Why Teens and Young Adults Lack Motivation and Ambition

by katiem2

More and more graduating or college bond teens do little to succeed in life. Learn why our youth lacks ambition and how to foster success.

If you’ve noticed your young adult is slow to do what it takes to succeed in life you’re not alone nor are you wrong. It’s true more and more teens and young adults with great potential are doing little to tap into their abilities and talents. As parents we’ve done everything within our power to insure they’ve had the tools and education available to them for a promising and fulfilled life.

If you find you teen or young adult expects too much of you while doing very little for them or their family, community and friends stop and regroup before the window of opportunity passes. You can turn things around before it’s too late. Allowing this problem to proceed without doing your part to change things can lead to your young adult missing many of life’s pivotal moments such as; college, work and self-development. The success of your child depends on your next move.

Why Teens Lack Motivation

Is ambition a natural trait born to a select number or can motivation and ambition be a learned behavioral trait?

Ambition is definitely more prominent in a select few who allow nothing to stand in the way of their constantly evolving plan of action and yet can be nurtured and developed in anyone. While some are born with a strong sense of self and enjoy drive and ambition anyone can become confident and ambitious to both develop and follow their dreams to fruition.

The way to raise successful kids is to let go and allow your children to do things on their own as soon as possible. Everyday offers new opportunities for kids to develop motivation and ambition. The role of you the parent is to provide kids with the knowledge or how to do it only to step back and let the child run with it. This builds confidence which manifest into both motivation (to excel at more) and ambition (as they learn what they can do they hunger for more) to do great things in life.

How to Raise Motivated and Ambitious Kids

It’s never too late to teach your kids, teens or young adults a valuable life lesson for success.

Regardless of age any child, teen or young adult can learn to stand alone with confidence, motivation and the ambition to succeed. The way to make this happen is to first give your child expectations and instruction and secondly step back and watch them try. Parents must learn to allow their children, teens and young adults to fail. It is then you need only remind them how to do it reassuring them it takes practice and in time they will get it. Never, ever do it for them!

Common Mistakes Parents Make

Successful parents teach kids how, not show them how.

Showing is doing for them with no confidence they can do it for themselves. Many kids feel their parents don't care enough to spend the time allowing them to mess up, try again over and over till they get it right.

  1. Do you allow your kids, teens or young adults as much time as it takes to get it right?
  2. Do you step in doing it yourself just to get it done?

Anytime you step in and do it for your child when they struggle with something you send the message they are not capable. Did you get that?  This is the most vital and yet the most simplistic rule of parenting motivated and ambitious kids, teens and young adults.

What to Expect From Young Adults

Parents expectations are vital to the growth and development of healthy successful kids who are motivated and ambitious.

Parents must expect and allow their children to do what’s expected of them all the while being their cheer leader and not their assistant. The art of doing and achieving the simplest of task over and over again builds drive, motivation and ambition to do more. This is a continuing process that will guide your kids down the path of success in life and foster a love for both themselves and the world around them. They begin to see opportunity in everything with a zest for life only a young person can possess.

The Task Kids Should Be Doing

The worst thing any parent can do is to do the things their children should be doing for themselves.

This sends the message you don’t believe your kid, teen or young adult is capable. They feel you don’t have faith in them and if you don’t they must not be able or talented. This is the major factor that squashes motivation and ambition in any child, teen or young adult.

Regardless of the outrageous and seemingly misguided direction of your kid let them know you believe in their ability to find their way,they will begin to think in terms of doing just that adjusting their plan to fit that expectation.

Resistance fosters the lack of ambition and drive providing scared teens with an out and an excuse for why they don't succeed. Telling them you believe gives them power and control over their lives, something any successful person must embrace.

Steps to Youthful Independence

A list of things parents can do to get children to succeed on their own.

Parents should remind themselves everyday what the ultimate goal is for their kids. The ultimate goal for any parent is to teach their kids to do everything they themselves (parents) know how to do. You know the many things it takes to live alone successfully and comfortably. While many parents dream about their child finding the perfect person to share their lives with it only happens to the degree of true happiness if your child is fully developed with the ability to anything and everything for themselves.  

Adult Children’s Current Success Rate

A frightening number of adult children, closing in at 14 million, still live at home dependent on their working parents.

Is this the reality you want for your children when they grow up?  If not ask yourself what you’re teaching your kids, teens and young adults. 

  1. Are you teaching them how to live as an independent adult? 
  2. Do they know who to successfully take care of themselves, home and surroundings? 

If not there are simple and easy to follow steps for both parents and their kids to follow in order make their lives more productive, fulfilling and healthy.

The Steps to Successful Adulthood

In order to achieve successful adulthood kid’s, teens and young adults must take on and learn new responsibilities on an ongoing basis.

