7 Parenting Mistakes that Can Sabotage Your Teen's Academic Success

Get involved in your teen's education.
Caiaimage/Tom Merton / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Ultimately, you can't control whether your teen is a star student or not. But, you can take steps to support your teen’s educational efforts.

On the other hand, there are also several ways you may inadvertently interfere with your teen’s education. Making any of these seven mistakes could backfire, and decrease your teen’s chances of academic success:

1. Not Establishing Appropriate Expectations

The research is clear – kids usually perform to their parents’ expectations.

Saying things like, “He’ll probably pass his classes,” will likely lead your teen to get average grades at best.

Low expectations aren’t the only danger - unrealistically high expectations can also be detrimental. If you insist your teen get perfect grades all the time, he’s likely to give up when he’s unable to meet your expectations. Establish clear expectations that will challenge your teen, without placing him under unhealthy amounts of pressure.

2. Letting Your Teen Sleep in On Days Off

Sometimes parents think they’re doing their teens a favor by shutting off the alarm clock on the weekends. But letting your teen snooze until noon will likely do more harm than good.

Sleep is vital to a teen’s academic success. And sleeping in late could disrupt your teen’s normal sleep schedule for several days. A teen who sleeps until noon on Sunday will likely have trouble falling asleep Sunday night.

He’s likely to be exhausted on Monday morning, which can wreak havoc on his ability to pay attention and stay focused in school.

3. Emphasizing Extra-Curricular Activities Over Academics

While watching your teen play in a football game is likely more fun than helping him with his math homework, emphasizing participation in extra-curricular activities won’t do him any academic favors.

The chances of your child receiving an athletic scholarship is pretty slim – the National Collegiate Athletic Association says only about 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships.

Spend at least as much time talking about his academic classes as you do his extra-curricular activities. Send the message to your teen that academics are important.

4. Being Passive About Your Teen’s Education

Sometimes, when kids reach high school, parents back off their involvement with school. While it’s important not to be overly involved, some involvement with your teen’s education can go a long way to increasing his chances of success.

Attend parent-teacher conferences and open houses. Get involved in the PTA and develop an understanding of the school’s policies and procedures. Show your teen that his education matters to you.

5. Preventing Your Teen From Making Any Mistakes

Sometimes, well-meaning parents go to great lengths to make sure their teen gets good grades. As a result, they nag about homework, double-check each and every assignment, and constantly provide reminders about upcoming assignments.

Preventing your teen from making any mistakes, however, can cause him to become increasingly dependent on you. Let him experience natural consequences sometimes, even if it means he may get a poor grade on an assignment, as a way to teach him to be more responsible.

6. Giving Your Teen Free Reign with Electronics

Most teens struggle to set self-imposed limits on their electronics. Their homework often gets interrupted by social media messages and their sleep schedules are disturbed by text messages.

Establish clear rules about electronics. Insist that your teen’s phone be shut off during homework time and don’t allow your teen to sleep with a smartphone in the bedroom.

7. Not Actively Guiding Your Teen’s Future

Many teens struggle to see how their current education will impact their future. Talk to your teen about his career aspirations and help him connect how what he’s learning now can help him in the future.

Encourage your teen to take classes that will be helpful to his future. A teen who is excited about going to college, owning a business, or establishing a career is more likely to take his education seriously.

Continue Reading