How Do I Get My Teenager More Interested in School?

Frustrated parents all over this country are at their wit’s end. Your teen is unmotivated and uninterested in doing well at school. You are not alone!

Inspiring teens to stay focused and achieve good grades can be an uphill battle. There are some tips and tricks that you can implement to help your teen be successful.

I’ll Never Need to Know This!

It hasn’t been that long since you graduated school. You probably studied a subject in school that you never use as an adult, like calculus.

When teens say things like, “I’ll never need to know how to do this anyway,” try explaining it to them in terms of long-term goals. If your teen wants to go to college, let them know that in order for them to go to any college, they are going to have pass the course. If they have lofty goals of being wealthy, let them know they are going to need to graduate in order to get a job.

Let Them Fail

Parents want to see their kids succeed in all walks of life. Sometimes the best thing you can do is allow them to fail.

In order to succeed in school, teens need to learn that time and effort is necessary. Fighting with your teen constantly over homework isn’t going to teach them how to succeed. Getting a poor grade on a test may embarrass them enough to motivate them for next time.

Schedule it Out

Talk to your teen’s teachers about how long they should be spending per evening on homework and studying. Write a schedule out for your teen with exact times on it. Schedule in break times. For example:

2:30 Biology
3:20 Break time
3:30 algebra
4:20 Break Time
4:30 Health Class
5:00 Dinner Break
6:00 English

The time allotted for each subject should include additional daily studying. If it only takes 30 minutes a night to finish their written biology homework, the rest of that time should be spent studying. Allot more time for subjects you know they struggle with.

Give Them a Quiet Place to Work

Trying to get school work done when it’s noisy and chaotic is difficult. If you have a teen who is struggling to stay focused, it’s impossible. Give your teen a quiet work area like a desk in their bedroom or the dining room table. Make sure the area is clutter-free. Ensure they have all the tools necessary to do their work before sitting down. Turn off all electronics like television and phones. Some quiet music may help keep them focused.

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Be Present

You’ve all been there. You just got home from a long day at work, you need to get dinner in the oven and get that load of laundry going. You’re tired and all you want to do is relax in front of the TV. Parenting is hard work, but good parenting means being involved every day with your teen’s school work.

Motivating teenagers who have trouble staying on task Can mean just sitting with them while they do their homework. If your teen sees that you’re right there with them, they’re less likely to be distracted and look for excuses to get up and lose focus.

Talk About Their Success

When your teen brings home a great test score, or grade on a project, it’s easy to simply say, “great job,” and leave it at that. If your teen often struggles with school work, set aside time to not only praise them for a job well done, but to talk to them about how they accomplished it.

Talking with your teen about what they may have done differently this time around to get a good grade reinforces positive behavior. This helps them to see that putting in extra time helped them achieve their goal.

Get Involved at School

Teens who have parents that are involved in their schools are more likely to get better grades. This could mean anything from helping out with a school fundraiser to volunteering at school. When your teen knows you understand what’s going on at school, they are less likely to slack off, or make excuses.

Never Make a Excuses for Your Teen

Your teen may have had a busy evening at home the night before school. Maybe their grandparents stopped by for a visit, or their younger sibling was acting up. Most school projects or tests have been in the works for quite awhile. If your teen procrastinated until the night before and then was unable to finish their school work, it is their fault.

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Making excuses for your teen’s failure to do what was expected of them is a bad idea. It only reinforces the notion that they are not responsible for their own success.

Communicate About Failures

Communicating with your teen about why they aren’t doing well is paramount. Finding out what subjects present a challenge to them will help you come up with ideas to motivate them.

Maybe your teen feels tired all the time and finds it hard to focus on schoolwork. Enforcing a stricter bedtime could be a solution that works. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Let’s Make a Deal

Your teenage son loves watching sports with you on the weekend. Make a deal with him to help motivate him. “The big game is on Sunday afternoon. If you finish your history paper by Saturday, we can watch it together.”

Many parents struggle with this. It can feel like you are punishing your teen if they fail to complete the task at hand. Keep in mind that by making a deal with them, you are leaving the outcome up to them. You’re not punishing them, they are punishing themselves.

Keep the tone of the deal positive. Instead of saying, “if you don’t get at least a B on that history test, I’m not taking you shopping tomorrow,” say something like, “if you get at least a B on your history test, we can go shopping tomorrow.”

Keeping the tone positive is more successful for teens, especially teens who are starting to challenge authority.

It can certainly be frustrating for parents of unmotivated teens. Try to keep in mind that you are not only trying to motivate them for this school year, but keep them motivated for success throughout their life. These tips and tricks can set teens up for success in work and college, when you won’t be there anymore.

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