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Encourage Good Study Habits in Your Teenager

Jan 11, 2008
Teenagers fall mainly into two categories when it comes to school. Those who are focused and have a plan that includes good grades and college, and those who think it's all a waste of time and are counting off the days until they're free of classes for good.

If your teen is motivated that's great, but if you're feeling like it's an uphill struggle getting your teenager out of bed and into class every day, there are a few things you can try to encourage them to have a better study ethic.

The first is to take a stand with their teachers. Talk to the teacher and see what work your child should be covering. If you know what it is, you have more idea about what they should be doing. The fact that you are "siding" with the teacher isn't going to go down well at first, so be prepared for some confrontation issues, but once your teen realizes that this is going to be how it is, then you should see some sort of improvement in their study habits.

Talk to your teen about their school work. Is there anything that they need, or would like, that would make their study easier and/or more enjoyable? Do they have any problems with their schoolwork that makes study harder? Is there an issue with their teachers that you don't know about? What about their peers?

Do you understand the principles being discussed in your teen's coursework? If so, can you talk them through it? If not, then see if you can ask the teacher for some notes so you can get up to speed to help your child. Most teachers will welcome this as it will help pull up their overall student grades.

Discussion is a great way to make difficult principles clearer because you are able to bring it to a level that your child will understand. Often in a classroom environment, the teacher doesn't have time to ensure that each student fully understands the work, and this leads to confusion when the student doesn't understand and so is therefore unmotivated to do the work at home.

Consider motivation rewards/penalties. Some teens are motivated by the thought having privileges increased with the thought of getting a special item they're wanting, or an increased curfew for a special night out, whilst others are more motivated by privileges such as computer/TV time being restricted until homework complete. You know your child best, but you may need to try both ways to see which works the fastest!

It may seem like you're being tough on your teen making them do coursework that even you may find tedious and unnecessary, but unfortunately if you want your child to be able to compete for jobs with others their age when they graduate from school they have to jump through the educational hoops.

Hopefully if you can support them with their study habits at home, it will reflect in their class work. Who knows, with you taking a more active role in their homework, they may even find they enjoy it more!
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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