Is Your Teen Suffering From Senioritis? How Parents Can Help

by drlazarus on April 4, 2013

Every spring, it’s the same story: Graduating seniors at high schools around the country come down with a case of “senioritis.” While it may not sound all that serious, senioritis poses enough of a problem to make universities sit up and take notice. In fact, a 2012 article in The New York Times notes that an increasing number of colleges are reviewing students’ grades during their final semesters — and some schools are even reducing financial aid availability, placing would-be students on academic probation or, worst case, rescinding admission offers if performance drops too much!

If your teen is displaying signs of senioritis, such as plummeting grades, laziness, a dismissive attitude, or missing days of school, it may be time to step in. Here’s how you can help.

Scheduling

Seniors typically have a lot going on, from dances and sporting events to studying and after-school jobs. All of these activities can be overwhelming, and a teen with senioritis may be tempted to just let their responsibilities slide.

Provide your teen with the tools to keep on track by helping them set up a scheduling system. Whether it’s a dayplanner, calendar or digital device, organizational tools will help reduce stress during senior year, and teach valuable skills for the years to come.

Performance Check

Though its best to try and refrain from nagging or yelling at your teen — most likely, it won’t help and it might even backfire — you’re still their parent and it’s your job to ensure that they’re still pulling their weight, academically speaking. Even if they’ve already gotten that college acceptance letter, academic performance still matters.

The study habits they develop now will carry over to college, and if they’re procrastinating, cutting corners and letting their grades drop, they’re much more likely to run into trouble during their freshman year. Remind your child that the strong skills and habits they’re developing this year will make a huge difference when they’re out on their own; have them think of the extra effort as an investment in their future success.

Talk to Them

The transitional stage between the end of high school and the start of college is fraught with uncertainty. On one hand, kids are excited to end their childhood, leave home, and go off into the world. On the other hand, they feel anxious about leaving their friends, families and the regular routines they’ve followed for years. These conflicting emotions of grief, loss and exhilaration may lead to distraction, lack of academic focus, restlessness, and a tendency to simply “let it slide.”

Help your child work through these feelings by talking to them. Let them know that what they’re experiencing is very normal. Most kids experience some sort of senioritis, and a bit of acting out is to be expected.

However, if your child’s behavior seems as if it’s veering out of control or you suspect substance abuse issues, depression or anxiety, it may be time to seek professional help.

Dr. Steven Lazarus is a licensed teen psychologist and child psychologist in Littleton, Colorado. He can help your family work through issues like senioritis together.

Sources:

http://www.nacacnet.org/studentinfo/articles/Pages/Senioritis.aspx http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/classroom-resources/four-strategies-teachers-      can-use-to-prevent-senioritis/

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/surviving-your-childs-adolescence/201301/finishing-high-school-and-senioritis-academic-letdown http://www.drmarlo.com/?page_id=837 http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/university-sends-fear-of-god-letter-to-students-with-senioritis/

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