Talk to your teen about your expectations for their senior year in school. Clearly explain what grades you would like to see and what their rules are for the school year regarding grades and attending classes. While you should listen your teen’s input as to what they feel their rules should be their senior year in high school, you have the responsibility of setting and enforcing them. When you give too much at this point in your teen’s life, they tend to believe life is full of privileges and no responsibilities. If your teen really wants an extra privilege, send the right message to them by asking them to do an extra responsibility as well.
Help them think about the future. Ask them what benefits they want to get out of their last year in high school and how it fits in with their future plans. Scholarships, admissions and more are often based on what is done in the last half of a teen's high school year. Colleges do rescind admissions when student’s grades drop their last semester.
Keep their future in the forefront of their mind by giving them the work they need to do to get there. This will keep your teen from feeling like they are done and can blow off the rest of the school year. For instance, getting a part-time job or a volunteer opportunity will help them make some of the money they will need and keep them too busy to 'do nothing' and get lazy.
Create small goals for your teen to attain throughout the school year. These can be as simple as getting good grades or applying to so many colleges or technical schools per month. Be specific with the goals and set a time limit. If your teen is not able to attain a goal, re-assess it and make a new goal. The more your teen is focused on their goals and their life, the more motivated they are to do things that need to be done.
Check up on your teen. Yes, I know that you stopped doing this a while ago because your teen was old enough to handle getting their homework done without your help. But, senioritis is something that happens to even the best of high school students. Just knowing you will be keeping on top of what they need to do in class is motivation enough for many teens. Others may need to be reminded that privileges are based on responsibilities.
Be there to remind your high school senior about their school obligations. You may sound like a nag at times, but the benefits of your teen not messing up and getting the future they want outweigh the title of 'Nag Extraordinaire'. We all need a little push now and then – this is that time for your teen and you are the pusher.
Allow your teen to celebrate their accomplishments throughout their senior year. While you will need to talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and driving and stick to your expectations, give them the opportunity to enjoy their friends and their senior year. This is the last step to young adulthood, you will need to be able to compromise. Plus, when your teen sees that you are treating them more like a young adult, they will be more apt to understand your expectations for schoolwork, grades and responsibilities.
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