Is My Teen a Lazy Teenager?

I get a lot of e-mails and calls from Parents telling me their child is lazy and that they don’t seem bothered about university, exams, grades etc:, or they just don’t think about their future at all.   Even youth coaches who should know better tell me that young people just don’t think past their noses.  I beg to differ; I just don’t see it that way at all. Yes, some may find it difficult and yes, some may be lazy and some may not seem interested – we could even blame dopamine, but that is another story!  I prefer to look at everything from a factual, evidence-based perspective – the police officer dies hard. I just don’t believe any of this hype when I am told it at all.

When a Parent tells me that their child is not thinking about their future or isn’t able to see past their nose, I think short-term time frame. What am I talking about, you ask? And well you might.

So here is what I mean; read, digest and then tell me all teens are just focused on the here and now. :)

Lazy teenager or just a different way of looking at life? 


Time Frame Orientation relates to the natural length of time you consider when making plans, setting goals, and thinking about your future. Some people naturally see the impact of present decisions over a long period of time. Others see the more immediate impact of the decision. Some people prefer closure right away; others are willing to wait for years.

The Highlands Ability Battery groups people into three different time frame orientations: short/immediate (6-12 months), mid/intermediate (1-5 years), and long (5-10 years).

Knowing about your time frame orientation can affect the way you plan, and how far you are able to see into the future, which is vital when it comes to young people. Often, youth with short term time frame are consider lazy and those with long term, dreamers.

SHORT RANGE (6-12 months)

People with a short range time frame can see the impact their decisions will have on the immediate future. This enables them to move easily from project to project and can be very helpful in jobs demanding immediate closure, like sales or accounting. The challenges for these people are learning the self-discipline and skills necessary to set intermediate and long-term goals. Their hunger for immediate results may hinder their ability to achieve over the long term.

MID (1-5 years)

A mid-range time frame is helpful in jobs requiring relationship building. People in this range are able to put off instant gratification to accomplish longer-range goals. These people are fairly flexible and are able to stretch themselves to set short and long range goals.

LONG (5-10 years)

People with a long range time frame are natural strategic thinkers. When planning, they naturally look at the impact the decisions will have on the long-term future of the organization. These people can endure work without immediate rewards in order to achieve greater future rewards. The challenge comes when these people fixate on the future when it no longer makes any sense. People with long range orientation also tend to have a challenge finishing short-term tasks.  They know they’ll get to them at some point and they always feel they have plenty of time.  They often have very large piles of books-to-be-read.

Often, time frame orientation can be best illustrated in our personal life. An example would be the way a high school student approaches college. A short range person would have the application mailed but wouldn’t have any idea about what major they want to study, or what goals they have for their life. A mid-range person would have the application mailed too, but would also have a very good idea what major they’re interested in and possibly what country they want to go to during their junior year abroad. A person with long range orientation would be able to tell you in detail what they want to be doing after college—what graduate school they’ll go to, what career field they’ll be in, where they’ll be living and how much they’ll be making.

While to get a definite answer on time frame you need to take the test, there are ways you can assess where your client is on time frame.