As far as study problems go, procrastination is a big one.
Whenever we get an enquiry from a student, it’s usually a plea for help on how to get motivated and stay focused.
Quite often it feels like these students want a quick fix solution to their study woes… perhaps they haven’t quite got the fact that, at the end of the day, being prepared for exams means putting in the study hours.
In saying that, however, there certainly is something you can do to help your teen combat procrastination.
Without wanting to turn this article into a psychology lecture, it is important for both parents and students to understand that all of our actions boil down to what’s going on upstairs.
Our brains need reasons to do things.
What this means for your teen is that they won’t put in the study hours they need to, unless they know the reasons why they’re doing it.
As a parent, you already have reasons why you want your teen to do well in their exams.
- You want them to leave high school with good grades.
- You want them to have good grades so that they have lots of options available to them when they finish school
- You want the best for them, and you understand that this will largely rely on them doing well at high school.
But does your teen have their own reasons?
Because if they don’t this will only amplify their want to procrastination.
When they’re procrastinating, they’re thinking that doing something (anything!) else is more fun than studying.
To get around this, they need to have a good hard think (and probably have a good chat with you) about why it’s important for them to do well at school.
They need to be important reasons too. Not just “Mum and Dad will get mad if I don’t study”.
They need to reasons that relate to their life and their future.
- I need to study hard so I get into vet school when I leave high school
- I need good marks to get into a good College
- I need good marks so I qualify for that scholarship
- I need good marks so I end up with a career that I love
And don’t just make this a mental list. Make sure your teen writes all of their own reasons down.
Make sure they include reasons why they should do well, as well as reasons why they shouldn’t do badly.
This is because the thought of not getting good grades, not getting into the college they want, not going into the career they want, will be much more powerful motivators than ‘getting good grades’.
So off to the books they will go.
Once your teen has figured out why it’s important for them to study, for them to get good grades, for them to do well at school, it will become much easier to squash the urge to procrastinate.
This is a technique that we still use today.
Whenever there’s a task ahead of us that we’re not overly excited about – studying or something else not terribly fun – we just think, “If I don’t do it now, life’s going to be much worse for me later on.”
And it works!
So have a good chat with your teen about what’s going to motivate them when they’re not in a studying mood. They will find the answers they come up with extremely useful procrastination crushers.