Teen Academic Issues

Teens today are faced with a myriad of struggles, and not all fit into the mold of a traditionally diagnosed disorder. Anything that makes you feel as though you are “different” than the norm is worth exploring even if you aren’t the type of “sick” that most people associate with treatment programs, therapies, and medications. It’s not uncommon for teens who develop mental health disorders to start with experiencing something less recognizable. Teen academic issues, for example, are often a sign that something more serious is brewing.

What Do Teen Academic Issues Look Like?

  • Teen stress levels have grown exponentially in the past several years. While teens feel more comfortable talking about thanks to an environment that is more accepting of mental health discussions, they also acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead.
  • It’s easy to recognize how a tough job market, the lack of opportunity, low salaries, and competition in college lead to stress; teens feel driven to do better, which creates additional anxiety.
  • Bullying, both online and off, has also reached new heights. The online world creates additional tension and can brutally attack teen’s ability to maintain self-esteem. School shootings add another layer of stress, and have been widely publicized, creating further anxiety and depression. Even today’s political landscape is more difficult to hide.
  • The stress of today’s major life issues can make it difficult for teens to maintain reasonable focus on home and school responsibilities. These, combined with normal friendship and relationship issues, cause emotional turmoil leading to teen academic issues.

Signs of Teen Academic Issues

Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco

Fear of not fitting in

Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco

Concern about failure

Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco


Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco

Withdrawal and isolation

Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco

Insomnia or hypersomnia

Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco

Irritability or anger

What Causes Teen Academic Issues?

Intense Pressure – Stress is a common cause of academic issues. No two teens are alike and and each individual has a threshold for stress. While some teens seem to thrive under pressure, others might crumble under the same workload. While there are several methods for dealing with stress, your teen may simply shut down if they encounter too much of it.

Grief – Any sort of loss, whether from a death or a breakup, can be devastating to a teen. No matter what the cause, teens need time to process their emotions. An inability to face the issues, for any reason, can lead to deeper emotional issues later on.

Mental health – Not all teens with issues are diagnosed with mental health disorders right away. A lot of teens show signs that something may be developing. In some cases, a trip or two to a therapist or psychiatrist can help you to identify developing issues, whether or not they actually need treatment. Never be afraid to seek professional help if you feel your teen is having trouble.

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Teen Academic Issues | Paradigm San Francisco


of teens in high school report feeling high levels of daily stress


of teens admit stress makes them feel sad or depressed


of teens admit they don’t make time to deal with stress

How Can I Help My Teen with Their Academic Issues?

Be Supportive – Your teen needs to know you aren’t judging them, and that it’s not only normal, but ok, to struggle. While it is tough to watch your teen struggle, your role is to support them as they find their path. Watching your teen fail at something may be uncomfortable, but it’s much worse to give up than it is to fail and try again. Encourage your teen to keep moving.

Help Them Cope – Stress can be uncomfortable, but ignoring it only makes matters worse. As adults, we know what it’s like to face difficulties; we also know what it’s like to try to ignore them, making things worse. Encourage your teen to create healthier coping habits, whether that means going to therapy or taking up a physical activity where they can let off some steam.

Be Their Partner in Wellness – Proper stress management is multifactorial. It’s important to fuel our bodies with healthy food choices, communicate with other people, practice proper sleep hygiene, and spend our free time on healthy activities. What can you and your teen do to improve in these areas?

What Types of Treatment Are Available for Teen Academic Issues?

The most important part of any treatment plan is remembering that each teen is unique. Every situation must be approached from a holistic standpoint, carefully considering all areas of a teen’s life.

Helping teens with academic issues isn’t always about getting better grades, hiring a tutor, or being the best in the class. While it’s important to have academic goals, it’s more important to make sure your teen is can move through life in a healthy, confident manner. They need to be able to address life’s stressors, whether they are related to school or not.

Talk Therapy

It’s not always easy to get teens to open up, but you may be surprised at how much relief they feel when they finally do. In many cases, teens don’t realize that talking is a stress management technique in and of itself, giving them opportunities to sort through their feelings.

