How to Help Overachieving Teens Stay Grounded

Some parents struggle with teens who can’t seem to get motivated — teens who don’t apply themselves, stretch themselves, or work as hard as they are capable of.

But other parents have the exact opposite problem.

It may not sound like much of a problem at first; after all, what’s so bad about having a teen who’s driven and eager to achieve?

Well, the problem is that teens like that can be high-strung, highly stressed, and ultimately not very happy. They can set impossibly high expectations for themselves, then beat themselves up when they fall short of the mark.

That’s not a healthy place to be, of course — but what exactly can parents do to keep their overachievers grounded, their ambitions in check?

Helping Your High-Strung, Highly-Stressed Student

A few strategies you might consider:

1. First and foremost, remember that you’re dealing with a fundamental personality trait. You can’t talk your child out of being type-A, or a high achiever — so don’t try! That’s just who they are, and like any personality type, it comes with some pros and some cons.

2. Show your student how he or she can channel that drive more effectively. Say your teen wants to spend 15 hours studying for an exam. You don’t want to discourage them from working hard, or to tell them the exam isn’t really important, but maybe you can help your student work more efficiently. A tutor can help you identify some good strategies.

3. You may not be able to control the expectations your child sets for himself/herself, but you can be intentional in how you articulate your expectations. Make it clear that you’re happy so long as they do their best.

4. Be a good role model! Show your teen what it means to live a life of balance. Work hard, but also make sure you leave lots of room for family, faith, hobbies, and whatever else is important to you. Lead by example.

5. Set the right boundaries for your teen — even if that means limiting their study time. Yes, school matters — but so does sleep and self-care. Make it clear to your teen that you expect a reasonable amount of down time each day and rest each night.

Parenting an overachieving teen comes with some challenges — but those challenges can be managed with the right approach.

Crafting Scholars helps parents cultivate sound academic habits for their kids — no matter their personality type. To learn more, reach out to us today!