Help Your Teen Overcome Procrastination

Help your teen put an end to procrastination.
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Whether you're teen has been staring at a blank computer screen for hours without typing a single sentence, or he keeps saying he'll do his chores 'later,' procrastination is a common problem most teens face.

Often parents use rewards or punishment as a way to motivate teens to get their work done. But these strategies don't always fix the problem. Sometimes, there are underlying reasons for procrastination that need to be addressed.


Here are the most effective ways you can help your teen stop procrastinating:

​Make Your Expectations Clear

When a task is not clearly laid out, your teen may procrastinate because he's not sure what to do. Whether you've told your teen to clean his room or you're talking about his science fair project, outline your expectations.

Then, ask your teen if he understands. If not, explain it again or in more detail. If he says he understands, ask him to explain it back to you. Then, you can clarify any confusion. 

Help Your Teen Find What Motivates Him

Motivation comes easily when doing something is important to the person doing it. If your teen's teacher hasn't motivated the class about their latest algebra assignment, your teen might need another incentive to do his homework.

Let your teen earn privileges for being responsible. Use 'Grandma's Rule of Discipline' to let him earn electronics time or an opportunity to visit friends once he gets his work done.

Then, leave it up to him to manage his time.  

Encourage Your Teen to Get Extra Help

Avoidance can be a problem when your teen doesn't know how to do something. Trying to do his physics work, when he doesn't understand the concepts, might be too anxiety-provoking to tackle. So he might prefer to procrastinate his assignment.

If you can't help your teen, talk to him about how he can get help for himself. Talking to the teacher, staying after school, or attending a study group might be the best options for him.

But sometimes, teens need help problem-solving. Otherwise, they'll avoid the problem, which can cause it to grow bigger and even scarier to tackle.

Help Your Teen Set Goals

Talk to your teen about establishing short-term and long-term goals. If your teen has plans to make the honor roll and he eventually wants to get into college, he'll be more motivated to do his homework. 

Talk about establishing financial goals, health-related goals, academic goals, and social goals. When your teen feels inspired and passionate about something, he'll be less willing to waste time.

Prevent Problems When You Can

Problems like perfectionism and anxiety can cause a teen to become stressed and procrastinate. Remind your teen that he doesn't have to be perfect. Keep the focus on his efforts, not the outcome.

Praise him for trying hard or for studying for a long time, instead of for getting an A. Then, he'll put less pressure on himself to be perfect all the time.

Admit Your Tendency to Procrastinate

While it's important to be a good role model, everyone procrastinates at one time or another.

Admit to your teen that you sometimes put off things until later too.

Whether you don't do your taxes until the day that they're due or you put off buying gifts until the very last second, acknowledge to your teen that you procrastinate. Talk about the problems it causes in your life and how you can address the issue before it becomes an even bigger issue. 

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