Now your teen is starting summer school and already seeing the pattern that’s going to create more of the same, a total lack of motivation or responsibility.
We’re NOT doing this 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 not bluffing and they’re going to take it seriously too.
Hold on there, Sheriff. 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 but they were too far under mentally and emotionally to see the surface. Summer school is a reminder of how they failed your expectations and theirs.
Consequences won’t make your teen care.
Your teen has been coping; walking out the steps without strategies or coping techniques to deal with the rising waters of overwhelming emotions they only know how to numb or escape from. Their capacity to care about external performance has been dwarfed by their need for self-preservation.
Policing your teen and their assignments adds to their overwhelm and your outside voice of ‘shoulds’ amplifies their internal dialogue of ‘you suck’. It reinforces being a failure and they aren’t capable or smart enough to do it.
“But if I don’t stay on them, they won’t do it!”
What if they fail? Doesn’t that make you a bad parent?
No. Failing one class or even a full year 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 do your teen’s grades or performance say about you as a parent? What’s your story about failure?
Their grades don’t define your worth as a parent, or as a human.
I know it’s frustrating to watch them struggle below their potential when they don’t seem to be trying.
Encourage over motivate.
Your teen wants to know they matter for WHO they are, not just WHAT they do. They want to know you love them unconditionally and beyond any external measure of value like a percentage or letter. They want to know you love them in their mess and struggle.
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 to support them in their process, not policing, and adjust as necessary. i.e. ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Is there any other support you’d like?’
- 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. C’s get degrees!
- Promote activities that boost self-esteem and help them stay connected to key social networks for more balanced mental health for greater 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 they need to be different next year.
9. Build your teen up – Use these tips to help them build their self-confidence back up over time
10. Look for wins – Celebrate all the small things like looking over an assignment without starting it, opening the books, doing one question, focusing for small blocks of time (15-30min), asking for help, showing up to class WITHOUT the camera on, etc.
What if you didn’t need to nag, remind, or monitor your teen to get things done on time or when you ask the first time?
I’m offering a FREE webinar tomorrow, Wednesday, June 22nd, at 4:30pmPT/7:30pmET to share my 5 ways to get your teen to listen…the first time! A recording link will be provided if you can’t make it, but there’s a time sensitive bonus you won’t want to miss.