Are the pressures of back-to-back mid-term tests and standardized college entrance exams sending your confident teen into a complete craze?
A tiny amount of anxiety isn’t bad—it’s actually helpful to be “up” when preparing for and taking a test, but negative thoughts can throw your teen off their study schedule and also distract them or make him/her freeze up during the test. Do you ever hear your teen speak or share with you these types of negative self-talk?
● I always do poorly on tests.
● I’m going to flunk this test.
● If I don’t pass this test, I’m a failure.
● Everyone else is so much smarter than I am.
● I won’t ever be able to get into a college.
One-way to recognize that thoughts are negative is when they’re extreme (“I’m so dumb”) or in all-or- nothing terms (“If I don’t pass, I’m finished”).
The time to deal with negative thoughts is now, before the test.
Teen Last Minute Test Prep Tool:
SITUATION: Your teen has negative thoughts.
CURE: Ask them to counter them with positive thoughts and actions.
Take out a piece of paper and have them write their negative thoughts in a column. Then, for each one, ask them to write a positive thought that argues against it.
Here are some examples:
One particular kind of negative thinking that affects more people than you might realize is perfectionism.
Do you find your teen procrastinating when they should be studying for a test? It may be because they (or you) set an unrealistic goal for themselves. It may be that they’re waiting until the last minute to study so that they can give themselves an excuse for not doing well. (Have they ever done this with homework assignments?)
Here are some examples of perfectionist thoughts and the realistic thoughts that argue against them:
Save this list (and ask your teen to add to it when necessary). Whenever they find those negative thoughts coming back, remind them of all the positive things they have going for them.
~Julie Brower, Certified Teen Life Coach, Health Coach & Teen Yoga Teacher, has helped hundreds of teen girls gain knowledge, tools, confidence and courage to make decisions from a place of self-knowledge, self-respect and strength. Through one-on-one coaching, group workshops, events, parties and movement, Julie connects with girls on their level and gets results.