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As a parent, I’m sure you know your child’s potential for academic performance pretty well. That’s perhaps why it is so incredibly disappointing when a young person does not perform at the level he or she is capable of. There are many reasons for uncharacteristically low academic performance. Poor grades can be a reflection of stress, boredom or emotional turmoil. Often, teens self-sabotage when it comes to academic study, and it may not always be on purpose.
There are so many distractions in the world today. In addition to sports and club activities, social media can eat up a good amount of time. The recent upsurge in binge-watching shows can also be a problem. Students plan to get started on a project after one episode and end up watching five more. Plus, smartphones provide a constant source of distraction when used improperly. The more they put things off, the less work they can do. If students do not give themselves enough time to produce quality work, their academic performance will suffer.
Partying Too Hard
Excessive partying has long been an issue at the college level and even high school level when it comes to teens self-sabotage. Increasingly, high school students are getting together around drugs and alcohol. Alcohol vendors and other adults can get in serious trouble for selling alcohol to a minor. Yet, students are still finding ways to get alcoholic beverages. Long parties mean late nights and late mornings. Students recovering from a night of drinking are often significantly less productive the next day. A whole weekend can go by without the student doing any significant work.
And let’s not forget that long parties and hangovers tend to go hand-in-hand with missed or reduced quality sleep. Poor sleep hygiene is one of the most basic ways that teens self-sabotage and it not only leads to reduced memory, and cognitive functioning, but also slow reflexes and poor judgment, which are a danger when teens get behind the wheel.
Failing to Get Help When Needed
Teens are at an age where they long to be independent and are perhaps struggling to assert their independence and individuality. This can make it difficult for them to ask for help when they need it. For students who have always done well in school, taking an AP class or an advanced math class like calculus may challenge them beyond what they are used to.
They may know that they are struggling, but they are too proud to ask for help. It is hard for them to understand that the adults around them are not criticizing them but want to help them succeed. The guidance counseling office at their school can give them advice about how to study or connect them with a tutor who can show them the concepts in different ways.
The teenage years have the potential to become a time of change and struggle. The latter years of high school in particular are meant to prepare students for their next steps in the world, challenging them to think in new directions. Although teens want their independence, it is important that they receive the skills they need to succeed.
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