What to do when your teenager is struggling in school

sad teenager
Photo: Counselling, Pixabay

Many parents find that their teenager isn’t 100% happy in school. In this day and age, education is a lot harder than it used to be and is a lot more stressful.

As well as having to please teachers that all have different teaching styles, students must learn to work side by side with their classmates while still keeping up their grades to appease their parents.

Mix this in with things like bullying, hormones kicking in and home problems, and you can end up with one stressed out teenager. While many parents feel at a loss with what to do when their teen is struggling, the good news is that there are ways to support them.

Occupation therapy for teenagers (OT) is a profession that helps support people in their occupation (meaning their daily activities). For adults, this may be their workplace and/or university, whereas for young adults this is usually high-school and their first job.

Occupation therapy for teenagers is a great way to support children when they are heading into adulthood and can help with some common concerns heard from parents.

Such concerns are usually about concentration levels in school, reading and writing skills, interpersonal skills, physical activity levels, routines, personal care and misbehaving. All of these worries are quite common and are things that can be improved with some therapy.

Occupation therapy for teenagers is the perfect way to teach teens new skills as well as show them what their strengths and weaknesses are. Tools can be taught on how to handle emotions as well as how to best get along with people of all different personalities and background.

These skills can help a child when they are needing to do a class presentation, or are needing to participate in a sports activity. Whatever the concern, there are certainly tools that can be implemented in a safe environment that all teenagers can benefit from.

How to help improve focusing skills

One of the most common concerns that parents have about their children is that they cannot focus. With the rise of technology and smartphones, this has become a huge problem that affects many with their schooling.

Unfortunately, it can be misunderstood that students do not want to learn when they are not paying attention when in fact it is more about how they see and hear information, as well as their anxieties about how they are supposed to process that information.

sad teenager
Photo: Riala, Pixabay

OT is able to address any feelings about schooling and can assess any attention blocks while implementing new and healthier skills. Every person has a different learning style, so it is important to tap into that and to work with it.

OT can also help a young adult understand what the classroom routines are as well as strategies on how to cope with different teaching styles and posture ideas to help them sit still. All of these skills are vital to having a pleasant and rewarding high-school experience.

How to help with misbehaving and anti-social behaviours

Often misbehaving and anti-social behaviour is due to not understanding social cues. Through OT someone can be taught how to understand facial expressions and body language.

They can be taught how to engage in conversation and how to deal with conflict should it arise. It can help to explain to a teen what the teacher needs and wants from them during a class and the benefits that this can bring.

It is important to understand their feelings about school in general and it is often found that teens act out when they are not understanding the curriculum. Embarrassment, frustration, and shame can commonly be masked with misbehaving.

This can also be addressed by focusing on the child’s learning skills and handwriting and speaking can be developed. It is surprising how many teenagers have gotten through most of their school careers without knowing how to properly hold a pen or how to discriminate between certain letters.

Teaching these basic strategies are a great way to help someone feel more confident in the classroom and will encourage them to engage and participate more.

In summary, when a student is struggling in school this isn’t a need for a complete panic. These are absolutely things that can be done to nurture and encourage. The skills learned as a young adult as so vital as they are carried on into the later years.

This can help when it comes time to leave school, find a job, start a family, travel and much more. While teens need to feel independent and trusted, it is also imperative to support them in such crucial years of their life. Occupation therapy is a great way to do this, and many students have experienced profound benefits from this vocation