their actions and balance their long term-selves with short-term happiness?
You need to understand why your teen isn’t doing their homework. Do they find it useless? Do they not enjoy a particular subject? Are they having other difficulties?
This means giving time to your child and having a conversation about why they’re falling behind? Do they feel like there is too much work? Are there burdens at home that prevent them from working properly? You’ll need to know what’s happening in their lives while leaving your own preconceptions behind. It would also be useful to understand when this approach towards homework began; if something is troubling them, then tracing where the issue started from could help.
Your teen may not see why their homework is important, and how practicing discipline can help them later. Even if homework seems useless, they need to see that monotonous obligations must be performed to achieve greater plans. How will homework matter to their future? Do they want to go to LUMS, NUST or a top university in Pakistan? Would they like to join the corporate sector? Would they desire to pursue higher education at a university such as MIT, Harvard, Oxford?
They don’t need to understand everything, but exposing them to various fields and disciplines could aid in making them more motivated and interested in work. Taking up an internship may benefit by teaching them that for the sake of work they may be obliged to perform redundant tasks to earn money. Putting them in touch with a university student may help them understand why assignments are so important, and the importance of deadlines.
Create an Environment
Stop fighting with your partner and your teenager. Mark out spaces and time-slots out to work. Keep the home quiet at certain times. Give them the environment they need to study in peace. This doesn’t mean restructuring your home, but getting them to clean up their desk and not use it as a wardrobe is a good idea. Is your home in an area with a lot of noise? Find small ways of reducing noise so that your teen can concentrate more easily. Implement small changes such as a change in the lightbulb in their room from white to yellow light or vice versa; you don’t know what could work.
Would they like to learn how to drive? Do they want to spend more time with their friends? Show them that when they can be more responsible, such as by doing their homework, those are privileges that can be earned. Take away things if you really need to; if they’re getting a failing grade, their phone goes for a few hours every day. An improvement could also mean a small increment in their pocket money. Don’t give them rewards that are a burden on you, for example, if you were going to teach them how to drive anyway, do it -but slow down for a few days. They have shown some responsibility by stepping up and doing their work, so meet them halfway, even if you don’t necessarily approve.
Find a medium they like
Does your teen study more on their laptop rather than on a notebook? While a parent should be concerned about writing practice, tutorials, online notes, and past papers are great ways for a student to learn on their laptop.
Is the computer teaching them what their teachers cannot explain properly? If yes, do some research yourself; there are plenty of free installations that block social media and streaming sites so that your child can study more effectively. There are also plenty of platforms to learn online now that are relevant to Pakistan, such as Khan Academy and Tutoria.pk.
Make it nicer
Most parents I know think pretty pens and diaries are gimmicks that their students don’t have a practical need for. But by using highlighters and colorful pens you might make it easier for a student to remember what they’re studying and actually enjoy working. Look at places like the Blingspot Studio, or shops like Ximi Vogue or Miniso to if you don’t know where to start looking.
Nudges can be very small things with a big impact -make use of them.
Smartphones have amazing applications that allow you to create a list of reminders. By having a notification sent out, you might be able to get your teen to accomplish smaller tasks until they eventually get their homework done. Also, a list may also remind them of what they have achieved during the day, rather than letting it vanish from view entirely.
If your teenager is going through a bad phase emotionally, or is having trouble at school, or feels like they don’t understand the topics, offering help and talking to them could be better than just getting angry about homework. It’s hard to see your teenager like this, but if they’re depressed or suffering from bad mental health, or even physical health such as insomnia, seeking professional help could help them in the long term. If your teenager has been sick a lot recently, it could be better to try and give them more outdoor activities to do so that they feel like they’re back in shape. Look for a tutor if need be for an academic issue, and don’t be shy to talk to them about such things.
Take a Step Back: Are they doing well otherwise?
If it’s their final exams that count, such as the Matric, Fsc, O or A Levels, and they’ve done well in the past while following the same path, then is this lack of homework really the issue? If your teenager hasn’t let you down in the past, some trust in their capabilities could also go a long way.