5 Parenting Mistakes that Make Senioritis Worse

Clarissa Leahy / Cultura / Getty Images

While some parents are horrified by a teen’s apathetic attitude during senior year, other parents feel that slacking off near the end of high school is a rite of passage. The way parents respond to a senior’s attitude about school will play a major role in a teen's motivation throughout the school year. Here are five mistakes that can make senioritis worse:

Mistake #1 - Micromanaging a Teen’s Activities

Sometimes well-meaning parents try to keep a teen on track by micromanaging his activities.

But telling a teen what to do - and how to do it - can backfire. Rather than help a teen become more responsible, micromanaging can encourage irresponsibility.

A teen who knows he doesn’t have to keep track of that scholarship deadline – because his mother will remind him – is less likely to write down the due date. Or a teen who knows his parents will remind him what to pack when he attends an overnight visit to a college, is less likely to make sure he doesn’t forget anything. It’s important for parents to let teens face some of their own natural consequences, especially as their high school career draws to a close.

Mistake #2 – Restricting Too Much Freedom

The grief related to letting go of a teen who will soon be headed off to college, causes some parents to suffocate their children. Rather than allow them an ample amount of freedom to practice making healthy decisions, they restrict their teen’s activities.

But, much of the behavior associated with senioritis is about asserting one’s new found independence. Saying, “I don’t have to do my work anymore,” is a way for teens to rebel. If they aren’t given enough freedom to have fun and assert themselves, teens will rebel in any way they can. They may skip more classes, refuse to go to school, or completely give up doing any homework as a way to show you that they can make their own decisions.

Mistake #3 - Encouraging Teens to Take Easy Courses

It’s hard to watch a stressed-out teen struggle with piles of homework, college applications, and extracurricular activities. In an attempt to put an end to the chaos, many parents encourage teens to “take it easy” during their senior year.

But, senioritis doesn’t usually result from having too much to do. Instead, the lack of motivation often stems from boredom. Encourage your teen to take stimulating classes that will prepare him for college and his life beyond high school. If your teen feels like his school day is worthwhile to his future, he’ll be much more invested in doing the work.

Mistake #4 - Obsessing Over College Admissions

Focusing too much on college applications, financial aid, and scholarships can take the focus off high school. While it’s important to plan for the future, obsessing over it will only serve as a distraction.

Problem-solve together with your teen about how to divide up his time. Create a calendar with important deadlines and set aside time each week to work on college preparation activities.

Try to keep the focus on high school the rest of time.

Mistake #5 - Discouraging Part-Time Jobs

Sometimes parents discourage teens from working by telling them, “You’ve got the rest of your life to work.” While that’s true, high school can also be a great time for teens to learn more about what type of job they’d like to have in the future.

A job doesn’t necessarily need to be paid. An internship or volunteer position can provide wonderful learning opportunities. Being involved in work that will prepare your teen for the future can spark an interest in education and stave off senioritis.

Continue Reading