Midterms are just around the corner for most teens. For many this means stress levels are running high and more pressure is added to an already pressured and high paced life. Factor in the added backlash from parents (Why aren’t you studying enough? Get off your social media site and get busy!) and your teen just might feel like he’s just not going to make it through. Here are some tips to help your teen not only make it through but to also change his thinking patterns in stressful situations.
Adults and teens alike can form unhealthy thought patterns that then add more stress to already stressful situations. Some of these ways of thinking include:
Pessimism- “I’ll never be able to…”
Negative Self-Labeling- “I’m stupid.”
Expecting the Worst- “I’m definitely going to fail this test.”
Black or White Thinking – “My sister is always right and I’m always wrong.”
Assuming Others’ Negative Thoughts- “He thinks I’m not good at this.”
Suggest to your teen to think of ways to change some of these thoughts. Challenge these “irrational” thoughts with healthier ones. Instead of thinking, “I’m definitely going to fail this test” think of the last test you failed. Did you prepare more this time or less? Have you ever even actually failed a test? Instead of thinking, “I’ll never be able to..” think about what you need to do to accomplish the goal ahead and plan it out.
Organizing study time is very important and it should include breaks, whether it’s a few longer ones or more frequent short ones. These breaks will give an energy boost and a clear timeframe to get back to work which in turn will make the study time that much more productive.
Remind your teen that leading a healthy lifestyle is just as important to performing to your maximum potential as a thorough studying session can be. Have your teen remember to eat right, get some exercise, make time to relax and get enough sleep (which is not easy to do when you have school, after school activities/job, socializing and studying to do.)