Teens are often encouraged to succeed in school at all costs. But while the intention might be positive such as wanting to help them make top grades, the pressure on them could be far more severe than either of you or your children anticipated. There are some good reasons why teens should never be pushed to overachieve.
The Negative Impact of Overachieving
Overachieving teens put so much pressure on themselves to succeed that the possibility of failure is devastating. They don’t even have to receive a bad mark to feel as if they’ve failed, because an A- or a B+ could be perceived as a blow to their self-esteem. According to Eddins Counseling Group, overachieving teens can be left without critical coping skills, which can lead to dysfunction in other areas, including socialization. Teens who, on the surface, seem to have everything going for them, can feel as though they constantly have to prove their intelligence. Your teen needs to know that their intelligence and self-worth are not conditional qualities.
How Teens Can Reprioritize
Obsession with high marks might seem as though it will help your teen become better educated, but if they’re only thinking about grades, they may not be able to retain and appreciate the material. The focus should be primarily on learning rather than on grades. They might even find they perform better on tests and assignments when they can apply what they’ve learned to other parts of life. Joining clubs and taking part in extracurricular activities can help to take the pressure off your teen and show them that learning can be fun. However, while extracurricular activities can be good, make sure they don’t overschedule themselves. According to CHOC Children’s, overscheduling kids can make them feel even more stressed. Just make sure that your child has a healthy balance of both schoolwork and activities and they will be fine.
What Parents Can Do
While some teens feel pressured to overachieve due to aggressive parenting, others place the pressure on themselves. If your teen is showing clear signs of stress from overachievement, you need to step in. Tell them about your concern that they might be placing an undue burden on themselves, and assure them that you’re not asking them to. They might be mistakenly thinking that they need to receive perfect marks in order to earn your love. If you’ve ever put too much pressure on your teen, this is your time to rectify that and ask for their forgiveness.
Relinquishing overachievement doesn’t mean that your teen has no choice but to underachieve. They need to work to the best of their abilities without pushing themselves so much that they sacrifice their health or peace of mind. Regardless of the grades your teen brings home, you should be proud of them if you know they’re making an effort and improving at whatever pace they can.