Parents usually think teens are just being lazy when they have bad grades. And for some kids, that could be true. But many teens aren’t lazy; they just need to learn how to study or organize properly to be successful in school.
Others teens have ADHD and other mental health struggles they cope with. Parents can help by making their teens accountable, which often starts with setting boundaries and expectations.
Follow along as Help Your Teen Now gives you six easy ways to help improve your teen’s grades.
1. Establish a routine
It’s crucial to establish a homework routine. This includes setting a consistent time for your teen to sit and complete their homework each day. This should be in a quiet area with minimal distractions.
Phones are put away. Be sure to explain to your teen that they can check their phones or take a break every 15 minutes of work. Encourage them to get up and walk around and stretch.
1. Set a Date
Personal accountability is essential as teens grow and take on more responsibility. Set a time for your teen to show you their grades on the student portal. If your school division doesn’t keep digital grades, have your teen request updated grades from teachers and share that information with you weekly.
This is the accountability piece. Trust that your teen is being honest, but always follow through. If your teen knows you will follow up they will be more motivated to be open about their grades.
If your teen refuses to keep you informed, be sure to have consequences in place. When your teen chooses to do the right thing, be positive even if the grades aren’t up to your standards. For example, thank them for being responsible and showing their grades. Ask them to point out missing assignments.
Have them create their own action plan for making up the missing work that includes daily check-ins with you. Positive praise is powerful. Invest in it.
2. Set goals
Sit down with your teen and set goals for completing classwork and homework. Some teens are intrinsically motivated and will keep up with their grades, whereas others might need some outside reward to help them follow through.
Make sure your teen’s goals are attainable and specific. For example, a goal may look something like this: I will create a daily reminder on my phone to ensure I turn in my homework by 4:00.
3. Change the way you ask the homework question
It’s easy to ask your teen, “Do you have any homework?” Inevitably, they will say no. If you ask what homework they have and they say they don’t have any, they may not be lying. Indeed, maybe wasn’t homework assigned, but the teacher stated that work they didn’t finish in the class needed to be completed by the next class.
Instead, ask what work from school do you still need to finish. This helps your teen think about work that wasn’t finished in class that still needs to be completed.
4. Proactive Support
Be supportive of your teen. If they are failing, it may be more than a lack of interest in school. It could be anxiety or depression. It could be ADD/ADHD. If your child is neuro-divergent, this could significantly affect how they perform at school. They often need their lessons in smaller chunks and require frequent reminders to stay on task. If you suspect your teen has anxiety or depression, please talk to your health provider.
5. Organization is key
Organization is a very challenging skill to master. Some teens seem to come by it naturally, while others struggle. Disorganization might also be a sign of neuro-divergence. There are a few tricks to help your teen. First, ask them how they feel about their organization.
Go to the office supply store and discuss the different options. Delve into how they think they might get better organized. Binders, envelopes, and file folders could help. There are also backpacks and briefcases that can help keep your teen better organized.
Good habits take practice and consistency! Practice using a digital calendar or paper planner. Teaching your teen how to write down school work, accomplishments, and goals will help them visually see their progress. They will be able to check off their to-do list with pride. Be sure to practice checking it every day.
Set a time each week to re-organize materials. If your teen isn’t naturally organized, he will need time to review and manage materials. This is another great habit that needs to be built over time.
6. Set Rewards
Rewards for positive behavior are far better than negative punishments. Perhaps you can reward your child with one hour of screen time for every three assignments they complete and turn in on time.
Be sure to get your teen’s input on the reward system that motivates them. Don’t assume what you like is what they would like.
Use punishment as a last resort. And it’s best to use a punishment your child has helped create for themself. Before punishing your child, make sure you are both clear on what boundaries they crossed and the exact nature of their punishment. Confusion will lead to resentment and lack of motivation.
What To Do When You’ve Tried Everything
It can be frustrating to support your teen. They are trying to be more independent and will try to push you away. Yet, you can’t stand to see them fail. Your relationship seems to be falling apart, and all you do is end up fighting with each other.
Some teens need more intensive intervention at a residential treatment center for teens. Your teen must get the help they need to get back on track for a successful future.
Contact us today with any questions or concerns you have if your teen is failing school. See how we can get you the support and help to get your teen back on track to success.