Assisting Your Teen with the Dreaded “Senioritis”

By Angel Wagner, LSW – March 2, 2022 –

The first semester of your child’s senior year of high school is complete. You log on to the school’s grading system expecting to see the normal A and B grades your child always receives.

However, this time the grades are different. You see Cs, Ds, or maybe even failing grades. Senioritis can appear in many forms, such as declining grades, missing assignments, or loss of interest in participating in classes.

When these signs of senioritis show up, your immediate reaction might be anger towards your child. As a parent, it can be difficult to understand how a good student can suddenly start failing tests and assignments. Your instinct might be to punish your child by grounding them from their games, phone, or even their car until their grades improve.

Before you react, take a moment to listen to your child. They may have fears or a lack of motivation that you don’t know about. Many high school seniors become unmotivated as the amount of schoolwork becomes overwhelming. They may have fears of graduating and moving to the next step. Having someone there to listen to these fears can help them figure out what they need to do to get through this difficult transition.

No one should stop a marathon on the last lap. Though there may be just a little left to go in the school year, that last semester may feel impossible to some students, just like the last lap of a marathon when a runner has already gone twenty-something miles by the end of the race. Stopping before the end may sound so much better than finishing at some point. Provide that motivation for your child to keep going.

You can help your child see the finish line more clearly by working with them to create a schedule. Between the usual homework, looming finals, college and scholarship applications, and extracurricular activities, your high school senior has a lot on their plate! They may want to just forget all their stress and concentrate on fun times with the friends they may never see again.

Some students have stated to school staff that they need structure in their day, otherwise they’d just prioritize fun things all the time. Sitting down with your child to create a schedule of fun and work will show them they can find enough time in the week for both.

The last year of high school may perhaps be the hardest year of all for some students. Remember that your child is not lazy. They are going through a normal phase of adolescence that many of us may forget about as we deal with the difficulties in our adult lives. Listening to their problems, giving motivation, and helping them stick to a schedule are simple ways that you can help your child finish strong.