When your teen isn’t doing well in school there can be many repercussions. There might be more fights between, your spouse, and your teen. There might be more arguments with teachers and school administration. There might even be concerns that your teen is involved in drugs or is suffering from a mental illness. And, your teen may feel the burden of everything going on around him because of his grades.
If you and your teen are ready to tackle the challenges of getting better grades, here are some suggestions to consider:
Understand the problem. If you’re receiving notes from school or if you’re concerned about your teen’s grades for other reasons, talk to your teen about it first. If he or she is hiding report cards or throwing away letter from teachers, then get in touch with the teachers themselves. Email or call the school to be clear about how your teen is doing academically. Find out which subjects he or she is passing and not passing. This will then provide you with the information you need to support your teen.
Find out whether an issue with peers is affecting your teen’s grades. Perhaps there is a bullying problem and that bully attends the same math class as your teen. So it’s not that your teen is not understanding the math concepts. It may be that fear is getting in the way his or her success. If it’s a social concern, seek support through administration at school, other parents, or friends of your teen who might have information about the social situations at school.
Find out whether it’s a mental health issue. Teens are vulnerable to mental illness because of the many changes they are going through. They might experience depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and/or ADHD. You can have your teen undergo psychological testing to determine whether there is a diagnosis to treat. If there is in fact a diagnosis, then this might be the cause of the poor academics your teen has been demonstrating lately.
Celebrate what’s going right. If you find out that the low grades are not the result of illness or peer issues, then it might be an academic one. Your teen may simply need more academic support. However, if this is the case, then celebrate what is going right before diving into the problems. Make a list of the classes and assignments in which your adolescent was successful. Having this as a spotlight first will make it easier to later address the problems.
Provide support in the classes that are not going well. Sometimes laying out the textbooks on the dining room table can kick start the homework and assignments that are due. Even if you don’t know the complexities of the subject matter, working through problems with your teen is more effective than simply telling them how to do it.
Set realistic goals with your teen. Once you and your teen are working together, it will be easier for your teen to commit to certain academic goals. Plus, if he or she knows that you will be there to provide help, that too will be helpful.
These are some suggestions to consider if your teen is struggling in school. When there are teen academic issues, many other areas of their life can turn upside down. With the right support, however, a teen can bring those grades back up and return to life as usual.