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How does a teenager cope with procrastination

Procrastination, or the tendency to postpone important things for later, creates the illusion of freedom. It makes people think they have a lot of time, but it steals that time. Procrastination is like a carefree game, but often turns into feelings of guilt and anxiety.

A person subject to procrastination experiences a false sense of security. He is optimistic that the situation is under control and there is no hurry. He often underestimates the time it takes to complete a task (for example, he may think that the work will take 30 minutes, while objectively it takes 2 hours). Therefore, procrastination begins with a feeling of lightness and fun, but then you have to pay for it, feeling fear, anxiety, helplessness and anger at yourself.

However, the habit of doing nothing is very difficult to change: a person who is inclined to postpone things for later, is sure that there is nothing wrong with it. A good grade (or sometimes just a grade that allows you to move to the next grade) is a good proof that the system works and that it is more efficient to perform work under pressure.

Unfortunately, when we postpone things for later, we pay for it not only with our time. We have the mistaken belief that work must necessarily be unpleasant. Although a person subject to procrastination learns to avoid work, they do not develop important skills such as planning, organization, thinking, and attention to detail.

Fighting procrastination is difficult because it is an attempt to solve problems that a person may not be aware of (such as anger, perfectionism, or self-doubt). Although procrastination removes the anxiety associated with these problems, they themselves remain unresolved.

Causes of procrastination

Spite. The main reason for procrastination is anger. Teenagers who resent the power of parents and teachers may delay or do half-hearted work. For teenagers who feel powerless, open resistance is not appropriate, because the consequences will be too great. However, these teenagers want to get what they want. This form of revenge is manipulative and passive-aggressive, but at the same time very effective, because it disarms people who have power over teenagers (parents, teachers, etc.). It doesn’t matter that procrastination is a kind of self – sabotage: teenagers are more interested in independence than grades in school. In effect, the teenager is eliminated from work by saying, ” You can’t tell me what to do. I’ll do the job when I’m ready.”

The position of the victim. Despite the fact that a person subject to procrastination is himself a hostage of his actions, he considers himself a victim of those who direct him and expect results from him. He feels that he is in a situation in which a happy outcome is impossible: both performance and non-performance of the work cause him discomfort. He always feels that he has a job to do, but he never does it of his own accord.

In the case of teenagers, it might look like this. A teenager at school does not like chemistry, because it is asked a lot of tasks, and this infuriates the teenager. Chemistry is bad for him, and he realizes that he will not be able to correctly perform tasks, so he does not even try to do it. Besides, there’s an exam coming up, and he has to pass it, but he knows he can’t do it. Therefore, the whole situation seems terribly unfair to the teenager: the subject is too complex, and the teacher does not explain clearly (the teenager may say: “He is in too much of a hurry when he explains, “” He does not like me,” etc.).

15-year-old Zhenya says that the position of the victim caused him a lot of difficulties in school: “Studying at school did not bring me pleasure. I didn’t know how to do my homework at all. My classmates, my brother, and my peers did their homework every night, and I couldn’t. And that made me all the more convinced that I was a victim of circumstance. It made me angry that my parents didn’t appreciate my efforts.”

Others saw in his Wife only apathy and neglect of learning, although in fact they hid a sense of shame. Zhenya was ashamed of his inability to study and the fact that he could not do anything about it.

Diffidence. Zhenya is not alone in his problem. His apathy and anger are associated with self-doubt. Teenagers who experience something like this feel hopeless. Over the years, they have questioned their own abilities and whether they have what they want. This is especially common in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or in children with learning disabilities. When children are in the lower grades, they are better able to get away from work. But when school becomes more difficult, they put less effort into it, believing that the study is too difficult, and they are not smart enough. They do not attempt to perform tasks because the probability of failure is high and this can reveal their lack of ability.

Perfectionism. A pefectionist can delay the start of a project only because he is confused by the idea of how much energy it will take to complete the project perfectly. He is inclined to think that he “must” do the job.

Parents rarely perceive their children as perfectionists, rather the opposite. However, most perfectionists suffer from an inner feeling that they are not able to cope with the work. Under their desire to do work perfectly hide problems with self-esteem. High standards are good: they make us strive for more.

When a person does not recognize that he cannot meet these standards, he develops perfectionism. Procrastinating perfectionists set unrealistic expectations and then avoid work so as not to experience the anxiety it causes.

Although many adults are prone to procrastination, it is a sign of immaturity in adolescents. When they get to work, they can’t enjoy it until it’s finished. Also, they can’t cope with frustration and anxiety when learning something new. You may hear a teenager say, ” It’s not fair, it’s too hard.”

Parents should teach the teenager to look at such situations from the position of “I think I can”. It is also necessary to set expectations for the teenager, allowing him to exercise independence and control the situation. This is the only way to develop the inner motivation needed to do the job.

Consider a few tips that parents can use to help a teenager cope with procrastination.

Don’t fall for rational explanations. Let’s face it: people who are prone to procrastination are liars. They regularly lie to themselves about how much time they need to do the job, concluding that there is enough time to do everything perfectly. Such a lie is called rationalization. To deal with procrastination, it is necessary to recognize rationalization and point it out to the person who uses it. For example, when your child uses one of the above phrases, show him the whole list and ask if he is familiar with such situations:

“I’m more productive when I don’t have much time, so I wait until there’s not much time left, and then I can do well»;
“If I wait, I will be able to quickly write this article»;
“If I sit down to work now, I’ll miss an episode of my favorite show»;
«Relax. It’s just one mission. The world won’t collapse if I don’t make it»;
“I don’t know how to do it, so I’ll wait until I figure something out»;
“It’s easier for me to do this job when I’m feeling good, so I’ll wait until my mood is normal»;
“Last time I did everything at the last moment, and everything turned out well. Why not do the same now?”no.”

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