Hello future teen expert,
Understanding your teens mood can help you understand their academic success or lack thereof. We
often overlook how mood impacts their behavior. This is related to happy moods and sad moods. Generally, when we are happy we achieve more and do work well. When we are sad, we may find ourselves not wanting to do work at all. This also applies to your teen. Probably more so with them than with adults. As adults, there has been more time to learn how to navigate feelings of sadness and still execute. This is a skill teenagers are still learning. Most teenagers do not know their is a way to not wear their emotions on their sleeve. Blame their limbic system.
I am all about teen success and healthy relationships, so I am going to outline how to help your teen navigate their mood and academics.
Understand your teens academic baseline
It is always going to be important to understand where your child performs academically. If your teen is typically a B student and they are still obtaining B’s, there may not be a huge issue. However, if your teen is an A student and grades drop to a C or D average, then you know something is impacting their ability to function at their typical level. Having a true understanding of your teen will help you realize what interventions will be useful. Similarly, pushing your child too hard can make their grades drop as well. I know you hope the push will increase the grades. In some cases it will and in others your teen may feel they are inadequate in your eyes causing them to work below their norm.
Ask them what they think
This may seem simple, however, it is necessary to do. Ask your teen how do they feel about school. Ask if they feel the work is challenging or not challenging enough. Check in about the frequency of homework, how it is graded and the different teaching styles of their teachers. These questions will give you insight about how your teen thinks which will put you in a great position to help them through any challenges they are facing or will face.
Be understanding during tough times
If you know there is something drastic occurring in your teens life, be mindful of that. Help them acknowledge what is happening for them and give them space to react. Help them identify how much space or support they may need and set a goal to get back on track. From there, guide them and provide reminders of the goal they set for themselves. Tough times is defined by your teen in this case. What we see as tough versus what a teen sees can be different. Yes, breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend of 3 weeks is a tough time or a new pimple the week of a party. Don't belittle, be encouraging.
Check in with their teachers
I know teenage years trick us to think teens are more responsible or opinionated, yet, they still struggle navigating their spaces. As the parent, it is totally acceptable to check in with the teacher to see what your teens mood is like in school. The teacher may also give you more insight into what is happening with your teen.
Create a nice work environment for them that is inviting and motivating. You can DIY and paint their desk together. You can take a trip to Marshall's with a budget for motivational art and cool stationary. This also doubles as ways to spend time with your teen. Extra bonus, your teen may thrive better outside of the home. Setting up some time to head to a coffee shop could beneficial for them to get work done. With some responsibility and trust, they may be able to go without you. Give it a try.
Remember, your teens success includes your guidance and support as much as it requires them to be engaged in their own lives. Your teen needs you whether they actually say or show it. The trick is to know when to jump in and when to sit back. These tips are a basic guide on how to navigate academics when mood has shifted.
Let me know what you think. You can also join the parent only FB group (Parenting with purpose FB group .)
With Love from your favorite teen therapist,