The two areas that a teen's procrastination becomes the most evident is at home and school. Since teens have more homework and responsibilities at home, putting off tasks can cause a lot of grief for everyone involved. Parents, teachers and teens, themselves, get frustrated by looming deadlines, unfinished work, and work that is poorly done. When both home and school are on the same page, as far as ways to work with a teen procrastinator, the behavior can be properly addressed and hopefully conquered.
Teens procrastinate for several reasons, and when this comes to school, it is important to learn if there is an underlying challenge, such as a learning disability that is complicating the issue. You can speak to your child's teacher as to why the behavior is occurring. With an understanding of the "why," you will be better equipped to prepare a strategy to help your teen stay on top of their school work and projects.
1. Remember that secondary school teachers have a much larger work load
Gone are the days of elementary school, where one teacher had twenty five children. A middle, junior, or high school teacher has several classes and can have around one hundred different students. This does not mean they are not willing to help your teen; it simply means they need to work as a team with you and your teen. Try scheduling a meeting (bring some coffee or hot chocolate and a small treat) and discuss ways you can help the teacher, rather than demand that the teacher fix everything. Enlist your teen's help, as well, and make it a partnership.
2. Determine if it is an academic challenge
If your teen is struggling with the work, ask that he or she be evaluated by the school psychologist to determine if there is a undetected learning disability. If there is none, perhaps your teen needs extra help with their homework, such as tutoring. There are many options for augmenting your teen's education. You can go with a private individual, a tutoring service, or a tutoring center. Each offers benefits in helping your child. It is helpful to get recommendations from your child's teacher or other parents to find the best match for your child.
3. Is it a habit?
If the procrastination is chronic and persistent, your child may have some other reasons that they are putting everything off. Having your child evaluated by a psychologist or beginning behavior modification therapy may be beneficial.
4. Let it be
If there does not seem to be any reason for the behavior, you can allow your child to face the consequences of their behavior at school. If they miss assignments their grades will suffer. This may be the best option for an incidental instance of procrastination, rather than for the "professional procrastinator". Living the result of their behavior can allow your teen to recognize that their behavior has consequences.