Teens Today and Their Barriers to Academic Success

November 9th, 2020 | in Academic Barriers
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“Why are your grades low?” “Why can’t you just concentrate on your homework?” “Why are you always distracted?” These are just some of the questions teens face on a daily basis from their parents & teachers but today’s teens are facing some tremendous barriers that are impacting their grades, mental health, and relationships.

These are some of the most common barriers facing teens.


Teen Anxiety

This is the #1 issue amongst youth today. Anxiety from time to time is normal but when it becomes a dominant factor and starts affecting your day to day life it’s a problem. If your anxiety is intense and prevents you from doing things that you would normally enjoy such as hanging out with your friends, being in a social environment, getting a job or doing volunteer work, withdrawing from extra-curricular activities and not doing your homework it has a negative effect on your life and  this needs to be addressed right away. 


Teen Depression

Depression is a medical illness that can interfere with your day to day life. It affects daily activities such as sleeping, eating and doing your homework. Feelings of depression can range from being sad all the time, feeling worthless and helpless to more severe feelings such as suicide. At times you may feel like you are the only one dealing with depression but it is quite common and treatable. Depression should not be taken lightly and if you have any symptoms you should seek medical help immediately.


Effects of Social Media on Teens

There are many advantages to social media such as easily being connected to your family/friends, learning new skills, fast and easy communication, being connected to the larger community during a crisis and getting information quickly. There are many disadvantages as well such as social media addiction (which is on the rise), information overload, insecurities about your self-image, enhances your fear of missing out or not being included and being less productive which means grades and school work suffers. 


Bullying: There are 4 common types of bullying:

Verbal- name-calling, spreading rumors, teasing

Physical-hitting, punching, poking, shoving and inappropriate touching

Social-mobbing, scapegoating, excluding and humiliating others in public

Cyberbullying- using the internet or other electronic devices such as cell phones to intimidate or put down others or to spread rumors.

Bullying is frightening and causes feelings of loneliness, being unhappy and upset. Teens can lose confidence and start missing school due to stomach aches, headaches, panic attacks. Other signs of bullying might be withdrawal from activities, not sleeping, sleeping too much, being exhausted, nightmares and feeling shy. 


Parents/Family Influence on Success

Parents mean well for their children but may not realize that their behavior and actions could be causing added stress and as a result lower grades in school. Ongoing arguments amongst couples, divorce or separation, violence in the household, harsh and unnecessary punishments, laying feelings of guilt, death of a loved one, illness in the family, moving to a different school, financial troubles and certain expectations are all reasons for added stress that negatively affects school grades.


Career Decisions: Making it through high-school is challenging enough but the decision on what to do with your life after school can cause significant stress where you are not able to concentrate on school and ultimately your grades suffer. There are many decisions such as which career path, university/college, cost of education, grades needed to go to post-secondary, what you want to do vs. what your parents want you to do. All these factors are overwhelming for any teen in high-school.


This article touches on some of the common barriers to Academic Success and to tackle these on your own can be challenging. If you are struggling with any of these barriers, engaging with a Life Coach who specializes in youth/teens can be tremendously beneficial to not only achieving academic success but overall health and well-being.

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