A strange phenomenon occurs among teenagers when they reach their senior year of high school. They develop an attitude of less tolerance for parents, a need to spend more time with their friends, and a very relaxed attitude to their academic achievements.

If this sounds like a condition your teen is suffering from, have no fear. According to the experts, senioritis is a very real problem that affects around 60 per cent of teenagers, but thankfully it’s not as dramatic as your teen might have you believe. 

What Is Senioritis?


Senioritis comes about in the year before graduation and it’s usually due to the attitude that everything is lined up and in place, so they can now relax. They might have gotten into the school of their choice or already decided what the year following graduation holds for them, and so now they can just relax.

The second semester of senior year is a new time for both kids and parents, as everyone’s roles and responsibilities are about to change forever. You child might be concerned that their best years are behind them and as parents, we could be clinging to them as they are finally about to leave the nest. All of these changes bring about a new attitude of laziness, resentment, and nonchalance with our children.

While it would be nice for our teens to just have this period to do nothing, there are many important things that can be impacted by taking this relaxed attitude. If your teen is currently experiencing a bout of senioritis and you want to help shake them out of it, there are some things you can try that might be useful.

What Can We Do As Parents to Help?

Helping a teenager through something that they don’t even acknowledge is a problem can be an especially trying time. Here are some things you might like to try in order to help your teen get over their senioritis.

#1: Remind Them of The Short Time They Have left

Your teen likely has an anxious feeling about their final semester of high school. They know that time is fleeting and it might be the last chance they have to spend with friends in a carefree setting. They are about to embark on college which means a few years of study before they then jump into a lifelong career. It’s undoubtedly daunting for them.

Girl Studying

While it can seem scary to dive into the great unknown like this, you need to remind them that they only have a few short months left to give. College is what most people would refer to as the best time of their life, and one where they get to enjoy a bit more freedom. By committing to these last few months they’ll really get to enjoy their new life at college and know that they did the best they could in the time that they had.

#2: Explore the Possibilities They Overlooked

Sometimes, teens develop a case of senioritis because they really haven’t thought more about the potential problems it can cause. If you notice your teen has started slacking off, you may need to remind them of a few home truths that could snap them out o fit.

  • Lots of unexplained absences can cause a fail in a course.
  • Colleges have the right to reconsider your admission if your GPA falls below a certain point,
  • Too many absences can give your high school the right to revoke your diploma.
  • Many schools request mid and final year reports from your high school, so the entire year counts.

Once your teenager has been accepted into their college of choice, they probably think that’s the final word. Remind them that these colleges are always watching, and the entire school year will impact on the final decision. 

#3: Keep Them Active and Mentally Challenged

As parents, we can be guilty of getting involved with this senioritis behavior too and slacking off on our parenting skills. One thing that you can do to keep them motivated at school is to keep them motivated at home, both mentally and physically. With this motivation, they’re more likely to keep up their end of the bargain and study strong until the end.

Make a point of doing some physical activity with them once a week or encourage them to get out and take the dog for a walk each day. Engage in debates with them about news and politics. Drag them kicking and screaming to play board games with the rest of the family. Whatever you can do to keep their body and mind working. 

#4: Put Some Consequences Into Action

This will be the last time that you get to dish out the consequences for bad behaviour, as once they’re off to college they’ll be responsible for themselves. If you notice they are skipping a lot of school or their grades are dropping, don’t be afraid to put your foot down one final time and give them some form of punishment.

It’s likely that your teen has taken on quite the social life while they’re suffering from senioritis so make the punishment something they will really miss. Take away their driving privileges, cut off all technology, or ground them if you have to. It might seem dramatic to them, but you’re doing it for their benefit.


#5: Avoid the Nagging

Nagging rarely works on anyone, let alone a hormonal teenager who’s already checked out. Although it’s our job as parents to “remind” our kids about their responsibilities and what the rules are, this type of incessant nagging can actually have the opposite effect.

The best approach to take is having a chat with them as soon as you notice the behavior starting. Let them know what is expected of them in this final semester, remind them of the possible consequences that they haven’t thought of, and tell them what the consequences will be at home. If you need to, do up a behavior contract that states what you’re both responsible for, and then leave it at that. 

#6: Be Flexible With Their Social Schedules

While there’s no doubt that college is going to be a social time for your teens, keep in mind that they will also be saying goodbye to some of their lifelong friends. It’s rare that an entire group of teens would get into the same school and they might even be moving to other states and far away from each other.

socializing with friends

These final months they will likely want to socialize more, so you need to be flexible with their schedule. Make curfews a little later and give them some more allowances that will help them to fit their friends in, and they’ll be less likely to waste the time they do have to study. 

#7: Implement A Study Schedule

The final semester of high school is still an important one, but it’s one that might call for a new study schedule to be implemented at home. Talk to your teen and agree on a time each day or week that they will commit to studying, with no interruptions.

Something as small as prioritizing this time for their education will not only ensure they keep their grades up but will equip them with some time management skills that they can take into college. This dedication to study now will show them how far just a little bit of effort can go, and they’ll be more likely to use something similar with their higher education studies.


Approaching Senioritis With Caution

Teenagers sure can be a sensitive bunch, so we sometimes need to know when to take a step back. This is one of those times when you will really need to pick your battles. Unless you think they are seriously jeopardizing their future with their behavior, you can probably let things slide a little.

Senioritis can affect over half of all teens, and each and every one will show it differently and react to help differently. It’s all a matter of knowing your own child, what usually motivates them, and helping them to see the reality of how important this last year of schooling really is.

They only have a few months left and for them, it might seem as though these are their final moments of freedom before they start adulthood. By finishing the year with a strong work ethic and dedication to success, they’ll be able to carry this with them through college and life.


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