100+ Proven Ways to Encourage Teens

Overview: Not just 10 or 20 but ONE HUNDRED ways you can encourage teens by word or deed. Parenting teens can be tricky; these tips and quotes are expert advice!

Teenagers. Everything is so apocalyptic. — Kami Garcia

Ain't that the truth? Being a teenager can be pretty traumatic, and parenting one can be even moreso, lol. But it's our job to be the adults, and to come alongside our teenagers and give them encouragement to keep on keepin' on.

But sometimes we run out of ideas about how to do that, especially if we are homeschool parents. Since we are with our teen(s) almost 24/7, we can tend to repeat the same old maxims over and over again. Sometimes we need some fresh material, am I right? :-)

Not just 10 or 20 but ONE HUNDRED ways you can encourage teens by word or deed. Parenting teens can be tricky; these tips and quotes are expert advice from those who know!

So recently I polled about a bajillion parents of teenagers to find out how they encourage their teens — what they do and say to help brighten their teen's countenance and help them feel like life isn't so hard after all. I've compiled their answers into a very helpful list!

NOTE: You can get this list as a printable file — scroll to the bottom to do so!

The list itself is broken into four parts — first, the encouraging actions we can exhibit towards our teens; second, encouraging words we can say to them; third, rewards we can give to them; and fourth, some quotes from some of my blogging friends that give even more ideas. No one should leave this page without some good encouragement ammo to use with their teenager!

To the adolescent, there is nothing in the world more embarrassing than a parent.

–Dave Barry

100 Ways to Encourage Teens

ACTIONS: Behavior we can exhibit towards our teens to encourage them

  1. Actively listening to them
  2. Hugging them
  3. Spending one-on-one time with them
  4. Not judging them
  5. Valuing their thoughts and opinions
  6. Helping create opportunities to hang with friends or have their friends visit
  7. Noticing when they are doing something well.
  8. Saying words of encouragement even when they are not doing so well
  9. Smiling at them
  10. Showing interest in their interests
  11. Finding ways for them to pursue their interests and activities
  12. Keeping the wonder of learning alive
  13. Having a meal together
  14. Showing respect to them
  15. Praying with them and for them
  16. Treating them as an equal
  17. Not nagging
  18. Discussing their future together and getting excited about it
  19. Exposing them to positive role models
  20. Helping them research goals and the steps needed to reach them
  21. Having coffee together
  22. Doing some school alongside them every day, no matter what their age
  23. Knowing their love language and using it towards them
  24. Using an equal balance of love and discipline
  25. Helping them get their first job
  26. Liking and enjoying their friends
  27. Helping them identify how their behavior moves them toward (or perhaps away) from their goals.
  28. Letting them know they do have power, because they tend to concentrate on what they aren't allowed to do rather than establishing themselves as responsible individuals ready and capable of handling more.
  29. Staying up late to talk when they come in
  30. Listening to their music
  31. Giving them the benefit of the doubt
  32. Watching their presentations and performances and sports games
  33. Letting them plan their day
  34. Sitting down with them to plan their day
  35. Driving them places cheerfully
  36. Leaving them notes
  37. Making their favorite dinner
  38. Asking questions about what they like and don't like
  39. Admitting when you're wrong
  40. Letting them vent
  41. Communicating with them with enthusiasm and affection
  42. Sharing stories about your own teen years with them
  43. Reminding them of the long-range reasons why they are doing something
  44. Playing video games with them
  45. Buying them gas for their car
  46. Trusting them
  47. Reminding them how they have helped you or others
  48. Putting them in social contexts where they can be encouraged by adults other than you
  49. Point to past successes like learning to tie their shoes and reading. They thought those were so hard to ever accomplish but look at them now!
  50. Giving them important tasks to do to show that you rely on them

