Why we should be celebrating today’s teenagers, rather than ‘motivating’ them

Recently, while developing a whole load of lovely new products ready for Christmas, we felt it was time – nearly two years into Equipp – to review our core principles. We both agreed that we believe in these as passionately today as we did before launch and we’d love to share them with you (and hopefully strike a chord in the hearts of parents of teens everywhere).

The ethos that we apply to everything we do is “celebrate don’t motivate”.  That might sound strange – what’s wrong with a bit of motivation? Well, nothing at all, but we just think teenagers get too much well-meaning ‘motivation’ these days. We don’t think anyone would disagree that teenagers are under more pressure than ever before. Expectations of high achievement (even perfection) come at them from all sides – from social media particularly, but also from schools and often from us parents without us even realising it.  We recommend this article from Rachel Simmons on just this subject – it’s a really enlightening read: https://www.thestar.com/life/2018/01/30/teens-under-pressure-to-be-perfect-now-more-than-ever.html

One of the downsides of inspirational quotes and motivational mantras is that they can set expectations and goals that just add to all this pressure. A quick Google of “inspirational quotes for teenagers” comes up with SO many of the “Ask yourself if what you’re doing today is getting you closer to what you want to be tomorrow” type approach.  Makes us feel slightly panicky and we’re thirty years past teenage uncertainty!

 “In an increasingly secular world, inspirational quotes can offer a kind of verified wisdom that seems both omnipotent and instinctive, timeless and personal. But there may be a limit to the inspiration to be found in the rolling tide of inspirational material. Sometimes what is needed is to look away, to see unwritten space, an empty frame or an unframed view.”  Paula Cocozza

So we aim to create only products that are feel-good, affirmative and tell teens that they are brilliant and full of potential exactly as they are right now. When we’re designing a new product, we have a list of criteria:

  • Is it positive in every way? Yes – carry on. 
  • Does it instruct them to do something? Even something innocuous like “Reach for the stars” or “Be confident”? If it does, ditch it. We don’t want to tell them what to do, we want to tell them how amazing they are. 
  • Is it uplifting and all-round happy? Perfect, add it to the list. 
  • Does it pass the “Louise & Anna’s teenagers” test? We discuss and explore our products in great detail with our kids, their friends, friends of friends… we’re much too old to know what’s right for them! If it does (often with a bit of work!), it’s a winner.

Of course, we get it wrong on occasions (who doesn’t?) and all of our products don’t have to have a positivity slogan.  We love happy stuff that celebrates birthdays, or a love of sport or other passions, or just makes them feel good. But we strongly believe if we stick to our principles, we can spread a little bit of happiness and give teenagers a boost that makes them feel good about themselves.

 “Motivation is built on the premise that you need a specific set of circumstances to be just right, or you need to feel a specific way, in order to undertake a task.” Josh Archer

What do you think? Do you think we’ve got it right? Or are you all for motivation? We’d love to hear every viewpoint – please do leave us a comment!

Louise & Anna x




3 thoughts on “Why we should be celebrating today’s teenagers, rather than ‘motivating’ them

  1. Liz says:

    This is a great post. Totally with you on celebrating. I think stereotypically teenagers can get labelled as beefing labelled etc when this is not the case. And they will surely feel more motivated when realise people notice their achievements

  2. Helen Wills says:

    You know how I feel about this. I think a balance is important, kids do sometimes need a bit of a kick to get them off their phones or out of their beds. But I hate the view that teenagers are lazy, painful individuals. They are fascinating, kind usually, and so smart. I’ve never had anything but positive results from telling mine how amazing they are.

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