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Anger & frustration

At a Glance: Signs of Frustration in Your High-Schooler

By Kate Kelly

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The demands of high school and preparing for life after graduation can be frustrating for teens with learning and attention issues. Here are some signs that your child may be frustrated—and advice on how to help.

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At a Glance: Signs of Frustration in Your High-Schooler

When teens feel frustrated by their learning and or attention issues, it isn’t always clear from their behavior. Here’s help looking below the surface to find out what’s really going on.

What you’re seeing:

Your child cut chemistry class after failing a test. His explanation? “I’m not learning anything. Class is a waste of time.”

What may be happening:
The fact that your child is barely passing chemistry, even though he studies, is getting to him. He sees no point in trying.
What to do:
Schedule a meeting with your child, his teacher and his case manager to get him on track. You also might consider tutoring. As a last resort, you can ask whether he can drop the class.

What you’re seeing:
Your child won’t work on his college application essay and refuses your help.

What may be happening:
Your child may worry that he won’t be accepted by any college at all, no matter what his essay says.

What to do:
Give him short-term goals with deadlines. If he’s writing an essay about himself, help him get started by making a list of things you find interesting about him.

What you’re seeing:
The chemistry teacher asked your child for his homework, and he said breezily, “Oh, I didn’t get to that.” His peers think he’s funny but the teacher is tired of his attitude.

What may be happening:
Your child may be covering up the fact that he can’t do the work. Being seen as funny or even as having a behavior problem is better than being perceived as dumb.

What to do:
Encourage your child to ask the teacher for help. (You can request a meeting, too.) Consider tutoring or study groups. You may also need to check that he completes and turns in homework.
Graphic of At a Glance: Signs of Frustration in Your High-Schooler
Graphic of At a Glance: Signs of Frustration in Your High-Schooler

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About the Author

Portrait of Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly

Kate Kelly has been writing and editing for more than 20 years, with a focus on parenting.

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Reviewed by Jenn Osen-Foss, M.A.T. May 10, 2014 May 10, 2014

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