Getting Your Child Back on Track

    • Tell your adolescent that you’re going to treat him like a young adult and you expect him to assume responsibility for the task at hand. For the time being, his “job” is going to school, and he should take it seriously and make the most of this opportunity. Like everyone else in the family, he must be accountable for his performance at his “job.”

    • Ask your adolescent for some suggestions on how you can help him overcome his “motivation blahs.” Why is he so unhappy? What are his solutions to the problem? What incentives can you give him to encourage him to roll up his sleeves and get to work?

    • Be sensitive to specific learning problems or a low IQ in your child.

    • Talk with your family’s pediatrician or the school psychologist about whether some psychological counseling or perhaps a battery of tests might be in order. On occasion there could be an underlying depression driving your adolescent’s behavior. Several sessions of therapy (or just “talking” with his pediatrician) might help him transform his self-defeating attitudes into productive ones.

    • Try not to overreact. If you become too overbearing and try too hard to pressure and motivate your teenager, your best efforts may backfire. Be patient. Wait to see if he makes some changes on his own. Ultimately, if there are no positive changes in attitude, it’s time to intervene. It’s your responsibility as a parent. 

    • Read a story about a child who doesn’t want to go to school, but who overcomes his fears and attends school regularly.