Okay, it’s that time of year. The weather is warmer; trips to the lake, river, beach, or pool have begun; and your teen has no drive or motivation for school whatsoever.
Here are a few practical tips for parenting teens to finish the year strong and stay on track during the summer.
Keep them busy. The biggest temptations for your teen during this season are parties. Most sports have wrapped up, and school is winding down. Teens have more free time and more opportunities to get into trouble.
My teen came home a few days ago and proudly announced that she watched movies in every single class that day. Not exactly what parents want to hear when we send our kids off to school for eight hours. But what do we do? Our expectations aren’t as high, because we know the students are ready for a break. But don’t fill their time with meaningless activity; instead, make sure they have plenty to do so that they aren’t looking for the wrong things to fill their time.
Challenge them to stay focused. One way is to reward them for good grades on their finals. Help them set a goal for each final or semester grade for each class and offer to pay them if they meet their goal. A parent’s job is to go to work, set and meet goals or expectations, and receive a paycheck. Going to school is the student’s job. Their “paycheck” can be as much or as little as you want, but giving them both a goal and an incentive helps to keep them focused. At our house we pay for straight A’s. Our kids are intelligent, but A’s don’t come easily for them. They have to work for them. The incentive of a Franklin in their pocket motivates them to work harder.
Don’t quit parenting. Our tendency during this season and during the summer is to just turn it off and let them “enjoy” their spring or summer. The truth is, without the rigorous load from school and athletics, it’s the perfect time for you to step up your game as a parent. Be intentional about spending time with them. You aren’t battling their busy schedules, so create time for rest, give them responsibilities, and enjoy the moments you have with them.
What are some ways you are going to maximize the summer months with your teen?