During their teenage years, our sons and daughters are going through a number of major transformations, concurrently. While their bodies are changing and growing, they are also undergoing several other adjustments psychologically, as well as socially. More is expected of them at home, as well as at school. It is the period in their lives in which there is a real revolution in every sense. This is very taxing on them, as well as on those close to them.
Whereas certain changes are beyond their control and just happen, one of the areas which is often negatively affected during this period is studying. The subjects become harder and greater dedication is required for success. Surely, our youngsters would much rather employ their energy in more enjoyable activities, rather than spend countless hours studying. Yet it is critical that they keep focused on making the most of today, so as to maximise their opportunities tomorrow. Not everyone is gifted or inclined to pursue their studies beyond what is mandatory. However, whatever their intentions might be, they still need to achieve at least basic levels of literacy and numeracy: a solid foundation on which to build their future careers, each according to his or her skills and preferences.
Most parents feel powerless when faced with their children’s reluctance to study: their kids have reached an age where they will no longer do anything unless they really want to. Some may resort to constant arguments and frequent screaming matches; others just give up and act indifferently. Both these attitudes lead to frustration between the youngsters, as well as between the parents themselves.
There is a compromise solution. First of all, parents should nurture a love of knowledge in their children from a young age, encouraging kids to be curious and to take an interest in all that happens and to reason why things happen. Another positive attitude parents have the duty to inculcate in their kids is self-pride and the joy of achievement. Success is very attractive, but requires hard work and preparation. With such attitudes in conjunction to parental guidance and help, our teenagers should remain focused on their studies, while maintaining a balanced lifestyle, even socially and emotionally. It is imperative that, as parents, we encourage our children to excel in their abilities, whichever these may be.
We now know that in life nothing comes easy. Accomplishments stem from discipline and perseverance, from beginning to end. But at their age, they still need to truly understand this. Here is where we step in.
Homework is a priority not an option. Our youngsters need to manage their time properly by setting a timetable: making time for everything and most important of all, sticking to it. An obvious suggestion is that of adopting effective time management.
Help your teen plan each day and prioritise his activities. Allow short break times for healthy snacks or even just to move around and stretch. While leisure is essential, it should be timed and controlled. This includes viewing of television, calling friends and the use of social media. All are good in moderation but NOT during homework and study times.
It is also very important for our teens to study in a specific and convenient space: a location where they can feel comfortable and are able to concentrate. Ideally, this should as much as possible be the same place. There will be times when they are overwhelmed by the voluminous workload. In these situations, there is no harm in lending a hand, as long as this does not become the norm, or an excuse for your teen to avoid doing homework himself.
The last important suggestion I feel I should make to all parents is to ensure that our kids know that we care, and that we will be there for them no matter what. They will rebel, they will argue, and at times, they may even be cruel to us. However, they remain our pride and joy, and we love them unconditionally. Even when you think they may not be listening, keep encouraging them. Explain to them that when you may be hard on them, it is for their own good. All the sacrifice they do now will pay off. Eventually they will look back and appreciate your efforts, and best of all is that they will be satisfied with what they have managed to achieve.