Because hindsight is 20/20, it's easy for you to see that school is of the utmost importance. You understand that your daughter’s school performance today can have a major impact on her future from the colleges that accept her to the career path she chooses. Not caring about her schoolwork or grades in the present can mean no medical school for a teen who dreams of caring for sick kids, or no law school for the teen who wants to stand at the front of a courtroom and send criminals to jail. What's essential is to help your teen understand that a poor attitude about school can affect her life.
Explain to your teen that it all counts -- and it all matters. Try to make it clear to her that doing poorly in school can affect her future. However, if she turns a deaf ear, don't yell or get too preachy. Rest assured that she heard you loud and clear. You don't want to turn her off completely.
Provide emotional support for your teen. Build up your teen's self-esteem by telling her that you know she can do well in school. When you see even a small improvement in her grades or schoolwork, let her know that you're proud of her, but continue to encourage her to do better.
Learn what your daughter does care about and use those things to your advantage, advises James Lehman M.S.W., writing for Empowering Parents. If your teen's attitude toward school doesn't improve with encouragement, it might take a little creative motivation to get your teenage daughter to realize that she needs to start caring about school. For example, if she spends all her time on her cell phone or on the Internet interacting with her friends through social media, take her phone or computer away. Let her know that once she starts applying herself at school and gets good grades, she can have those things back. Losing her favorite things might motivate her to work harder.
Help your daughter by providing her with an effective workspace to do her homework. According to the Family Education website, sometimes it’s better to stay out of your daughter’s issues directly and offer her your support in an indirect way. Provide her with all the materials and supplies she needs to complete her homework free from distraction -- and require that she keep working on her homework until she completes it.
Let your daughter learn how to develop self-discipline and apply herself at school by sitting back and letting her suffer the natural consequences of her lack of care, advises Iowa State University. For example, schools often require that teens maintain a minimum grade point average to participate in certain activities including sports, clubs and even some field trips. If your daughter’s lack of care causes her to let her grades slip, don’t try to help her get extra credit or work on her assignments for her; let her suffer the natural consequences of bad grades and all that comes with bad grades. Once she experiences what it’s like to be placed on probation from her favorite team because of her grades, she might learn to develop the necessary discipline to care about school so that she doesn’t have to deal with the natural consequences again.
Tips & Warnings
- If you suspect your teen doesn't understand the schoolwork, you might want to suggest a tutor.
- If your teen continues to be an underachiever despite your efforts, you should seek professional help to determine if there's a psychological cause for her underachieving.
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