It is not that difficult to motivate an adolescent, just push the dopamine button in their brain!
When you think of dopamine, think of reward. The anticipation of a reward is even enough to raise dopamine levels in the brain and bring on a pleasurable response.
How to Use Dopamine to Motivate
Let’s consider the typical home scenario when your child needs to complete a homework assignment and they are not happy about it. How can you use the dopamine button to help motivate them without a battle?
- Begin by helping them to break the project into smaller pieces separated by break times. Adolescents typically have a very short attention span because the part of their brain that helps keep them organized and focused is sadly under-developed. Expecting them to stay focused on a project for very long is probably not reasonable anyway.
- Plan a reward during each break. Most of the time that would be a treat they like to eat or maybe a brief time of entertainment to help them decompress.
- Encourage them after the completion of each piece of the project. Adolescents need all of the verbal encourage they can get. A hug and a few positive words will also push the dopamine button.
If you follow this simple plan, you will notice another positive of the dopamine award method of motivating homework completion. Hopefully, stored away in their memory, will be good feelings about studying and not the dreaded memories of fighting with a parent and having a miserable time.
Master the Dopamine Button System
The more you can keep your child guessing about what interesting idea you are going to have next, you will have mastered the dopamine button system. The possibilities are unlimited and can be fun to dream up. We all look forward to rewards, but especially adolescent brains strongly respond to anticipation of something they want and look forward to. This is a powerful tool in your parenting tool bag!
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