Children, teens, and adults all have periods of emotional struggle. If you notice your teen coming home with bad grades, suddenly dropping out of favorite activities, or isolating themselves more often, it’s probably nothing to do with them being lazy.
In most cases, they will be struggling with other issues they have not figured out how to deal with yet.
Fortunately, you can use methods to help your child work through whatever is troubling them and get them back to performing at their best and enjoying life. The first step is to recognize the issues they may be facing.
1. Your Child is Facing Peer Pressure
Maybe you are getting notes from the school about your child bullying others, or they have suddenly developed a habit of swearing. Naturally, your first thought is to think the behavior out of character, and that’s because it probably is. The most likely scenario is exposure to negative behavior traits through their peers.
The important thing is to take time to understand the situation before dishing out punishment. Have a calm conversation with your child and try and get their point of view. Ask them to reflect on their actions and evaluate if they truly align with the sort of people they want to be.
2. Your Teen is Depressed
A teen who is tired, irritable, socially withdrawn, or has no appetite may be depressed. If you think your child has depression, you should seek professional help without delay.
3. They Have a Learning Disability
A child with a learning disability may look like they are lazy and not trying. However, they may be acting out because they are overwhelmed and not getting the support they need. If you suspect your child has a learning disability, you should consult with their teachers to develop an appropriate course of action.
4. Your Teen Feels Forced into Doing Something
Nobody likes being told what to do, especially teenagers. You will be wasting your time forcing the issues or presenting them with ultimatums. These strategies will just cause frustration all around.
Try motivating your child into doing what they should by offering a reward for finishing. For example, they could earn an hour of game time by completing their homework or doing a household chore.
Also, providing a choice can help, such as, “would you like to clean the floor before dinner or after?”
5. Your Teen Feels Like a Problem Rather than a Person
When children seem like they are being lazy, treating them like a problem that needs to be solved can make the situation tenser.
Make sure your child knows that you care about them as people. Spend some time with them doing things they are interested in, or talk with them about some of their favorite things.
6. Your Teen Feels They Need to Be Perfect
It’s not hard to spot a perfectionist; eagerness to please, a desire to get everything right, and procrastination are all traits of the perfectionist that will stand out.
Unfortunately, perfectionism often has undesirable consequences, including anxiety, paralyzing fear, and overwhelm.
Show your child that making mistakes is okay; a broken cup is not a big deal, and a B+ is a pretty good grade. Mistakes happen, and very few students can get As all the time.
7. Your Child Only Feels Accepted When They Do Well
Do you show your child that you love them unconditionally, or does your behavior make it seem like you only appreciate them when they do well? These behaviors can make a child believe that how you feel about them is conditional on their performance.
If a child feels like they have to act a certain way just to be loved, they may start to feel like your affection and respect are unattainable and will give up trying. It’s okay to set standards, but you should also remind your child that your love for them does not come with conditions.