Help for my High Achieving Teen

How to Help My High Achieving Teen

Swim team captain. First chair violinist. Quiz bowl champion. Straight A student. Perfectionist. Anxious. Sad. Withdrawn.

Teens who are high academic achievers are often also heavily involved in extracurricular activities and leadership roles. Add a job or volunteer work, lessons, or a college search to that and you may end up with a teen who is overwhelmed. This is often when they end up in therapy. Sometimes clients come into therapy because they are having trouble sleeping or they have started experiencing panic. Others have started using drugs or withdrawn to the point of isolation. Once-happy children have become overachieving teenagers, and the idea of success that once drove them has led them to feel highly anxious.

Parents and other adults can help teens in a few simple ways:

  1. Support balance in their lives, and make sure to include their social life. Spending time with friends and having a sense of community outside of their home is an important and appropriate part of healthy development for teens.
  2. Teach them how to manage a heavy load. Help your teen to learn about time management, time away from social media, and prioritizing tasks.
  3. Dispel the myth of perfectionism. Describing the concept of “good enough” can help them address obsessive thoughts that may lead them to never feeling good enough.
  4. Give them permission to say no. High achievers are also often over achievers who have never been told that it’s okay to turn down opportunities.
  5. Model all of those things for your child. There is a strong chance that a child with perfectionism learned by watching. How can you model balance in your own life? Talk to your teen about your own struggles with these steps.  

With support and guidance, teens can recognize their inherent value regardless of achievements, grades, and trophies. They will start to see the beauty of mistakes and the value in downtime. Most importantly, they will develop healthy insight and a stronger sense of self-worth.

How have you been successful at helping your teen achieve balance? Contact one of our school specialists to help your teen: Katie Fleuriet, M.S.W., LICSW

Blog post written by Sentier therapist, Sarah Souder Johnson, MEd, LPCC

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Home/About this blog

Families are our passion! I, Megan, do most the writing for this blog, and am a therapist in St. Paul, MN. Other therapists at Sentier respond to blog posts, though I write most of the content. We work primarily with teenagers, families, and college-aged young adults. We use this blog to share parenting tips, information about family therapy and adolescent/teen counseling, and many other things. Much of this blog is dedicated to teenagers and parenting teenagers because we spend a great deal of time helping teens and families of teens. I typically write about topics that can’t be ignored in our practice. We can’t ignore these topics because many of you (parents and teens) come to us to discuss these issues.

Please check back periodically if these topics are of interest to you. We’d love to hear your thoughts about the topics I write about or requests that you might have for our next blog post. Please email me directly if you have a subject area that you would like me to blog about: msigmon[at]sentiertherapy[dot]com

Megan Sigmon-Olsen, M.S.W., LICSW
670 South Cleveland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55116

www.sentiertherapy.com

Sentier Psychotherapy Stillwater MN

 

 

 

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