Being a teen, I know how bothersome it is to constantly be lectured on the importance of studying. After a long school day filled with nothing but lectures, the last thing teens want to hear is another one from their parents. That’s why nagging is an ineffective method when dealing with teens and their study habits.
The one thing parents need to understand about student-parent communication when it comes to school, is that teens need more encouragement and less consequence. I’ve had many friends who have cracked under the pressure their parents place over getting perfect grades. Anything less than an “A” didn’t seem to be good enough for them. While I understand this comes out of a place of love, it can really be stressful and frustrating for the teenager who may be trying their best but whose grades don’t quite meet the 4.0 criteria.
Below are a few helpful alternatives that may lesson the pressures on your teen and encourage them to study.
1) Make a List
I know from experience that teens can be forgetful. What really helps me is writing things down. Encourage your teen to make a daily list of school subjects that need to be studied and make a check next to each one after they’re completed.
Constantly reminding your child of the negative aspects of their lack of studying can cause the opposite outcome to occur: less studying. Instead, try and focus on the positive. Remind them of a test they did well on as a result of studying. Above all else they need to know they have your support.
As teens grow older, they may feel the need to cut the metaphorical umbilical cord in more aspects of their life than one. This includes homework and studying. They may be afraid to ask for help or disturb your busy schedule. Let them know you’re here to lend a helping hand, but you will not study for them.
4) Create a Time Limit
Structure is very important in a teen’s life. Create a time limit of how long you feel your child should study by setting a timer. You might also want to try asking them how long they THINK they need for studying. They might want to shave off a few minutes here and there to avoid studying all together. But encourage them to set up realistic study times. This will allow them to gradually become more independent with their study habits.
You’re the parent after all. While your child needs support and encouragement they must also be aware of your expectations. Make sure they aren’t too demanding. For example, if a child isn’t the greatest at math, let them know you’re more than happy with their best. Remember that B’s and C’s are passing grades too! Even with hard work the outcome isn’t always an A. It’s not the end of the world as long as they’re working and studying hard!