5 Ways to Help Your Teen Keep a Positive Attitude About School

Teens attitude toward school
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Piles of homework, arguments with friends, disagreements with teachers, and stress about the future are just a few of the things that can cause teens to become disgruntled about their academic experience. Get involved in your teen’s education and work with your teen to proactively thwart off negativity. Here are five tips for helping your teen keep a positive attitude about school:

1. Focus on the Positive

While it’s helpful to listen to your teen share about the day’s events, allowing your teen to continuously vent about the negative isn’t helpful.

Teens who begin to develop an overly negative attitude about school may easily overlook all the good things that happen.

Validate your teen’s feelings when she’s feeling frustrated. Use reflective listening to show that you’re really interesting in trying to understand her concerns. Avoid dismissing her feelings by saying things like, “That’s not a big deal,” or “Quit being so dramatic.”

Then, turn your teen's attitude around by asking questions like, “What was the best part of your day?” This can steer the conversation toward the positive. Even if the only good part involved lunch or talking to a friend in the hallway, spending a few minutes talking about those highlights can remind your teen about the most fun parts of her day.

2. Encourage Active Participation

If the academic aspect of school doesn’t excite your child, other types of activities could make the school day more enjoyable. Encourage your teen to sign up for clubs, play sports, or join band.

Talk about the various ways your teen can get involved in school sponsored activities, such as student government or doing volunteer work.

A teen who doesn’t love math class may begin to enjoy school a lot more if she has something to look forward to at the end of the day. Being an active participant in some type of after school activity can go a long way to keeping your teen’s attitude about school positive.

3. Actively Problem-Solve Together

Use your teen's complaints as an opportunity to teach problem-solving skills. Too often, teens avoid problems because they aren’t sure what to do about them. A teen who falls behind in a class, may feel too overwhelmed to try and catch up. Or a teen who has hurt a friend, may feel too ashamed to seek amends.

Work with your teen to address the problems that may contribute to a negative attitude. Sometimes simple solutions can go a long way toward making the school day much better. Encourage your teen to identify specific things that could make school better and then work toward implementing those changes.

4. Inspire Your Teen to Make a Difference

If your teen feels like she’s serving a purpose, she’ll be much less likely to have a negative attitude. A teen who volunteers to help younger children learn to read or who organizes a food drive will feel like her time at school is worthwhile.

Talk to your teen about opportunities to get involved. Joining student government or signing up for a club that does volunteer work can be a good way for teens to make a difference.

Teens who choose to help others are more likely to experience gratitude, and less likely to focus on the negative aspects of school.

5. Assist Your Teen in Establishing Goals

Teens with clear goals are more likely to have a positive attitude about their high school experiences. Surviving science class doesn’t seem as bad when a teen feels excited about studying drama next year. Similarly, “mean girls” seem easier to tolerate when a teen is looking forward to starting her own business over the summer.

Help your teen create both short and long-term goals. Working toward specific goals will remind your teen that the issues she’s facing today won’t last forever. 

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