Most students are really good liars.
Actually, so are we! And so are you.
Humans are all so good at lying in fact, that we’re capable of convincing even ourselves of our lies to the extent that we outright believe them!
The most common lies include:
I don’t need to exercise more; Having that piece of cake won’t matter tomorrow; I don’t need to talk to my husband/wife about how stressed I really am; I couldn’t possibly change career directions at this stage in my life; I don’t have time to go for a run…
I’m sure you get the idea!
When you’re a teenager at school, the lies one tells involve similar themes…
I don’t have time to do extra study; I don’t need to start studying until the end of the school year; I’ve got heaps of time before my assignment’s due; I don’t need to try hard – none of my friends do…
Just as we are experts at convincing ourselves of our own ‘adult lies’ – to the extent that we actually don’t exercise more, don’t cut down of crappy foods, and don’t commit time to tasks that need doing – your teen is an expert at convincing themselves that they don’t need to do more homework than they already do. And that they sure don’t need to start studying for exams yet.
So they don’t.
And because of this most teens probably aren’t doing enough school work right now. And as a direct result their end of year grades WILL fall short of what they should be.
Luckily this isn’t a no-win situation.
How to stop your teen’s lies
First step: Your teen needs to admit they’ve been lying to themselves! (As is the first step in breaking any bad habit!)
Second step: Implementing change.
Are they doing some form of homework/study EVERY DAY after school? If not, it’s time to start.
Do they have set daily study times? If not, they need to start. Having consistent daily study times is the only effective way for your teen to get used to and effective at studying regularly.
Third step: Sticking to the change.
If your teen currently seems physically repelled by their desk and school books then changing to regular study after school will hurt a bit to start off with.
But there are things you can do to help your teen break their lying habit!
- Be supportive. Exchange nagging for encouragement, and “why haven’t you…” for reasons why studying now will benefit them later.
- Reward your teen for the work they put in. (This doesn’t have to be anything over the top – their favourite dinner perhaps?)
- Help them study. Flash cards are a great way to get parents involved in the studying process. Ask them questions from their notes. Help them research on the internet. There are endless ways you can be involved, and most of them don’t require all that much effort!
Breaking a bad habit without the support of a few people around them who really care makes the process all that much harder. The same is true of your teen. If they’re to stop lying to themselves (and to you) about how they’re going at school, and how much work they really should be doing, they’re going to need outside support!
Getting them to admit they’re lying, not only to you but to themselves, is the first step.
Once you’ve accomplished that, it’s probably best to implementing change in small steps. Going from zero to hero might kill them.
You want your teen to form a solid habit of studying and completing school work regularly. So if that starts with just half an hour a day, that’s cool. Something is better than nothing.
Once they start to see the rewards of putting in hard work (or even just some work), you might just find them increasing their effort without being told to do so!
Image Credit: Brad Gillette on Flickr