Frustrating is an understatement for most parents when it comes to a teen who doesn’t seem to find applying himself at school of any great importance. The fact is that not all teenage boys find school important or have any desire to do well in school. They’re more focused on the here and now, such as what is fun right here and right now, than they are on the future. Unfortunately, the extent to which your teenage son applies himself in school today can have a big impact on his future.
Communicate with your son’s teachers, advises James Lehman of Empowering Parents. Use this communication to keep track of his assignments and projects and stay on top of him about these projects. Knowing that he has homework or a project to do and requiring that he do it can help him do better in school because you are ensuring his work is done.
Consider the fact that your son could be struggling in school and it might be causing him to give up, which you are mistaking for a lack of motivation. According to PBS Parents, if your son is struggling with school, he might feel like quitting. By taking notice of this and offering to help him by providing a tutor or asking his teachers to help him grasp the concepts he struggles with, you might be able to motivate him to do better in school once again.
Keep your expectations in check, advises Family Education, part of the Pearson Education Inc. family. For example, if you are always on him about being a good student, comparing his B to your perfect high school grade point average or reminding him that no Ivy League school is going to accept him if he doesn’t do better, he might feel too much pressure, and it could cause him to do worse in school. Keep your expectations realistic; your teenage son is not the same person you were in high school or the same person his academically excellent older sister was in high school. Expect him to do his best, and encourage him to do that.
If none of the above is having an impact, don't be afraid to let him fail, advises Lehman. Natural consequences might be exactly what it takes to motivate your son to do better in school. Even though you don’t want him to fail, not helping him work on that big project the night before it’s due because he neglected to work on it ahead of time can help him learn a valuable lesson. For example, he might lose the privilege of going on a field trip with his class because of his bad grade or he might be required to take after-school tutoring lessons for a month because of it. He can learn a lot more from this than from hearing you talk about what might happen.