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Motivating Your Teen to Stay Active

The teen years can be the most awkward stage in a person's life, and your teen may be suffering from physical insecurities. Biological changes and the onset of puberty can make a teen self-conscious and lead her to avoid pursuing anything that might make her stand out. It can be hard to concentrate on staying active when you want to remain unnoticed! Peer pressure at this age can also be brutal, and your teen may be dealing with social pressures at school to conform to whatever is currently deemed "cool."

You may need to help your teen find an activity she feels confident doing. Consider your teen's strengths and build on them. Keep the communication lines open so that you can help her resolve any problems with low self-esteem. Offer her support when she needs it, and reassure her that she is capable of achieving success.

Once your teen has settled on an activity, be sure to plan ahead and make time for it. Teens are often overburdened with homework, social activities, etc. If you make an effort to make exercise convenient for your teen, she is more likely to look at it as part of her everyday routine.

According to research by the U.S. Department of Education, young kids tend to believe that the harder they try, the better they'll get. But as children move into their teen years, their thinking shifts; they begin to believe that ability is fixed - that having to try harder means they are less able to do it. Obviously this view can hamper motivation. After all, why try hard if it doesn't guarantee you'll do well? Remember to remind your teen that she doesn't have to be a star athlete, or particularly exceptional at her chosen activity. What's important is to make an effort and have fun.

Be a Role Model
Above all else, remember to be your teen's role model. Research has shown that parents are the most important role model for their children, who tend to mimic their parents' behaviors. By practicing healthy behaviors and embracing your own strengths, you're setting an example for your child to follow - hopefully for life.


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