How to help with poor academic performance in your teen

Poor academic performance in your teen: These days our kids are under a lot of academic pressure than before. Now, they need to study many more hours to fulfil the demand of ‘good grades’.

There is too much pressure on teens as the subjects are more advanced. What was once taught in class 12 is now taught at class 8! Apart from these, the usual pressure of exams, terms, and reports also add to it.

Along with these pressures, many other factors also contribute to teens being unable to perform well at school.

I must say, teens with poor grades may lack the ability to get good grades at school, but they are definitely not underachievers. So, do not call them underachievers.

With proper guidance and help they can get good grades. And as parents it’s our responsibility to offer support if we find any of our children in a challenging situation with regard to studies.

However, do understand that some children have genuine learning related challenges that should be taken up with a special educator.

So how can we go about doing this?

 Topics covered in this Blog

Some facts of factors that cause learning disability in teens

At the start let’s look at some percentages of factors that cause poor academic performance

According to a research by U.S special education program in 2017-2018 school year the most common factors for challenges in learning for teens are as follows.

  • Specific learning Disability (35 %)
  • Speech or language Disorders (20%)
  • Health condition (13%)
  • Autism Spectrum disorder (9%)
  • Intellectual Disability (6%)
  • Development Delay (6%)
  • Hearing, orthopedic, and visual impairments, traumatic brain injuries& other less than 2%

Impact of poor academic performance in your teen

The common indicators of poor academic performance in your teen are mainly the following

  1. Low marks in tests and exams
  2. Having knowledge less than their current grade level
  3. Not able to complete academics and dropping out of an educational institution.

Risk Factors that can contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

Solutions for improving academic performance can be designed only when you know the contributing factors for the poor performance.

To do that, we have outlined below an exhaustive list of the risk factors that can contribute to poor academic performance in your teen.

Spend some time and go through the list that is given below and mark the different factors that you think could be affecting your teenager.

Individual risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

  • Having low self-confidence and self-esteem. A feeling of not being good enough or adequate.
  • Teens who are very moody, sensitive, withdrawn. Who can get easily hurt and have trouble getting over it.
  • Low concentration. They are unable to concentrate in class and as a result they are not able to understand the subject and perform well.
  • The child is not fluent in the medium (language) of education.
  • Lack of good communication skills. Where teen fail or struggle to articulate what they know.
  • Substance addiction or abuse issues (Such as drugs, alcohol, smoke etc.)
  • Other types of abuses (Domestic, physical, sexual etc)
  • Teens struggling from anxiety, depression, stress or other mental health conditions.
  • Teens who have problem with law, anger issues, aggression, violent behaviour, hyperactivity, risk taking behaviour etc.
  • Prior bad experiences in Schools.
  • Any physical health issues your teen is facing. This causes them to absent them from school often and they miss classes.

Family risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

  • Parents are not well educated and are not able to support learning at home.
  • Teens who come from a low socioeconomic status. Parents are unable to afford extra classes to tutor their children. This also leads to low exposure in comparison to their peers.
  • The teens Family structure (blended, single, step, foster etc…)
  • Parents availability and time for their children. Extremely busy parents who do not have time to monitor children’s activities.
  • Very high or very Low expectations form parents.
  • When parents are very strict or rigid
  • If parents have very low aspirations themselves.
  • When parents do not show interest or monitor their child’s activities out of sheer ignorance.

Peer risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

  • When your teen has no friends at school.
  • When your teen has friends, who are delinquents
  • If your teen has friends with negative outlook
  • When your teen’s friends have poor academic performance themselves
  • When there is a problem among friends at school.
  • Friends who socialise a lot and have other priorities.
  • Bullying: Not just from school but also from social media or from any other source. Read How-To PROTECT your teen from Cyber Bullying
  • When your teen faces social isolation from their social circles. This is also part of bullying and can affect your teen’s grades.

School risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

  • Schools with ineffective or disinterested teachers.
  • Schools that have very rigid curriculum.
  • When teen is not able to identify with school.
  • Mismatch in individual and expected learning style.
  • Schools that are not equipped to spot, address, and guide teenagers with problems.
  • Teens who have changed schools multiple times and find difficulty coping.
  • Schools that have poor administration support.
  • Very large sized schools that are not able to give personal attention and connect with your teen.
  • Schools that concentrate heavily on academics and have less opportunities for extracurricular activities
  • Schools that have conflicting values or Negative climate.
  • Teen dislikes the teacher or the particular subject.

