Burned Out, Exhausted Students Need Parent Support This Holiday


As we near the end of the school semester and the holidays approach, many families of middle and high school students, and even college students will notice that some of your kids are sinking. Perhaps you haven’t noticed before because the pace was hectic in the thick of the semester, but on the holiday break, there will be ample time to observe the low that has hit.

It’s usually around this time of year when the signs of trouble become apparent. Maybe she’s missed too many deadlines and she’s stopped trying to catch up. Or maybe he has been playing video games instead of getting the sleep he needs. Exhausted students begin to show the symptoms of distress about now. 

  • Exhausted students look tired and perpetually unhappy.

  • Exhausted students lack energy, physically and emotionally.

  • If exhausted students aren’t depressed, they are well on the way and need to help to stay out of a clinical crisis.

What’s a parent or other supportive adult to do when you see that you kid looks burned out before the midpoint of the academic year has even arrived?

1.     Step in and have a talk

Don’t shy away from the obvious. Ask what’s happening with school, and make it clear that you are here to help.

2.     Address avoidance

Avoidance is the largest ingredient in the recipe for a sinking student. Academic problems compound when they try to ignore them. Tackle any avoidance first.

3.     Walk them through the process of asking for help

Many exhausted, burned out students need to get back on track with the help of a teacher or professor. Maybe a project is late, or classes have been missed. It’s time to reach out and ask for help from the person in charge: that teacher or professor. Parents can sit in support while emails are drafted, or for younger students, request a conference.

4.     Create order together

Your overwhelmed student may be shutting down, unsure where or how to get started. Assisting with organization and planning may be the most helpful thing a parent can do.

5.     Set them up for success, and follow along with the progress

Creating a structured plan to get back on track is not enough. You’ll need to follow along, to ensure that the steps are taken.

6.     Implement accountability

Your student has to answer back for her progress. Find out if the work is getting done, and make sure the expectations and repercussions are clear.


Posted on November 5, 2018 .