How to Motivate Your Tween for Their Goals

Dad and daughter eating ice cream
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Every parent wants their child to stay motivated to learn, take advantage of opportunities, and try new and exciting things. But not all tweens are eager to leave their comfort zone, or may not be as daring as they were when they were just a few years younger.

If your tween's lack of motivation has you concerned, or if you think your child may benefit from a little encouragement to set goals and achieve them, there's a lot you can do to help your growing tween.

Below are a few fun ways you can motive your tween, and encourage your child to embrace opportunities.

Be Upbeat

If you want your tween to embrace learning, or try new things be sure you present a positive and upbeat attitude to your tween. Your excitement may be all your tween needs to try new things or take on a challenge. Let your tween know that you have high expectations for him and that you know he's more than capable of achieving them. Set realistic goals, so that when your child accomplishes them, she'll be excited and motivated to try for more.

Be Inspiring

It's always nice to hear upbeat stories of success. Be sure to share your own stories about how you set a goal and worked towards making it. You can even share similar stories of relatives, friends, or even public figures. You and your tween can set goals together, and then establish a fun plan for making those goals become a reality.

Failure Is OK

If you're not afraid of failure, your tween may not be either. Let your tween understand that trying is always a success and that there is no such thing as failure. Every experience teaches your tween important things, and whenever your child walks away knowing more, he's already a winner. Be excited if your tween decides to try out for the school play. If they don't make it, let them know that the experience was worth it and that you're proud of their effort and willingness to try.

Consider Rewards

Just about everyone, adult and child, are motivated by rewards. If your tween achieves a certain goal, be sure to celebrate. Your celebration doesn't have to be anything expensive or involved, you may decide to celebrate by going to a movie, or visiting your local ice cream parlor. Setting goals and determining rewards are wonderful ways to encourage your child and keep him motivated to succeed.

Don't Micromanage Decisions

If your tween knows that he has some say in important decisions he might be more willing to set goals and reach towards them. Allow your child to decide if he wants to play baseball or soccer, or if she wants to join the school chorus or school band. Giving your child some ownership in decision making is a wonderful way to easily motivate her.

Let Go of Your Own Baggage

Sometimes parents can prevent their children from trying new things or setting goals because they carry around too much of their own baggage. If you're bitter because you didn't get the job of your dreams, you may be telling your tween that it's not worth reaching for things or putting yourself out there only to be disappointed. But, if you can spin your disappointment and be proud of your own attempts to try new things, you can foster that in your tween.


If your child has fun trying new things or working towards a goal, then you can't expect anything more. Let your child know how much you enjoy watching him explore and learn, and that you hope he never loses interest in expanding his interests and mind.

1 Source
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  1. Fischer C, Malycha CP, Schafmann E. The Influence of Intrinsic Motivation and Synergistic Extrinsic Motivators on Creativity and InnovationFront Psychol. 2019;10:137. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00137

By Jennifer O'Donnell
Jennifer O'Donnell holds a BA in English and has training in specific areas regarding tweens, covering parenting for over 8 years.