Set Boundaries and Stick to Them as Law

Set boundaries and stick to them without wavering. Ignore any attempts your kid makes to get out of their responsibilities. They will try to lay a guilt trip on you going as far as to simply not do what is expected of them waiting for you to do it. DO NOT DO IT!  Anytime you bale your kids out, fall victim to their guilt or pity trip you cripple your son or daughters from advancement in life. 

Note: Set the boundaries and expectations with a casual matter of fact attitude never engaging in your child's attempts to avoid them. In time and with your persistence they learn it's a must and there is no way out of it.

Let Kids Dream and Plan

Allowing your child to dream and plan their own future with your support is a great way to build motivation and ambition.

The most successful people on the planet hatch a plan, fail at it (on their own) driving them to have a “NEXT” mentality never giving up till they find the perfect thing for them fitting their abilities and talents Anytime a parent steps in trying to force their ideas and desires for the child on them they tear down the kids, teens or young person’s personal path in life derailing them from their driving force in life.

Let your adult children plan their own lives and decide for themselves early on and watch them grow into something amazing. BUT do not forget the boundaries, kids must learn to stay within the boundaries set before them until they grow their way out of them naturally by succeeding.

Have a Plan for Kid's, Teens and Young Adults

Teaching kids, teens and young adult how to take responsibility for themselves is an ongoing process that must be consistent.

Be honest with your kids letting them know your role as a parent.  Parents who teach their kids both their role as a parent and theirs as a growing person build the ritual of goal setting, achievement and future growth and hunger for further success.


The Parenting Role of Successful Kids

The responsibility of success falls on both parents and children.

Parents Role – The role of you the parent is to help your children follow their dreams, provide them with a solid education special to their abilities and talents, allow the child to be who they are without force and set boundaries helping the child to understand and follow the rules and expectations of a fulfilled and happy life. Love and believe in your child reminding them often you know they are amazing and will do amazing things now and always.

Kids Role – The role of the children is to follow the direction of their parents, express themselves openly working toward their dreams all the while learning the eb and flow of goals, work and taking care of their home and those they love and care for.

Note:  Everything needed to develop motivated and ambitious kids happens when the developing child, teen or young adult lives and grows around good examples and instruction from their parents, teachers and coaches all the while living in an environment with boundaries that are consistent and enforced.

Updated: 03/20/2013, katiem2
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


katiem2 on 04/07/2013

Thanks Natural_Skin_Care, I'll check that book out and I agree video games are a very big distraction.

Natural_Skin_Care on 04/07/2013

I think video games have a lot to do with it. Encourages them to tune out and be non communicative. Another good book is Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax.

katiem2 on 03/20/2013

Catana, I agree completely, well said!

Guest on 03/20/2013

True, some parents do seem to get into a rut of doing everything for their kids. That's probably always been true, maybe more so these days. Or maybe there's just more written about it. I really feel sorry for modern kids. They seem to have so much given to them, at least when you're talking middle class and up, but there's too much to distract them and very little sense of where the future is taking them.

katiem2 on 03/20/2013

Cantana, That's one idea and yet totally different than what I was thinking. I'm thinking more in terms of getting off their bums and learning to wash dishes, laundry, clean the house, do their part, work where ever they chose and make it for themselves. I would never imagine my kids living life as I have it's a whole other world we currently live in and yet opportunity is there it's just different and so thinking, living and working differently than their parents will work brilliantly. They just have to get up and get going with life in their own unique way.

Guest on 03/20/2013

To me, this all sounds like putting bandages on an open wound. Most kids are smart enough to know that they have very little chance of the kind of life their parents worked for. They're much more aware than most adults of how f--ked up the world is, and they don't see the point of working for goals that will just get them more fancy gadgets and deeper in debt.

BrendaReeves on 03/20/2013

I'm sure they will Katie!

katiem2 on 03/20/2013

Brenda, Oh my what a good example of thriving parenting. I see the lack of expectation all the time and it is sad as the kids don't keep the natural instincts of self reliance. I hope I do as well with my kids as you have yours.

Jokingly (maybe) I tell both my girls one of their major responsibilities as a successful adult (which I tell them they will be) is to visit Mom often, take her out on a regular basis, hire me a cleaning staff and on and on they both agree that's a great plan.... and constantly tell me what they plan to do for me when they are all grown up and thriving in their field and life. :)

BrendaReeves on 03/20/2013

Katie, this is very good and so true. I raised my kids to be independent. I showed them how to do their laundry at about 10 years old. They all got jobs at 13 years old. All three went to college and got Master's Degrees and one got a Phd. They are very happy in their careers and family lives. The only problem: They left mommy! Whaaa!

You might also like

Fun Ways Teens Can Earn Money this Summer

If you wanna have fun this summer you know it takes money to do it. Learn how...

When Teens Fall in Love - Young Love First Love

Worried your teen is falling in love or has a crush and how it will effect th...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...