One of the most important indicators of a child’s success in school is how involved the parents are in their education. This does not necessarily mean that if you are not the PTCO president, volunteer 16 hours a week, and are the chairperson of all the fundraisers that your child will not be successful and get into the Ivy League. The involvement that is most important is what happens in the home.
As children get older (and the academic demands increase), they sometimes withdraw from learning and school entirely. They may be doing this because they are frustrated with the material being taught or other circumstances. The lessons can be too difficult, not challenging enough, or they have a crush that is sitting next to them in class and it is hard to concentrate. When your teen’s grades plummet, it is important to determine the cause and offer assistance any way you can.
There are some ways that you can prevent your teen from giving up on their education.
The battle cry of many a teen is, “When will I ever use this myself?!” It may be true that they do not need to conjugate Latin verbs on a daily basis, but if they see you reading, they will realize that educating the mind is a lifelong activity. Let your teen see you expanding your mind, and they will be able to see the far-reaching effects of education.
2. Encourage extra-curriculars
For some, success in school requires finding a niche. If your teen has a place that they feel appreciated and is able to associate with like-minded peers, they will be more engaged during the rest of the day. An added benefit to being involved with different activities and clubs is that your child will become more well-rounded as an individual.
3. Encourage independence
Your teenager is developing the skills that they will need as an adult. As such, your relationship changes and more “adult like” and meaningful conversations are possible. You can also help your teen develop self confidence as they make their own decisions. Showing them that you trust their judgment will build their confidence. When they come to you for advice, let them express their possible solutions and make a decision before you weigh in.
4. Go to the library
If your teen is not reading, make sure she has access to a variety of reading material of topics that she is interested. Sometimes all it takes to get the spark back into learning is being able to have some time for reading about a topic of her choosing.
Studies suggest that some teen girls quit trying and lose interest in school in order to be more attractive to the opposite sex. Some schools have separated the sexes during core classes and have found that girls do better academically in math and science classes if they are not with the boys. While you probably cannot persuade your school to do this, you can discuss this phenomenon with your teen and encourage her to try her hardest.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.