Other common risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

  • Teen who have responsibilities beyond their age (Take care of siblings, handling adult jobs… etc)
  • If your teen must put in long or stressful work hours.
  • Teen who are overworked all the time. (Holding multiple jobs)
  • Teen who are not able to get adequate resources to help them with their academics.
  • There are some other factors in teens which can lead teens towards failure at school. For example specific learning disability, ADHD, dyslexia, high functioning autism, low IQ and many other. Students with such disabilities can show poor results at school.
  • Malnutrition. It does not only mean lack food. When a person doesn’t not have a balanced diet it leads to malnutrition as the needed nutrition will be deficit.
  • Too many distractions such as serial on TV, movies, games, social activities etc. This includes parents watching TV while the child is studying. Loud volume and the temptation to watch what the parents are watching are contributory factors as it will distract them from studying.
  • It could even be that your teen is just out right lazy or completely disinterested. They do not wish to put the effort needed to do well in academics.


More the risk factors that your teen has, the more it contributes to poor academic performance in your teen. The diagram below will substantiate this point.

Practical things parents can do to help their teens

Below we have listed some practical steps that parents can take for each of the cluster of risk factors that we have outlined above.

For Individual risk factors

There is no blanket solution for this cluster of risk factors. Because, each of the triggers need a different course of action to be taken.

For example, a teen struggling with abuse or bullying will need different interventions than a teen dealing with substance abuse.

So, the next steps are …

  1. Zero down on what are the individual risk factors that you think are contributing to poor academic performance in your teen
  2. Find out if there are any triggers that are causing this.
  3. Learn in detail about the risk factor to be more aware of the issue you have in hand.
  4. Design a solution plan to help them get over that challenge.

The common things to keep in mind are to be available for your teen, listen to them, spend time with them and love them unconditionally without any judgements.

To know in detail about most of these problems and how to deal with them you can browse through the articles we have written. You can use the link that is given here. Parenting challenges while raising teenagers

For Family risk factors

If you feel that it is the family risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen, then…

 The next steps are…

  • Introspect your parenting style
  • Make needed changes in the trigger factors to help your teen.
  • Make your home environment more conducive for your teen.
  • Pay more interest to your teen’s academic.
  • Talk and engage with your teen and set expectations

You might be interested in reading our articles…

  1. PARENTING STYLES – How to spot your style?
  2. How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager
  3. How-to stop teen from breaking rules

For Peer risk factors

If you feel that it is peer risk factors that is contributing to poor academic performance in your teen, then…

 The next steps are…

  • Find out the specifics of the issues your teen is facing.
  • Talk to your teen on peer pressures and how to navigate through it.
  • If your kid is facing bullying issues, then speak to school authorities for help.
  • You can also call out and speak to the bully’s parents on the issue.
  • Educate your teen on the types of friends and teach them on healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • Teach your teen social skills. Support them to make friends.

You might be interested in reading our articles…

For School risk factors

If you feel that it is the school risk factors that is contributing to poor academic performance in your teen, then…

 The next steps are…

  • Talk to your teen about the issue and understand the solution they have in mind.
  • Have a conversation with the schoolteacher.
  • Have conversations with other parents to understand their opinion about the school.
  • Talk to school authorities on your concerns to find solutions.
  • Offer to volunteer and help school improve their offering.
  • Explore other schools in the neighborhood and see if a shift will be of help.

You might be interested in reading our article How to help your teen adjust to new school.

Other common risk factors that contribute to poor academic performance in your teen

Once again there is no blanket solution for these risks. As each of the triggers need different course of actions to be taken.

So, the next steps are …

  • Find what the concern is
  • Find out what the trigger is
  • Gain knowledge on the issue
  • Work with your teen and device a solution.

You might be interested in reading our articles that can help you with this risk factor…

  1. How to Train you teenager to be smart
  2. How-To effectively discipline your teenager
  3. All You Need to know about Chores for Your Teenager

A dozen ways you can help your teen in their academic performance

Set your teen’s daily routine

Some teens don’t know to have a set daily routine. In this situation parents should come forward to help.

You can make a chart for their ease or you can tell them verbally. For example, you can say that they can chill for 30-40 minutes after their homework.

Find out the main factor of your teen’s poor result

I had mentioned various factor that contribute to a teen’s poor result at school. What you need to do is find out the exact cause of why your teen is falling behind in studies.

Once you spot out the exact cause then take steps in that perspective. Cause can be physical issues in teen or medical related issues or any mental health issue.

When you have done it monitor the progress and see if poor academic performance in your teen has improved.

Offer your support

Maybe you are thinking of some other things to help your teen in studies like an extra tutor or other school resources.

Beside all these supports your teen still need your help.

Encourage them on how they can get good grades. Take care of them and their studies.

The reason is that no one can replace the support of a mother or father. Be actively involved in their schoolwork and school activity.

