Is your teen reaching their potential Check out these 5 reason why your teen isnt succeeding at school
Is your teen reaching their potential Check out these 5 reason why your teen isn't succeeding at school

High school is a critical springboard into college and adult life, and while it’s meant to be a period of learning and growth, it can also be a trying time for the adolescents navigating it.

It can be hard to pinpoint precisely what issues lie behind teenagers’ struggles in school, but a handful of key issues rise to the top that every parent of teenagers should be aware of as they try to help their children succeed to the best of their capabilities.

5 Reasons Why Teens Don’t Reach their Potential at School

By Issac Church

By learning and understanding these reasons of why teens don’t reach their potential at school, you can change the path for your child to succeed!

Social, mental, and emotional difficulties

Teen years are incredibly turbulent, with raging hormones, constantly shifting social landscapes, romantic relationships beginning and ending, physical and mental changes and development, and much more.

But while these kinds of changes are expected, they can also be exacerbated by mental health issues like depression and anxiety. (which continues to rise among teenagers.)

Thus, it’s important for any parent to be keyed in to their teenager’s mental and emotional health. Be open and available to them, and to seek outside help if more serious conditions start to surface and affect their daily life.

Gaps in knowledge

The curriculum for just about any subject in school is additive – it takes knowledge and concepts from previous years and builds on them further with each subsequent course.

And while this type of curriculum makes a lot of sense, it also means that, if any key concepts are missed or not fully understood, it can be almost impossible to succeed at higher levels in that subject.

The new information and concepts won’t be fully understood, and then the process continues to snowball as the student falls farther and farther behind.

So if your teen’s report card has suddenly taken a dive in certain subject areas, it’s worth considering that they may have missed something from the previous semester.

With that in mind, you, a teacher, or even a tutor can work backwards and catch your teenager back up to speed.

Memorizing facts instead of deep processing

Sometimes knowing the facts is good enough to get through certain courses – or even entire years in school.

But as your teenager moves through high school and into more difficult classes, this becomes more difficult to get away with – and their marks will suffer for it.

The key to overcoming this is for them to improve at deep processing – actively using the information they learn, rather than just remembering and regurgitating it at the appropriate time.

And while this can be a tough skill to master, having your child focus more on English coursework is one potential way to improve their deep processing skills so that they can achieve even higher.

A lack of previous (healthy) failures

While failing is generally seen as a negative outcome, it’s also a vital learning experience.


If your teenager has generally done pretty well in school but is now having a much more difficult time, it might be because they’ve never struggled before and they aren’t sure how to cope with it.

Never having failed means they probably don’t have a solid strategy for dealing with academic difficulties – if they’ve never had to study, they won’t know how to start when it suddenly becomes necessary.

If this seems to be the case with your teen, make sure that they have the right resources available to teach them how to strategize and overcome this new obstacle.

Why Teens Don’t Reach their Potential at School

The pressure to succeed affects us all, but it can be especially apparent among teens making their way through the social and academic labyrinth that is high school.

As a parent, though, you’re in a unique position to keep tabs on your teenager’s situation and identify the potential underlying problems holding them back – so that they can clear these final hurdles and be every bit as successful as they can be.

Alicia Trautwein is an Autism advocate, writer, motivational speaker, and dedicated mom of four. Alicia’s desire to advocate for Autism comes from her own autism diagnosis and that of her three children, niece, and brother. Her life’s mission is to educate on autism acceptance and change the world for future generations of autistic individuals.

Convenient Online Speech Therapy. At Home. On Your Schedule.


  1. Thank you for this insightful post, Issac. When your teen’s grades start to suffer, it can be hard to know how to help them! Getting to the root cause could make all the difference. I especially appreciated the reminder that kids need help learning how to fail. When you have the resiliency skills as an adult, you don’t always remember how hard it was to learn them. A special thank you to Alicia for posting this great article!

  2. Thank you for you kind words! And you are so right, we often take for granted what we learned and how we figured it out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like...