Here’s an issue that parents have raised: they’re struggling through senior year and want to know how to support their children while everyone is waiting for college to start.
Translation: my kid is driving me crazy. He’s become lethargic and disinterested in school, his grades have gone down, and he’s trying to drop out of academic courses or extracurricular activities. Worst case scenarios I’ve heard: he’s engaged in cheating or plagiarism or regularly cuts classes.
These are the classic symptoms of “senioritis,” which affects students and their parents. Seniors are in the midst of a turbulent time. They’re trying to finish high school while applying to college and waiting for admissions decisions. They’re looking forward to a new chapter in their lives, but it’s unknown territory. Parents are having issues of their own. They’re looking forward to their kids starting college, but concerned about them living on their own. They have to contend with securing money for college. So, everyone in the household is anxious.
Senioritis is dangerous, because colleges often require newly admitted students to submit their final semester grades and reports of disciplinary infractions. Declines in the GPA or violation of school rules can lead to an acceptance being revoked.
How can parents help their children while maintaining their own sanity? Some suggestions:
(1) be very clear about the consequences of senioritis; (2) impose discipline such as the loss of privileges — removal of cell phones works well — which also gives seniors some “quiet time” to reflect on their behavior; (3) spend time doing things with your kids that give them a chance to decompress. Shopping for college supplies is a great activity! (4) remember that you only have to manage senioritis for a short time – – from college acceptances in May to the start of college at the end of August; (5) call on all of your resources—the guidance counselor, a clergy member, your relatives, your friends. Make sure to get support for your child and yourself.