Believe it or not, the majority of teens don’t recognize the impact stress can have on physical health. They don’t understand how damaging it can be, or that there are physical consequences.

An experienced therapist can help your teen put their feelings into words, learn to better identify and understand their stressors, and how to better deal with it all.

Alternative Therapies

In some cases, it is helpful for teens to try new things so they can take their minds off of school stress. While this may mean participating in a sport or trying a new hobby, some teens actually need less stimulation instead of more.

Other alternatives that are more relaxing may include massage, yoga, and meditation. Your teen may also be interested in aromatherapy, art or music therapy, or even journaling.

Academic Help

In instances where a teen is truly struggling academically, bringing in a tutor may be helpful. While some teens need tutors due to learning disabilities, teens struggling with stress may simply have trouble processing information while in class. A tutor may help them to learn better in a quieter atmosphere.

A tutor may give your teen the opportunity to focus on the lessons that need to be learned without having to process a lot of classroom stimulation. The structure of a one-on-one tutoring session may be exactly what your teen needs to relieve some of their academic stress and anxiety.

Teen Academic Issues at Paradigm San Francisco

While you might think it’s a bit much to treat academic issues alone, it’s important to remember that your teen’s learning problems may be stemming from a deep seated place. Teens today need to be given the opportunity to learn how to function as relaxed, positive adults. They don’t deserve to grow up in constant fear, afraid of the future, or anxious about what is happening each day. Their diminished views of humanity and society are leading to low self-esteem and self-confidence. Sometimes, a break from the school atmosphere is just what they need.

A Break from School

Paradigm has a number of locations in the San Francisco area, each designed to offer the teens who visit the atmosphere and amenities necessary for healing. We fully evaluate each of our teens to determine what holistic treatments are appropriate for their unique set of symptoms.

Not all teens think they need help, but many really do. While some teens would prefer to label themselves as lazy, most have academic troubles because they’re hiding underlying anxieties or mental health issues, whether they realize it or not. Our professional therapists work hard to put teens at ease, help them understand the pressures they’re feeling, and learn new coping mechanisms.

Professional Staff

Believe it or not, a large number of teens admit to feeling anxious or depressed at some point in time. As a matter of fact, close to two-thirds of those enrolled in college openly admit to having felt anxiety on a more serious level.

There is nothing wrong with admitting to feeling stressed out about school --- it’s normal. We all handle stress differently, whether it’s from school or work. There is nothing wrong with seeking out support. As we become an honest society, we can become a supportive society.

Outstanding! I believe Paradigm saved our daughters life and taught me invaluable things about how as her mother I can best support her in her journey to healing.

– Dee.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Academic Issues

What if I need therapy but don’t have time for it?

A lot of people have passing feelings of anxiety or depression. Others feel these symptoms on a regular basis but choose to ignore them. Ignoring these feelings allows them to turn into a permanent part of your life, adding to the challenges you’ll face on a daily basis.

The sooner you acknowledge you have a problem, the sooner you can seek treatment; hopefully heading a mental health disorder off at the pass. While you can’t necessarily make these disorders disappear completely, you can learn to manage them before the symptoms progress. You’ll maintain control of your life and avoid a life of pain and suffering.

Don’t ignore your mental health. It’s important and you deserve help. Please seek help if you aren’t feeling right.

Are today’s teens really more stressed than ever before?

Some people argue that teens today are more stressed than teens in the past; but others argue that teens in the past had a different idea of what it meant to be stressed out. That said, there’s a basis for the argument that today’s teens do experience higher stress levels in general.

Teens today are exposed to more technology and social media, sleep less, and lack deeper social relationships. They’ve been bullied, are confused by advertising, and are constantly bombarded by controversial ideas. Today’s teens are so busy they don’t even have time to be bored.

Parents can help remedy some of these situations. Work with your teens to create manageable schedules and institute curfews, ensuring some of their time is spent away from technology. Give them responsibilities and choices, including finances, meal prep, and objective discussions of the news. Help them avoid media outlets that sensationalize the news and help them to identify content that is purposely designed to be misleading so they can learn to avoid it.

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