Updated: Feb 16
Teen Not Interested In Schoolwork?
Help is here!!!
This article shows you 5 reasons why your teen is likely to procrastinate.
You also discover a simple practical process in the form of 3Rs that you can use (starting today) to correct the “procrastination behaviour”, prevent it from worsening into that awful habit that can ruin your teen’s educational attainment and damage their overall future prospects.
IN A HURRY?
How to Help Your Teen Stop Procrastinating on schoolwork.
For most kids especially those currently studying at home, schoolwork is possibly the last thing they want to do. Add to that the extra work they have to do after they come off those video meetings, and the teens just want to place that in furthest furthest back burner.
As parents, we all know that we cannot make anyone do anything they do not want to do. In fact, the worst thing you can do is use force to try to get actions. There are many negative outcomes of doing this, including blind obedience, resistance to learning and worst of all, that resentment directed towards the parent, which does not help build a healthy relationship with your teen.
The good news is parents of teens can approach this procrastination situation in a different and more productive way.
Here are the 3Rs of tackling Procrastination when your teen shuns schoolwork.
As always, here at Raising Remarkable Teenagers, we aim to provide correct knowledge, encourage parents to act on this knowledge and practice the strategies suggested, and with this practice comes confidence and competence which culminates in mastery.
You are about to understand why teens procrastinate and some factors that contribute to procrastination. Then learn a 3R process that can help you correct procrastination with your teenager.
Here are 5 reasons why your teen may be procrastinating on schoolwork.
1. Negative preconceptions about work or homework.
Example, if a teen already hates the subject, the teacher or anything that is connected with that subject they will be more inclined to procrastinate.
2. Catastrophising about how tough, boring, painful it will be to complete the task.
Example, if your teen has thoughts that this is going to be tough, boring and a painful experience, they are more likely to be aversive that dive in and do the work.
3. Lack of clarity and understanding.
Example, when your teen is not sure or clear of what is required, they may put off doing the work. It could be they actually do not understand what is expected of them.
4. Confusion about the importance of the work.
Example, many teens have reservations about how a certain subject or piece of work is of importance in their life. Unfortunately, many parents and even teachers are unable to give rationale behind the work that is required. This is one of the most demotivating situations I hear from mostly all the teens I come across. Being unable to see the reason why you are doing something can be very disempowering as many teens have told me.
One teen once put it so articulately to me, and what he said made me remember my days in high school. “It makes you feel like a puppet being used, pushed and pulled without own understanding, like you haven’t got a will of your own”.
5. Low perception of own ability, self –doubt and the worry about being judged for their abilities.
A kid may attach their self -worth to their ability and therefore reason, “if I never finish the task, you can never judge my ability.” Unfortunately, procrastination can lead to unfinished or substandard work which when evaluated is marked as lesser than, this then feeds back to them as not attaining a certain standard, this then confirms they are not good, which then feeds back to the initial belief that I am not good enough; -a self-defeating cycle.
An overview of factors that contribute to procrastination.
Ferrari, J (2001) proposes that cold, demanding parents can be the contributors of procrastination having propagated low esteem, self –doubt and the worry of being judged for their abilities. Steel,2007; Haycock,1993; Ferrari et al,1995 also state a lack of motivation, fear of failure, low energy levels, poor planning skills, perfectionism and lack of understanding the work, can all contribute to the procrastinating behaviour.
Is there any way to help correct the problem of teens’ procrastination? Many parents of teens ask me.
Assuming there are no neuropathological and learning difficulties, parents of teens and even younger kids can approach the procrastination situation using these 3 Rs.
Here is a 3R process that you can use to correct this issue of procrastination and avoid it becoming a habit. A habit that can affect your teen’s education outcomes and affect many other areas of their life.
Respond positively. When you notice this behaviour lean in and positively ask the right questions in the right way. For example
What is your plan on doing that work?
This way you are suggesting to them they have a plan, and you have no doubt they will do the work.
In this one sentence you show that you have faith in them and their ability to plan and you believe they will do the work. Teens are more likely to respond positively when we believe in them.
Now, regardless of the answer they give you, offer your availability to support emotionally and practically. Make it noticeably clear that you are available to support.
For example, you can say; “if there is something that is not clear or you don’t understand let me know and I’ll help so that you can quickly do it, get over and get on with other things.
Reframe the objections. Help them reframe the internal objections they have toward the work. Help them shift from catastrophising and thinking of the pain and the boredom they are possibly associating with the work, to thinking of the joy of doing it and sense of accomplishment that comes with that. Encourage the idea that Done is better than perfect!
Try and make the work meaningful and interesting. In cases where there is no rational meaning to the work, you can bring in a discussion such as the one I like to give to young people who resist doing certain basic and mandatory subjects. I give them the example of the air we breathe.
The only element of the air we breathe that is beneficial to us is oxygen, which comprises only 21% of that air. Now imagine if you decided I will not breathe this air unless it only comprises of oxygen. You know what might happen.
And that is when the kids go…oh well let’s just do it and get over with it then! The most important thing is to engage with them. Meet them where they are at and be ready to answer their curious questions. And If you don’t know, research together. Never pretend to know if you don’t because you just lose your credibility with them. They so see through pretense. However, they are empowered by our ability to be vulnerable and admit we don’t know everything.
Reassure and affirm your teen. Constantly provide emotional security, support, and assurance. Genuinely affirm and remind them that their self-worth is not hinged on doing well in schoolwork. Remind them of times they thought they could not do something but did. We know teens are more prepared to work and take chances when they feel emotionally safe, secure, and supported. Encourage chunking and doing it in sections and praise the process not just when they have finished.
Together with your teen, explore and agree a conducive and safe workspace for them to do their work.
Please note, they might surprise you by saying I am working on the kitchen floor. Instead of fighting them (because you think this is not conventional) just say, if you feel this is the most comfortable place to ignite your creativity, go for it.
I had a teen who did their work on the swings in the park. The result: A happy and mentally healthy kid and homework done. This is a kid who had not done any work for months.
Where did the transformation occur? I allowed her to work where she felt most comfortable. In the feeling heard and trusted, her inner confidence grew. She did more work than she had done the whole of the school year.
As parents, we have the power to influence our teenagers to take positive actions.
But to be of influence and therefore be able to effectively support them, we need to build strong bonds with them based on honesty and trust, so they actually want to listen to you.
If you would like to know how we can help you build strong bonds with your teen, go HERE and gain instant access to this free 75-minute training that shows you exactly How To Build Strong Bonds With Your Teenager Based on Honesty & Trust, So they actually want to listen to you.
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