How to Help Your Teen Struggling in School


Helping your child do better in school is among the most common parenting conundrums, and it’s a common topic on which parents seek advice.

But it’s even more difficult during your child’s high school years, when they’ve reached the tumult of adolescence and when communication with them seems more difficult than ever.

Still, where there’s a will, there’s a way – and while it’s sometimes difficult to get through to your teenager, there are several courses of action to take as you try to help your teen succeed academically. If you need an excellent tutor online ib physics tutor is highly recommended.

Recognise that punishment probably won’t help

Your knee-jerk reaction upon first looking at your teen’s less-than-satisfactory report card might be to dole out punishment.

It’s important to approach the problem more carefully, however.

For one, taking away privileges or confining your teen to their room for hours at a time to study and work on homework will only breed resentment – and will likely do nothing or make their performance even worse.

What’s more, it can also cause them to shut you out – and while your teenager might be performing poorly because they’re simply unmotivated, there are plenty of reasons why teens underperform academically, and communication is the key to finding out the cause.

Once you’ve taken that step back, you should…

Understand that they’re immature, but want adult treatment

Even if your teenager isn’t an adult, chances are they want to be treated more like an adult than like a 5-year-old.

Of course, you can’t completely treat them like an adult, because they’re also not as mature and responsible as you’d expect, say, a 30-year-old to be.

So what does this mean? It means you need a balanced approach.

It means you need to be helpful, not authoritarian.

Since your child is growing older, simply telling them what to do and doling out punishment when they fail to do so won’t be a good solution.

Instead, your teen needs to feel like they’re part of the solution, and yes, you might need to make compromises to agree on a strategy that works for everyone.

How do you get there?

Find out what motivates your child and set fair goals

Don’t just say “you need to get better grades, so you’ll do your homework for the rest of the night, every night.”

Instead, try to get to the root of the problem. Ask what subjects they’re struggling the most with. If they can identify specific concepts they’re not understanding, that’s already a great start.

And while punishment is out the window, it might help to reward your teen.

Both of you should agree on benchmarks – a level of achievement that’s acceptable, and a level that’s above and beyond, that you might reward them for.

As well, try to help them with whatever you can.

This isn’t to say you should directly help them with their homework, as that hinders their learning.

But they might need help with time management, for example – so you could help them work out a schedule, prioritise assignments and projects, and break down homework into manageable chunks.

Consult with teachers

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Another good resource to help your teen is their teacher, or teachers.

This means going to parent-teacher conferences when you can, but it’s also more than that – if your student is struggling, chances are their teachers will be willing to take extra time to help.

Suggest that your child stay after school to study and ask questions, or even ask the teacher to give you pointers on how to help out with particular subjects.

They may have even noticed which concepts your child is struggling with – information you can take and use to help them.

Consider hiring a tutor

While teachers are generally willing to help as much as they can, the truth is sometimes your teen might need more time and focused attention than their teacher can provide.

There are professional tutoring services, but plenty of other options exist as well. Ask your teen if they have a friend who does well in the subjects they’re struggling with, and if that friend might help.

As well, universities and community colleges also often offer tutoring services via their students.

Tutors can be pricey, but you should explore all of your options – and when neither you nor your teen’s teachers can do enough, their help can sometimes be necessary.

Always be ready to talk

Really, the bottom line is communication.

As mentioned, it could be that something extraneous is bothering your child, whether that’s social, mental, or emotional problems; or it could be that nothing you’re trying with them is to their liking.

It’s possible their teacher doesn’t use a style that works for your child, or that the tutor is uninvested or otherwise unhelpful.

But the only way you’ll find out is if your teen feels they can confide in you – so make sure they know that you’re always there to listen to them.


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