What’s worse? The more effort you make to motivate them the less they and now they’re at risk of failing a class or even the whole year. What happened to your teen who was engaged in school, responsible for their work and attendance?
Your teen isn’t lazy and didn’t become apathetic overnight. Motivation comes from an intellectual decision (not emotional) to act, then the brain feels positive feedback (hormones), sees the impact and chooses more of that action. It’s scientifically proven. Your motivation, even if well-intended, sounds like nagging and reminds them of what they already know; they’re struggling and not meeting your expectations, or they’re own
Not for all teens are suited for online learning.
There are 4 core personality styles and 5 preferred learning modalities (see below) at play that impact your teens academic results. These AREN’T a reflection of their cognitive abilities or intelligence! Anyone forced to learn in an environment they aren’t suited to is set up to struggle and even fail.
Auditory – Can you follow information delivered to you via audio recordings or do you need visual cues to go along with it? If you are an auditory learner, downloading podcasts or listening to audiobooks will work best for you.
Visual – Do you need visual support for your learning? Visual learners do best with instructional videos or in-person events where the learning messages are accompanied by a strong visual presentation.
Kinesthetic – Do you need to get hands-on with the learning topic? Kinesthetic learners do best when learning is combined with physical movement or activity. They need to be right there IN the experience to really absorb the information.
Collaborative/Relational – Do you need to interact and work it out within a group? Collaborative styles value the back-and-forth dialogue that accompanies the learning so they need to learn in an environment where they can share their experiences.
Solitary – Do you need quiet alone time to focus on the learning topic? Solitary learners process through reading and writing and appreciate well laid out information.
But what if my teen fails?
They might. That ISN’T a reflection of you as a parent, or person! Your teen can either fail feeling like a failure, internalizing they ARE a failure with no confidence and worst of all, they failed you. Or your teen can fail knowing this school year doesn’t define them (nor has it ever), their worth has NOTHING to do with a grade or number and you love them in their struggle and in their success.
So what do I do now?
It starts with you and your mindset.
- Check your expectations – Are you connecting your success as a parent to your teen’s grades? It may have been a strong message you were raised with and didn’t realize that story is running in the background.
- Prioritize your teen’s mental health – If your teen is struggling with their schooling situation this year, or even just the social impact of a pandemic, nothing matters more than taking care of their mental health.
I personally understand the struggle of driving for straight A’s yet carrying the emotional pain and shame of never measuring up.
Here’s 5 ways to support your teen.
- Ask them how they’re doing often and listen. No response or fixing required (because you can’t fix a pandemic). If you’re not sure what to say, use my magic 3 words – tell me more.
- Set small daily goals (they decide these measures, not you) to help them to feel good about themselves. This might be one paragraph of an essay or 2 of 10 math questions. Think tiny, baby steps, and celebrate every single one!
- Encourage them to pursue what they love – cooking, dance, playing an instrument, singing, crafts, online fitness competition, etc. Support your teen to find something away from a screen that sparks joy (YouTube may be required however).
- Sleep habits – The teenage brain is changing fast and is highly susceptible to lack of sleep. Even with a new circadian rhythm wanting them to stay up later, being on technology until all hours of the night will sabotage their success.
- Healthy eating – As a parent of a very picky eater, this one is tough! However, processed sugar/food/drinks are addictive mess with happy hormones in the brain. Providing good quality food your teen will eat (just do the best you can) saves you both from a moody, angry or defiant teen in withdrawal who can’t focus.
I want to help you connect with your teen even more so… I’m talking my 5 Day ChallengeLIVE starting. I’ll be walking you through simple tools each day and answers your questions, even if you’ve already taken the challenge on your own.
For more tips like my 3 pillars for creating an honest, connected relationship that lasts a lifetime, WITHOUT having to be a perfect parent. Click the link below to join.