Are you the parent of a high school senior who has turned into a model of sloth and laziness? What happened to that eager junior who took extra classes, participated in activities, and got accepted by a great college? That delightful person has been replaced by somebody with lousy grades and an even worse attitude!
Your child might be suffering from senioritis. Now that the work of applying to college and completing the FAFSA is over, your student might feel as though a break is in order. The pull of having one last night out with friends becomes stronger than studying for an AP exam. Unfortunately, this is a bad time to slack off.
This attitude slip could cause your child’s college to rethink its acceptance offer, not make an offer at all for a waitlisted student, or to reduce the amount of merit aid awarded. It will also be difficult to get back on track once the freshman year begins. If your child fails any AP exams, it could even cost you more money when those classes have to be repeated at the college level. As the parent, it is your job to get this train back on the track before there is irreparable damage. Here are a few tips to deal with a serious case of senioritis:
• Schedule Down Time: Try to realize that it has been a lot of work and there are some pretty dramatic changes on the horizon. You will still need to help your student adjust to these bumps in the road. Help him or her take an honest look at the upcoming schedule to see if it needs adjustment. Maybe cut back on some days that have truly been overbooked, or set a definite day to relax. Scheduling down time gives your student something to look forward to, and gives him or her tools to handle stress later on in life.
• Coping Skills: Your child could be feeling sad at the upcoming loss of friends and familiar surroundings and afraid at the same time of what will happen in college. Instead of totally checking out, try to give your student some coping skills to deal with this barrage of emotions. Set aside some quiet time to talk, and let him or her recognize these feelings for what they are – fear of the unknown. Explain how this is part of life, that the present should be remembered and appreciated, but that the future can be exciting, too.
• Consequences: It may be hard to think of administering consequences to a near-adult, but it may help scale back some of the worst behaviors. Advise your student that summer school may be a real possibility if grades are not up to par. Take away phone privileges, or cut back on use of the car.
Whenever possible, though, try to help your child balance having a little fun and celebrating the present with preparing for an even better future.