In a previous blog post, we highlighted 9 simple strategies to introduce at home.
These tips help create a stress-free environment for your teen to cope with online schooling.
If you’ve implemented all these steps, and your teen is still struggling or refusing to apply themselves, then you need to dig deeper and find out the WHY!
We discuss ways to identify the why and its importance.
1. Make time for them.
Put down your own devices and talk to your kids. Spend time with them, observe them, and ask them how they’re doing.
What is he feeling? What are his thoughts and fears? It’s super tough on teens to be isolated like this.
The best time to reconnect and chat with your teenager is when they are alongside you. This can be on a walk, in the car, or whilst doing the dishes.
When there are no distractions, and they don’t feel judged, they tend to open up a lot more about how they’re feeling.
2. Find out what they are struggling with?
Why won’t or can’t they do the work? As frustrating as they can be, we need to help them through what is an extremely difficult time.
Parents are struggling with working from home. Try to imagine what it’s like for your child. We’ve probably been in our job for a while, and know what is expected of us and what our job entails. Now imagine that every day you get asked to do someone else’s job at work. You have no idea how to do it, but you’re expected to learn a new skill every day.
This might be what our children are experiencing. They have to learn new information on different subjects every day. If they fall behind just a little bit, they can feel overwhelmed very quickly. For some children, this can be too much, and they shut down. Especially for children who usually do well. The fear of failure can stop them from even attempting a new task if they fear they won’t do well.
3. Talk to the teacher or counselor.
In the physical classroom, teachers can generally see when students are confused, or not focused. During online instruction, where they see many children in small blocks on screen, it’s not always possible to notice these signals. Inform their teacher that they are struggling. Perhaps they can take more notice of them in class. They could offer some extra lessons to catch up where they’ve fallen behind.
4. Help them with their work.
Sometimes the only thing that works is sitting down with them and helping them do their work.
It’s exhausting, and not always possible, but it works.
Continue to check in on their learning. Work out problems together or encourage them to read their assignments aloud. Working closely together can help you stay abreast of their progress.
5. Get a tutor.
If your teen is struggling and falling behind, a tutor can help. A good tutor can really dig into what works and doesn’t work for your child, and provide that much-needed individual attention. There comes a point where we are no longer able to help them with their math or biology homework. Don’t be afraid to call in reinforcements.
6. They might need to be tested for ADHD.
ADHD symptoms can include difficulty starting and completing tasks, restlessness when not engaged in an activity, rushed and messy work, and trouble following multistep directions.
Children with ADHD find it hard to regulate their impulses, their attention, and their emotions.
They struggle with time management and are often disorganized.
You can imagine that for teens with ADHD, online schooling is a minefield of distractions and disorganization.
Not starting or completing tasks is a clear sign that they’re not able to concentrate and focus.
7. Does he need to talk to a therapist?
Check how your child is doing emotionally.
Our children are missing their friends, miss being out of the house, and are fighting more with their siblings (and parents). Mental health is as important as physical health, especially in this age bracket.
They need to know we’re watching out for them. The teen years are very overwhelming. Depression and anxiety are on the increase in teenagers.
Have you spoken to his pediatrician with your concerns?
Have you spoken to his guidance counselor?
Finally, have you contacted a therapist?
8. Be strong for them.
Try to view his behavior through a different lens. Take a step back & offer love, understanding, & patience.
Remember that they too are dealing with the fear and uncertainty of this virus.
There’s the trauma of sick or dying family members, economic hardship and changes to the life they once had. As the pandemic drags on, it’s clear that not all kids are okay.
And this goes for parents too. We’re all struggling through this to varying degrees.
I often come back to this quote that I read when our child was 2 yrs old. “Try to remember that they might be giving you a hard time because they’re having a hard time.”
Work on keeping your family relationships safe. Don’t let COVID devastate your relationship with your teen.
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