How Parents Can Handle School Burn-out? [Advice Column]





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Can you talk a little bit about Senioritis and how parents can handle it with their kids? What they typically do right and wrong in these situations? Thanx!

So, maybe your child just got all of their letters back? They have until May 1st to make a decision, and some unfortunate souls might even have to wait until summer to hear back from waitlists. They do not want to study, they do not want to work and they are so. done. with. school.

Usually parents freak out when their kids start to experience senioritis…which they inevitably will–whether it starts in Junior year or two weeks before graduation. Yet, the onset of this strange malady seems to have trickled into younger students–I call it High School Burn-out.

Therefore, these tips are not only for my parents of seniors, but also for parents of Sophomores, Juniors and in-betweeners who are just burnt out.


(but usually done)

1) Tell your Kids to Just Push Through: “It is almost over, why risk getting bad grades when you have worked so hard, you are almost done, just push through!”

2) Punish and Yell: at kids for being lazy and acting out “You are not out of my house yet, and I still have control while you are living under my roof!”

3) Give Up On Your Kids: and become totally hands off because “they are leaving soon anyway, I wont be able to control them at college, at least they got into a good school, I am too tired to keep pushing them.”

4) Lock Down the Fort: Decide that “they are going to do their homework, they are going to get good grades and they are not having any fun until that happens!”


1) Acknowledge This Feeling: Tell them about this post, heck–show them this post and tell them this is normal, you totally get it and they should realize other people have the same thing!

2) Vent it Out and Explore: It is really helpful to figure out what exactly your kids feel burnt out about. Often times, it is not everything put together, but one particularly bad coach, bad class or hard test that pushes us over the edge and makes everything else work. Figure out what is bothering us and let us vent out frustration instead of freaking out that we are becoming lazy.

3) Let Us Be Lazy: Sit down and ask them what they need to do to recharge and say, you know what you deserve a day off, what do you want to do. Just having you acknowledge it and a mini-break can really help us get a new spin on it. It makes us feel heard so we do not have to act out to make sure you really understand how burnt-out we are.

4) Find the Essential: Lets be real here, not all homework is essential, not all activities and meetings are essential. Sit down with them and look at what they really need to do and what they can cut out to give them more time. If teens see parents getting flexible and open-minded, they will also be more relaxed and you are giving them tools to discern important from not instead of not doing anything at all.

5) Make a Plan: Realize what you need to be happy (minimum grades, minimum work) and what they need to be happy (time for friends, after school breaks, one weekend day off) and plan it out, make a schedule and stick to it, this can make teens feel calm and less burnt-out because they know they are getting built-in breaks.

Good luck!


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No Responses to “How Parents Can Handle School Burn-out? [Advice Column]”

  1. terry
    April 6, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Thanks for the insight and confirmation. My dd has this BAD. She got in to the college of her choice and has been in lots of extra activities and shes just DONE ! I’ve been letting her slack off and miss some days and what I feel bad about is the lying to the school because I have to call in all these absences with “sick” stories. Once I said we were visiting college campus’ which was not true. Any way you helped to make me feel better about allowing her to step back and chill some

  2. Vanessa
    April 7, 2008 at 3:58 pm #


    Sorry that she has been burnt out, it is totally totally normal. In fact just telling her you understand and finding something to help her relax will probably take a lot of pressure off, good luck!

  3. Paul
    September 11, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    But how should I solve being burned out? I ‘m skipping school right now actually, and I’ve been taking pot in unhealthy settings recently! And I’ve been so much absent from school that I risk not getting some of the grades! I seriously need help with this!

    PS: My dad stresses me badly about all this, and it’s been this way for a couple of years. Another thing to note is that I have a tendency to start working on way too many projects at the same time. Work, school, band practice, my girlfriend, making and experimenting with business ideas (I want to be an entrepreneur), I also like languages, and started learning japanese just for fun – something that I of course had to give up, with my schedule.

    Hope you can help me improve my situation, and givesome tips! Cause I really need it at the moment!


  4. Vanessa
    September 12, 2008 at 10:09 am #


    There are a few things I did when I hit my burn-out lows:

    1. Get out of you immediate physical surroundings for a few hours at least. Can you drive to a nearby town and have lunch? Go to a new park across town and play sports. Sometimes just getting out of your same old same old place can really help re-energize.

    2. Do something that gives you adrenaline. Studies have shown that adrenaline can really reset your mind and body. Go to a theme park and ride a roller coaster, rock climb at a local gym etc.

    3. VENT I have people on my speeddial who i will call and say I need to vent, I hate school I hate work and at the end of it I usually felt better.

    4. only do the essential. if you are skipping school, to make sure you pass make a list of the absolute eessential things–maybe skip reading and homework but be sure to get the paper in?

    Good luck!

  5. Paul
    September 12, 2008 at 4:34 pm #

    Thanks! I like your ideas! :) I’ll try them whenever I get the chance.


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