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May 2015 Newsletter

Teens & Academic Success

by Joy Linn, MFT

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and this time of year can be a very stressful time for both teens and parents. Parents often have good intentions with wanting to support their teenagers in being successful academically. However, it may be difficult to know what parenting techniques will actually be effective and beneficial for your teen. Try these 5 helpful tips to more effectively support your teen in finishing out the school year strong:
 
Tip 1: Model good habits.
Think for a moment about what it is that your teen could develop further, such as better stress management or time management. Then look at your own daily habits in this area. For example, do you think your teen spends too much time on their technology devices? Try being a good role model by limiting your use of technology, especially when you are with your teen. Teens pay much more attention to their parents' actions than to their words.
 
Tip 2: Encourage quality breaks every 90 minutes.
If your teen has a large pile of homework or has a lot of studying to do for a big test, it can be tempting for you or your teen to want to push through long hours of hard work. However, research has shown that our brains and bodies are on a 90-minute cycle, which means that taking a 15-20 minute break every 90 minutes can actually greatly increase productivity and concentration. Breaks with quality rest are essential, such as getting a healthy snack, going on a short walk, or playing with the family pet.
 
Tip 3: Emphasize the value of trying one's best.
Perfectionism can have a negative impact, such as high stress levels, discouragement, and low frustration tolerance, which are actually barriers to academic success. When talking about academics and expectations with your teen, avoid focusing on letter grades. Try to have an open dialogue with your teen about identifying barriers and supports for success in school. Look for opportunities to remind your teen that you are proud of him/her, especially when you see your teen trying and putting in his/her best effort.
 
Tip 4: Break down big projects and lots of schoolwork into small steps.
If your teen seems overwhelmed by the amount of schoolwork on his/her plate, this is a learning opportunity for practicing healthy goal setting. By encouraging an overwhelmed teen to focus on just the next step or task, you can help restore your teen's sense of motivation and empowerment.
 
Tip 5: Take the time to listen to your teen.
When your teen talks to you about the academic pressure he/she is under, or a specific problem that your teen is having with regards to school, hold back from first responding with problem solving or advice giving. Be curious, ask a few questions, and reflect understanding. Be sure to give your teen a chance to identify a possible solution. This will help your teen feel more trusting that you are a safe place to talk about problems and more self-confident in his/her ability to work through difficulties successfully.
 
Would you like more tips and suggestions to help your teen? Visit our Los Gatos Teen Therapy blog to read more articles, or contact us at 408.389.3538 to learn more about our parent support counseling services.
 

About The Author

Joy Linn is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Los Gatos Teen Therapy, with 10 years of experience working with troubled youth and their families. She truly enjoys helping teens overcome their difficulties. She has sought extensive training in a broad variety of therapeutic models and continues to be fascinated with different modalities and mental health issues. Joy is especially effective by combining her clinical expertise with genuine care for her clients. She believes that everyone can benefit by focusing on self-improvement and puts this mindset into practice in her own daily life.

Parent Education Night:
Technology & Boundary Setting

Did you like Joy's article above? She will be speaking about Technology & Boundary Setting at Fusion Academy Los Gatos on Thursday, June 25 from 5:30 - 7:00 pm. Local parents of teens are welcome! This is a great opportunity to learn more about this common challenge and get your questions answered. 
Click here for more information and to RSVP.
 

Summer Therapy Services Available


If your students or children would benefit from therapy services over the summer, Los Gatos Teen Therapy is happy to provide: For more information, please contact us at 408.389.3538 or visit our website at www.LosGatosTeenTherapy.com
 
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Los Gatos Teen Therapy provides individual teen therapy, family therapy, group therapy, parent support counseling, and in-home teen and family coaching 7 days a week, including afternoons, evenings, and weekends. For more information, contact us at 408.389.3538 or information@losgatosteentherapy.com.
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