School related issues in adolescents can be complicated and extremely challenging to face. Unlike similar issues in younger children, adolescents bring an added level of challenge due to their developmental imperative, and their proximity to adulthood. Issues relating to school can be varied, as skill levels, maturity, temperament, developmental level, mental health, emotional background and relationship with authority vary youth by youth.
Some school related issues in adolescence can include:
- Behaviour problems: acting out, chronic lateness, anxiety, truancy, risk-taking, hyperactivity, disruptive behaviour, teacher-student relations, impulse problems, violence, criminal activity, gang activity, substance abuse
- Academic problems: poor study habits, dropping grades, struggling to keep up, attention deficits, learning disabilities, dropping out of school
- Social problems: social anxiety, withdrawal, bullying, social awkardness, inappropriate behaviour
- Emotional problems: anxiety, depression
- Medical problems: lack of sleep, poor diet, vision/hearing problems, health conditions, mental illness
The best way to deal with school-related issues is to talk to your child and to their teacher. Find out what the exact issue is and address it in an open, calm and caring way. Often creating a supportive structure around the child can help with many issues. Sometimes the supportive structure can involve counselling, other times it involves tutoring, organizing and scheduling time, changing home dynamics, or seeking medical advice.
The first step to helping a child become successful at school is for caregivers to get support. Caregivers must have knowledge and strategies for dealing with difficult challenges. Once caregivers have information and support, a plan for change can be enacted.
Megan Hughes has worked as a counsellor with high-risk and behavioural elementary and secondary aged student in the Vancouver school system for 15 years. She has experience identifying issues that present as obstacles to learning, socializing and functioning in school. To speak to Megan about your concerns for your child, call Stillwater Studio at 604-734-2779.