It can often surprise some parents when they find out that their teens are failing school. Teens can be reluctant to share information about what they are struggling with until they have no other choice.
Is your teen struggling at school? Have you found yourself engaged in arguments with your teen about their performance at school? It can certainly be frustrating to try and deal with a teen who seems to no longer care and may appear to have mentally and emotionally checked out.
Before you get too frustrated and say things that you don’t mean, failing grades today does not necessarily translate to a failed school year and your teen not graduating on time.
Tips to help parents and teens
We’ve assembled a list of helpful tips that may help get your teen back on track.
1. Failing doesn’t happen overnight. Get to the source of the issue.
2. Speak to your teen’s school counselor, teachers, and other educators.
3. Create and maintain a studying schedule at home, which minimizes distractions.
4. Get your teen additional help with schoolwork he is struggling with.
5. Don’t accuse your teen of outright lying, but have a healthy dose of skepticism.
6. Traditional school versus alternatives for teens.
7. Consider the right time to get your teen additional help.
This list is a great way to find the best way to help your teen get his education back on track. It is not a complete list, as there are many other options available to both parents and their struggling teens.
Exploring the options on this list can help you determine what may and may not work for your teen as an individual and your family.
Failing doesn’t happen overnight–Get to the source of the issue
While it may feel like your teen’s struggles came out of nowhere, in truth, it has been accelerating for some time. Do you know when it may have started? You’ll be able to pinpoint when your teen’s struggles began. Perhaps a major life change or traumatic event. If this is the situation you’re facing, it can be a smoother process to get your teen the right help.
On the other hand, if you’re still left somewhat confused, it will potentially be more of a rocky road to get your teen headed in the right direction again. Getting to the actual source of the issue is essential to getting him the help he needs.
Speak to your teen’s school counselor, teachers, and other educators
As much as we want to believe that we know our children better than anyone else, it could be that the other influential adults in their lives have a better insight into the things they are struggling with. Reach out to your teen’s school counselor and teachers to find out if they have an idea of what your teen is struggling with.
They may also be able to provide a path to help your teen get his education back on track, whether through extra credit assignments or perhaps summer school.
Create and maintain a studying schedule at home, one that minimizes distractions
With busy lives and commitments that have us all over the place, it can be easy to forget that some teens need a schedule and a distraction-free zone to focus on their studies.
- Work with your teen to create a realistic schedule that can help to keep him on task.
- Be sure to allow for breaks and opportunities to stretch his legs. His attention can wander if he starts to feel too fidgety.
- Make sure you’re available to help him stay on task or work through his assignments if he gets stuck.
- Keep siblings and other household members away from his studying space so he can better focus.
- Ensure that all gadgets are kept out of his studying space.
It can take some time for everyone to adjust to new routines. Stay the course and be patient with your teen when he struggles with the new structure.
Get your teen additional help with schoolwork
Offering to help your teen with his schoolwork is an integral part of allowing him to get back on track. However, you’re sure to get to a point where you simply can’t provide the correct type of help he needs. Speak to his school guidance counselor and his teachers to find out more about options for tutoring and additional resources that can help him get back on track.
Many free online options can help teens struggling with their schoolwork. Ask the school for online options they endorse.
Don’t accuse your teen of outright lying, but also have a healthy dose of skepticism
When the trust between parent and child has been broken, it can be challenging to restore. If your teen has lied to you or misled you in the past, it may be a challenge to find a way to trust him when he tells you he’s on track with his schoolwork.
When you chat with him about school and his workload, remind your teen that you aren’t going to be upset with him if he’s still having a hard time. Try to encourage him to be as open and honest as he feels he needs to be. Still, keep a healthy dose of skepticism because he may be untruthful again if he has a history of it.
Traditional school versus alternatives for teens
Traditional public schools work well for the vast majority of teens. However, for some teens, there are better options that can help them stay on track with their education. There are several alternative education options for struggling teens who may be in crisis.
One of the primary benefits of an alternative school, or a motivational school, is to allow your teen a fresh start in a brand-new environment. The class sizes may be smaller, and your teen may be able to get that increased time he needs with his teachers.
Often, teens need more help than simply getting caught up on their schoolwork. They need help identifying and addressing the underlying concerns they are struggling with, whether this includes depression, anxiety, ADHD, or something else entirely. A therapeutic boarding school can also allow your teen to work through some of the other struggles he is facing.
Focusing on each issue at hand can give your teen the fresh start he needs to get his education back on track.
Considering the right time to get your teen additional help
It can be challenging to decide to get your teen the help he needs. In an ideal world, he’d communicate his concerns and struggles with you long before they escalate into a situation where he is failing school. In reality, the moment you find out that your teen is struggling is likely going to be when you need to consider getting him the correct type of help.
Knowing the type of help he needs is key to getting his education and life back on course. At Help Your Teen Now, we can connect families with the resources they need to get teens the help they need in all aspects of their lives.