teen academic struggles
Image source: Flickr user- Tomash Devenishek

Being a teenager is just stressful. Their bodies are changing in ways they don’t yet understand and there’s soccer practice, midterms, marching band and everything in between constantly filling their weekdays and nights. For teens with anxiety, learning disabilities, mental disorders or emotional struggles, this time can be all the more stressful, eventually taking a toll on academics as well. Working through teen academic struggles can be challenging. However, as a parent, it is important to be a positive support structure for your teen. Help them to not only work through teen academic struggles but to understand why it is important as well. Utilizing these four steps can greatly aid in this process.

  1. Determine motivation. Why is it important for your teen to succeed academically, and what do you define success as? Every client is different; there is no “one size fits all” formula for academic success. For some, an A on a homework assignment is the highest accomplishment achievable. For others, receiving a B is the ultimate victory. Work with your teen to determine standards for success, according to their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Once these standards for success have been set, it is important to enforce them with a set of rewards and consequences in order to maintain achievable academic growth.
  2. Set goals. For many teenagers, it is often difficult to look outside their own personal bubble and understand the “bigger picture” of why they are asked to complete certain academic tasks. Why is graduating high school necessary to succeed in life? Why must they take classes in math, when they really want to be a musician? Work with your child to establish goals to work toward, as a way to incorporate academic success into their own ideals and values. These can range from short term goals, such as, “I am going to get passing grades in order to be considered for a sports team,” to more long term goals, like, “I am going to receive straight A’s in order to get into my dream college.”
  3. Establish daily structure and organization. Throughout the school day, teens follow an extremely regimented structure. Their day is divided into periods, with each hour of the day being designated for a different class, study hall, lunch period or sporting event. Therefore, even if a teen appears to be succeeding while in school, they may still be struggling academically if their home life lacks structure or organization. Work with your teen to establish specific times for homework, screen time, dinner and bed. Make sure your teen has the tools necessary to maintain organization themselves, such as binders, folders, notebooks and planners which they can transport to and from school. Set the example for your client by modeling smart planning, such as a calendar of family events you both can look at.
  4. Seek outside help. Even if you are doing everything in your power as a parent to encourage academic success, your teen may need support you simply cannot give. School counselors and therapists are often great starting points in this situation. Discuss the positive benefits of talk therapy with your teen, and let them know that counseling is a safe space for them to discuss their stresses and frustrations. Sessions such as this not only help teens articulate how they are feeling, but also give them the tools to manage their stress and process their feelings. Having your teen meet with a counselor or therapist does not replace your roll; it simply opens doors for them to build a relationship with another supportive, qualified adult. This is especially helpful for teens struggling with learning disabilities or mental disorders.  

It is easy for frustrations, anxiety and confusion to work their way into your teen’s academic growth. Work with your teen through teen academic struggles, and do not be afraid to seek outside help or resources along the way.

blueFire Wilderness can help

blueFire Wilderness can help your teen find success. For more information about our program, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today! 

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