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Making the Grade: Teens and School Work

There is no topic more common among parents than how to help their teens succeed in school. We are ever fearful of helping too much, or too little.  Of being too demanding, or too lenient.  But like all things related to parenting, there are some tricks to doing the best we can.

The first thing you must determine in dealing with a teen who is having trouble in school is whether it is that he can't do the work, or that he won't.  The first step in making this determination is the old standby of grounding him until his work is done.  However, if he continues to bring home bad grades, it is time to talk with his teacher about special testing to make sure that there is not some sort of learning disability at work.

Assuming that your teen has been cleared of any indication of a learning deficiency, the next step is to arrange for him to receive any special assistance he needs to succeed. If you do not feel capable of helping him yourself, sign him up with a tutor that can help him understand the material better.  Most schools offer some sort of after school program free of charge.

Once the tutoring piece is in place, the final step is to implement consequences for failure to perform.  As much as possible, make the consequences daily and small rather than occasional and catastrophic.  For instance, insist on no game systems until you have checked to make sure he has completed his homework.  By encouraging day to day compliance, you make it more likely that he will succeed consistently when tested on material.

One other thing to consider is your teen's schedule.  Is he just too involved with non-academic pursuits to devote an appropriate amount of time to studying.  If so, you and he may have to make some hard choices about what is more important.

We'll teach you how to #LiveTo100!

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