How can I novitiate my lazy and underachieving teen?
Help, my smart straight “A” teen is failing!
“My teenager is brilliant! Highly intelligent, has the potential to make all A’s but is barely bringing home C’s! Help!”
Some teens don’t recognize the importance of education and what it means to their future. As a matter of fact, we are seeing more adults going back for a higher education than ever before. Why? It’s simple- education is the key to your financial future. Now we need to get our teenagers to understand this.
It’s also important to understand, and relate to your teen that education can also mean technical school such as becoming a plumber, electrician or HVAC. They are excellent trades making a very good financial future. However they all need education. When your teen is doing something they like or are passionate about it the motivation comes easily.
If you try to put your teen into a box they don’t fix into, you may risk shutting them down.
Some advice and tips to consider:
- Start early on as possible as you can, set up reasonable goals, begin with small tasks and give them time to improve. For example, have the teen state the goal, the grade on their upcoming report card for their classes, math, English, science, history, etc.
- Tell your teen that you love him/her and wish to help him/her to have a bright future, then start the conversation with patience on his/her daily school activities, homework, test, class projects, etc. Prepare to hear some “bad news”, if it did happen, do not be angry with him/her, be calm down and help your teen find the problem and try to find a way to help him/her to solve the problem.
- In order to build a strong work ethic, need to set some rules and ask your teen to follow, be strict and tell him/her why. For example, finish homework before watching TV or playing video games/computer/smartphones. Why? Homework is the key to understand and master what teachers taught, which leads to his/her success in school. This rule helps him/her be stronger on self-control as well.
- Encourage and praise the teen wisely, not too much, otherwise would mislead him/her to think he/she is the best. Namely, let him/her know that the best needs continuous learning, although did a good job today, need do better tomorrow. (This philosophy is now being challenged in the latest best selling book, The Gift of Failure) an excellent read for all parents.
- Teach your teen to have passion for learning new knowledge by showing fun stuff for the project and try to get his/her interest.
- Tell your teen successful stories. Help them to understand to get a good education and succeed in school is one of the most important things for his/her life.
- Tell your teen to make friends with those who are successful in school. Do your best to get your teen into a good school, because a healthy competition environment challenges the kid and help him/her to develop better. We all know this can be a difficult, but studies show that parents are the number one influence in their teen’s life. Even though they won’t admit it.
- Introduce some real role models to your kids, who fighting hard with difficulties and succeeded at last, gained people’s respect. Help him/her to learn that if we suffer a set back, we don’t give up. Instead, we try harder.
- Just like parenting, motivating your children is a life-long job. Keep investing your time, efforts to motivate your kids no matter how busy you are, because it is the most important investments in your life. Kids are our future!
If you have exhausted your local resources, your teen has reached a level that is not productive and they are going down a very negative path with their down-time, contact us for options that could help your teen and your family.