Wednesday’s Parent: Using irony and a proverb as self-motivation for your teen

The path to self-motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The path to self-motivation. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The problem of motivation before the longest school break has many parents worried. The concern is teen’s thoughts of summer fun are pushing aside the facts of studies learned right before finals. It’s a big issue for the college-bound when grades matter on college applications and worse for those with college acceptances which may be rescinded for poor academic performance.

Suzanne and I already gave our tips for dealing with spring fever and senioritis. An irony and an old proverb may have the best solution now.

Irony: The longest day of the year is the summer solstice which means the days grow shorter just as summer begins.

Proverb: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Your teen probably isn’t thinking about the irony because he’s too happy focusing on summer fun, perhaps a job and definitely a break from the routine grind. As for the proverb, you probably have tried several ways over the years to motivate your child. Most likely, none of these involved teaching the skill of self-motivation.

Merging the ability to concentrate on objectives with the skill to to self-motivate sets your child on a path to independence and self-sufficiency. In college he will be able to light his own fire to complete class assignments. For work, she will be able to get the job done by set deadlines. As to meeting family and friends obligations, he will step up. All by him or herself.

Self-motivation comes from within and the result is parents may be able to put away those carrots or sticks used in the past. Think of it as a great companion to our tips for passing the responsibility torch.

Here are four ways self-motivation leads to your teen’s success:

1. Goals If your teen understands what he wants, he has a better chance of making goal attainment his own priority.

2. Empowerment If your teen knows her capabilities, she has the confidence to try it her way.

3. Urgency If your teen has a to do list and matching deadlines, his actions will lead to his own successes or failures.

4. Rewards If your teen is vested in the outcome, she will find her own satisfaction in achievement.

Read on for Suzanne’s post: Motivating an Unmotivated Student


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.