Video time..

Some effective tips for the improvement of your child concentration in studies

Make a place for your teen’s studies

It’s also beneficial to set up a separate place for teens studies at home.

Try to decorate your teens study place with all the accessories they need during their study time. Like computer, notebook, pens, or books.

Set boundaries and rules to others in the family so tat they respect the place and not mess it up or play in that area.

Remove distractions

Try to remove all the distractions that can interrupt teen during their studies. It becomes difficult to focus on studies when there other external distractions.

Get your teen to switch off their cell phone during studies to avoid interruptions.

Encourage your teen to set a goal

Teens with goals usually perform well in their studies. For this reason, you should encourage your teen to set a clear goal and then study hard to achieve that goal.

Appreciate their effort not just the result. Have small celebratory events like a pizza party or a bar of chocolate for academic endeavors.

Get involved in your teen’s daily homework

Teens become more responsible when parents monitor teen’s daily homework assignments or tests.

This motivates them to get good grades. They also feel that their work is of importance to you. So, try to get involved in your teen daily school activities.

Get support at school

You can also get support from your teen’s schoolteacher. Try to have a meaningful conversation with your teen’s teachers and discuss the issues or causes of your teen poor performance at school.

Teachers often pay extra attention to students with poor grades, so it is a good idea to seek their help.

Offer rewards

It is also a good idea to offer some rewards for good grades. This thing can also encourage teens to get good grades.

Rewards might be little or big according to your family rules.

Build strong self confidence in your teen

Self-confidence is very important in teen’s over all personality. Teens with low self-confidence not only fall behind in studies but also in all other fields of life.

You cannot build a strong self confidence in your child overnight. This process takes time.

During their growing age, you must take care of all the aspects that can build strong self confidence in your teen.

Tell them they are not less than anyone. They can also perform well in studies with little effort. Such kind of conversations encourage them for positive changes.

Spend some time and read our article How to develop self-confidence in your teenager To give you some insights.

Consider Mental Health Issues in Teens

Teens with mental illness face difficulty in their studies and homework. It becomes hard to study when someone feels depressed or stressed.

If you notice any signs of depression or chronic stress in your teen, try to seek help from a counselor.

Because, no matter how much you are push for good grades unless your child has good mental health, you will not see a change in grades.

So, it’s necessary to take care of their mental health.

Our article How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager can give you some insights into this issue.

Be patient and Consistent

Resolving the issue of poor academic result in teens may take longer periods as it is a difficult and challenging process for the teen also.

So, parents should show patience during the process as patience is key to keep stress under control in you and your teen.

Also be consistent in your effort. Being fully present one day and completely not available another, making a big issue out of poor grades once and not bothering about it another time will not send a good message to your teen and there will be very little to no change in the academic performance of your teen.

An important Note to Parents

At the end I want to tell you the most important thing that you should follow for the wellbeing of your teens.

Maybe you have a child who is more intelligent than the other. Maybe you face no difficulty in school for one child but you are seeing poor school result in the other.

Or maybe your child gets the highest grades in some subjects and in other subjects they score low.

It’s natural. Don’t try to compare your teen with others be it their peers or siblings.

It not only destrosy your child’s self-esteem but they could become poorer in studies.

You can motivate your teens to help each other in studies, but never give preference to one over other.

I have seen many examples where parents usually prefer their child who is brilliant in studies than one who is poor in academics.

Understand your teen’s potential and set expectations as per that. Teach them to give and do their very best. Do not have very high or low expectations that can either make your teen very anxious or too lazy.


Studies or grades should not define your love for your child. Try to give unconditional love to your teen. Tell them they are your priority and you love them without any condition. Be nonjudgmental about their abilities or effort.

Have a conducive environment in the house and participate in their life.

With proper diagnosis of the issue that is causing poor academic performance in your teen, it is easy to address the issue and take necessary help to progress.

And in a short while you will have one happy teen who is performing well in their academic and is all set out to face the world positively.

God Bless!!

If this article has been of help to you. Do show love by sharing the article with your friends and loved ones.

Let us know the strategies you have used to get your teen improve their academic performance. Please leave your comments below.

Thabitha David

Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend. She is a MBA Graduate specialized in Human Resources. She is a very proud mother of 3 Kids. (2 Teens & 1 Tween). She is a keen Observer of Life and is a blogger. She writes these articles based on her experience (Success and Failures). She does this with hope to help and ease the pain of at-least one parent as they face the challenges of parenting. Read more from the About Us Page

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1 Response

  1. August 25, 2020

    […] This involvement and monitoring also helps in good academic performance while it also helps to knock laziness out of your teenager. To know more read our article How to help with poor academic performance in your teen […]

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