Unfortunately, poor academic performance is too common in teens. There is more than one reason why teens may not perform well in school. Sometimes, children have actual learning disabilities and other times they are quite capable but choose not to do the work for some reason.
What can parents do?
Teens with learning disabilities need additional attention and resources in order to be academically successful. Often, they need individual attention/tutoring and they may need to progress at their own pace as they master new concepts. Most of the time, the public school system simply cannot deliver this kind of tailored academic experience. Students who have difficulty with spelling, reading and math skills often feel overwhelmed at the demands of the academic pace being set for them. This may cause embarrassment and a tendency to act out in an effort to hide their deficiencies. After all, they may feel it is better to be known as a rebel than to be known as “stupid”. Some teachers may offer additional resources for kids who are struggling or they may offer additional time on tests. However, parents of these teens may wish to enroll their children in supplemental academic programs or a private school that can help them learn new concepts effectively and become academically successful.
Many teens simply lack academic motivation. One of the most frustrating things a parent can face is dealing with a very smart and capable child who for whatever reason chooses not to perform well in school. Sometimes a lack of interest in school is simply the result of being over-stimulated in too many other areas to be bothered with studying. For instance, if we were going to get a paycheck either way, many adults would rather work on a favorite hobby than go to work for someone else wouldn’t we? Why then do we as parents give everything to our children without requiring them to earn anything? Why do we offer an Xbox 360 and television as an acceptable replacement for schoolwork? By offering alternatives to studying, we are at the very least contributing to the problem.
Children need a specific amount of time and preferably a specific time of day set aside to complete homework and study for tests. This creates important structure and enables kids to form good study habits. The location chosen for study should not offer alternative distractions like television and should preferably be quiet to enable concentration. Help your child learn to get organized with all the required materials before beginning their study time. Let your teen put in the required study time without your interference. Of course you want to help when they ask but it is also important to teach independence by letting them work on their own. Once your child has completed their studying, check the work they have done to verify they have put in an acceptable effort before they move on to more rewarding activities like television, video games and talking on the phone.
Try offering your child an incentive for reaching a realistic academic goal. This approach doesn’t work with all teens but it can be effective solution especially if there is an incremental payoff where the child is receiving the incentive in small doses as they make small improvements.
As always, there are times when a parent feels like they have tried everything they know to help their teen in their academic performance without success. There is hope in these situations. There are programs that are set up to deal with these special problems effectively. Seek the help of professionals who have extensive experience getting teens on the right track and earning good grades.
The following are just a few sites that offer good information and resources for parents.
- Ed.gov - Motivation
- FamilyEducation.com - Underachieving Teens
- KeepKidsHealthy.com - School Performance Problems
Please explore our website or call an admissions counselor at 866.694.8882 for additional information about how Wood Creek Academy can help your family.