Off Task and Needing Direction

Off Task and Needing Direction

What’s preventing your teen from getting the job done?

It’s getting worse.

Discouraging reports from the teachers of your teenage daughter – “She’s always off task and needing directions.” “She is constantly talking in class.” “Failing grades are due to her inability to take class notes.” “The project was started, but never finished.”

Your daughter’s response – “School is boring.” “How is this project going to help me in life?” “I won’t be using algebra as a writer!”

Usually there is truth in both arguments.

Yet, increasing factors are working against your teenager.

The largest being the ubiquitous nature of technology and the release of dopamine in the brain. The science is telling us that, yes, this really is happening, to all of us, when the notification setting on our smart phone apps are set to chime, ring, and ding. [vibrate] The moment any of these recognized notifications go off, squirt, squirt. Dopamine is release in the brain, making it difficult for your teen to focus.

It gets worse.

Dopamine is not so much associated with pleasure, as much as it connected to making humans want, desire, seek out, and search. This is that irresistible urge to grab the device, even though you, or your teen, might be careening down the highway at 75 MPG. Affected is your teen’s performance levels in school as well.

Solution? Turn all app notifications off on your teen’s device, except those that she uses for self-management and communications with you. And make sure this is in the written technology usage agreement with your teen. Wait, what? You don’t have an agreement?

Other tips to do to assist your teen in her attempts at staying focused and completing tasks are to make chores interesting, using incentives, and always dish out the positive verbal rewards graciously before, during, and after the work is finished.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons



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