As if this past school year wasn’t enough, now you’re dealing with summer school. UGH!
In spite of your best efforts to get your teen up, completing and handing in assignments, they failed a course (or two). It’s like they got lazy, gave up and stopped trying.
This WILL NOT happen again!
You’ve laid down the law so your teen understands this isn’t a joke or dress rehearsal. You’ve limited or removed all technology time, no sleepovers, limited EVERYTHING so they understand you’re serious and they’re going to take it seriously too.
Hold on there, Sherriff. Stand down.
When their self-esteem is already in their boots, those consequences feel like punishment, shame and isolation. Your teen hates the thought of summer school as much as you do! They didn’t try to fail anything and would much rather have passed. Summer school is a lasting reminder of how they failed your expectations and theirs.
Your teen was coping with such significant and sudden changes that didn’t give them time to adjust or work with their learning style. They got in over their heads and had no strategies or coping techniques to pull the brakes on that runaway train they felt trapped in. Your teen never stopped caring.
Policing your teen and their assignments isn’t supporting their independence and responsibility. It reinforces being a failure and they aren’t capable or smart enough to do it.
Have you ever tried getting out of a tough situation when that’s how you’re feeling about yourself?
But what if they fail again?
“But if I don’t stay on them, they won’t do it!”
Maybe. Failing one class isn’t going to ruin their life and have them living under a bridge or in a van down by the river. Many very successful people didn’t even finish school.
What might your teen’s grades or performance say about you as a parent? What’s your story about failure?
I know you love your teen and you want the best for them. You believe in them and find it frustrating to watch them struggle when they don’t seem to be trying. This is hard and you’re doing everything you know how to help.
Encourage over motivate.
Your teen wants to know they matter as much to you as their grades. They’re struggling to stay afloat and what they want is to know you love them unconditionally and beyond any external measure of value like a percentage or letter.
Your teen desperately needs encouragement, not micromanagement.
Here’s 10 strategies to conquer summer school with your teen.
- Create and agree to a consistent schedule that works for them (let your teen decide, don’t tell them), i.e., how many hours each day and when.
- Set small goals for each day and celebrate baby steps of progress, not grades.
- Create a frequency agreement for check in’s with your teen coming from a place of supporting them in their process, not policing. i.e. ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Is there any other support you’d like?’ Support your teen to adjust as necessary.
- Offer empathy on hard days i.e., ‘I know this is hard, and you’d rather be doing other things. This has been a tough year and online learning isn’t your jam.’
- Focus on finishing – When you’re running on empty, the only thing that feels better is getting the monkey off your back so you can breathe a little.
- Promote activities that boost self-esteem and help them stay connected to key social networks for more balanced mental health, so they have more focus and stamina in summer school.
- Create a reasonable reward for finishing – Let your teen choose something meaningful to them which activates the powerful reward centre in their brains (nothing expensive or over the top).
- When summer school is over, let it go. Don’t bring it up for the rest of the summer as a teaching point or reminder of how next year will be different.
- Build your teen up – Use these tips to help them build their self-confidence back up over time.
- Mine for wins – Just before school begins this fall, start conversations about how you can support your teen; what habits and homework schedules worked? Ask the questions without judgement or attachment to the answers. The purpose is to encourage your teen, not monitor them.
Are you feeling exhausted and hopeless despite reading all the books, listening to podcasts, and even taking programs?
You’re trying to implement the tools and skills the experts are sharing (even what your friends and family say you should be doing 🙄 ) to create a better relationship with your teen, yet things just feel hard and you’re starting to wonder if you’re missing something. If you’re craving more personal support to get the specific answers you need to turn your relationship with your teen around, you’re in the right place.