Related Reading: 10 Effective Strategies for Motivating Homeschooled Teens

WORDS: Things we can say to our teens to encourage them

  1. I love you.
  2. Embrace this unique opportunity of learning without pressure.
  3. Never forget to have fun during the journey.
  4. One day at a time.
  5. Say positive things about who they are.
  6. I'm on your side.
  7. I'm only trying to help you get to where YOU want to go — where is that?
  8. HOW can I help you get to where you want to go?
  9. Now is the time to take big risks, to do it even though you are scared, because we have your back. No matter what happens, we're here if you “fail” in a way that we can't be once you're out on their own, so NOW is the time to test yourself and really see what you can do!
  10. You can't fail anything unless you give up.
  11. We do get do-overs.
  12. Who do you answer to?
  13. What you do today impacts your future.
  14. You can accomplish anything you are willing to work for.
  15. We are in this together.
  16. God has a plan and a purpose for all of us, in everything. Stick with His plan, and trust it.
  17. Our strengths were planned ahead of birth. Our weaknesses are of no surprise to him. The world is full of unique people and each of them is an incredible gift.
  18. What do you want, where are you going, and what do you need?
  19. The choice of how you behave and what you do is how you establish your own personal power.
  20. Explore your interests now, because you might not be as freely able to later.
  21. Thank you.
  22. You wouldn't know what a good day was if you didn't have a few bad ones.
  23. I will not give up on you.
  24. You are my favorite (fill in the blank).
  25. God loves you even more than I do.
  26. Being beautiful (or handsome) on the inside is more important than on the outside.
  27. I'm sorry.
  28. I love (fill in the blank) about you.
  29. You are doing a good job.
  30. Everyone has things to work on.
  31. Who do you know that has what you want, and how did they get it?
  32. A change is as good as a rest — try something else for awhile.
  33. I respect the way you handled that.
  34. Will you forgive me for (fill in the blank)?
  35. Don't think of life's sufferings and trials as things to be avoided, but instead as paths to human triumph.

Related Reading: Homeschooling Teens Who Are Easily Distracted

REWARDS: Things you can give your teen for a job well done

  1. Privileges the other kids don't get
  2. Food
  3. Gaming or electronics time
  4. Cash
  5. Starbucks or Itunes gift card

Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

— Erma Bombeck

OTHER ADVICE (which makes MORE than 100 ways!):

  1. Tricia at Hodgepodge.me – Just work on one thing for 15 minutes. Then take a break. Come back, do something else for 15 minutes. Then get some coffee or a cup of ice cream. Work some more. Then go for a walk. You will be amazed what you can accomplish in small spurts and with a change of scenery for inspiration.
  2. Heidi at Starts at EightTPOPT = The Power of Positive Thinking. And your best is ALWAYS good enough!
  3. Amy at Rock Your HomeschoolStay true to yourself and your beliefs. Shine with the light God has given you. And always the golden rule!
  4. Shelly at There's No Place Like HomeYou know yourself more than anyone. I will always take that into consideration, and so should you.
  5. Mary at Not Before 7I love to encourage my teen by paying attention to her growth, accomplishments, and positive attempts at change. This includes character but I also include accomplishments on her YouTube channel or Instagram! She loves when I notice what she is doing. And these compliments are fun to deliver over frappuccinos so we can reconnect.
  6. Adrienne at The Mommy MessMy son's love language is food! I love to bake something special or cook his favorite dinner when he needs a little extra fuel in his love tank.
  7. Tina at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool PlusMy teen boys said the best thing I did was to help them get started on time so that as they got to be teenagers they didn’t need the prodding. And I will always be ready to listen more and give less advice unless they requested the feedback.
  8. Amber at Classic HousewifeHow I encourage them depends on which kid and what's going on. One might just need a hug with no talking. The other might appreciate some kind words, or a written note, or some brownies. All of them need and enjoy positive reinforcement that says “Hey, I saw that good thing you did there, or how hard you tried, and that was awesome.” But I also think the relationship has to be in a good place for them to believe it. And one thing I've always tried to do with my kids is to share their interests, try to participate sometimes, and listen to them talk about them for hours, etc. You know, like Minecraft. LOL.

Related: Episode 81 – Communicating with Teenagers

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So next time your teen is looking down in the dumps, pull out one of these ideas to help them along the way! A little encouragement can mean a lot! (Although they'll never admit it, of course. This is the teen code, as you may already know.)


It's Not That Hard to Homeschool
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