This is a re-broadcast. The episode originally ran in October 2018.
Do you have a teenage boy who struggles in school? Or do you have a younger son who you can imagine struggling in school as he gets older? He may be an otherwise capable young man, but seems apathetic and unmotivated, to the point you think he’s not excelling simply because he’s lazy. My guest today says that’s the wrong conclusion to draw, and one that leads to the wrong parenting approach to addressing it.
His name is Adam Price and he’s a child psychologist and the author of He’s Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe in Himself. Today on the show, Dr. Price argues that the real reason many young men are unmotivated is not that they don’t care about succeeding, but that they feel too much pressure to do so, and are scared of failing. We discuss why nagging and over-parenting simply exacerbates this issue, and how stepping back and giving boys more autonomy can help them become more self-directed and find their footing.
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- The prevalence of unmotivated boys in our culture and schooling
- Why simple unmotivation is different from depression or other clinically-diagnosed problems
- Laziness vs. fear and avoidance
- Are more young men disengaged today than a couple decades ago?
- How boys handle stress differently from girls
- Why academic pressure is more acute nowadays
- Why it’s okay for boys to be late bloomers
- The physical and emotional changes of adolescence
- How parents typically respond to this type of teenage behavior
- The dangers of overprotective parenting
- Why your kids shouldn’t be treated like royalty
- An exercise to determine how much you do for your kids, and how to start letting them do more on their own
- What it looks like to set boundaries in a way that also allows autonomy
- Why letting kids fail is absolutely necessary
- How parents should approach their teens’ bedrooms (in regards to cleanliness)
- How long does it take for these principles to start to take hold?
- Your primary job as a parent (hint: it’s not about making your kid(s) happy)
- How to get disengaged boys to talk
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- The ADHD Explosion
- Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do to Help Them
- Turning Boys Into Men
- Boys Adrift
- The Male Brain
- Our AoM series on overprotective parenting
- “Is College For Everyone?” series
- The Unique Powers of the Twenty-Something Brain
- The Self-Driven Child
- The Best Gift You Can Give Your Children is Failure
- Lawnmower Parents Are the New Helicopter Parents
- The Unmotivated Teen (Dr. Price’s blog)
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