Example of learned helplessness:
Your high school student has low grades and he/she fails to show up for test, saying, “What’s the point, no way going to pass”?
Kids have lots of pressures surrounding them today to succeed.
– You have to make grades to get into college
– Extra-curricular participation and success
– Numerous responsibilities/ activities and not enough hours in the day.
– Social media and comparing selves to others.
With these pressures coming in all directions some kids will begin to check-out and give up.Giving up and not trying can become a defensive mechanism and thinking filter.
If giving up and not putting forth a try becomes a pattern then here are some things to do:
– Use conscience decision to go ahead and make an effort to do something they may feel uncomfortable with. Just trying gives a person the ability to see that they might be wrong.
– Parents, talk to kids about seeing this pattern in them and explain what it is and this pattern can be broken. Unless they make an effort to break the cycle of this thinking it will become more ingrained in their response patterns.
– Have the child confide in a support person (family, friend, teacher, coach, pastor, etc.) who can help them spot the learned helplessness they are exhibiting and help them developed more positive thinking around perceived challenges. This will help shed the negative thinking filter.
– Get in the habit of pushing through the small things. Push yourself to make an effort and try different things. By doing the little things this will lead to the ability to do the bigger things.
Parenting Challenge: If you see your kids becoming overwhelmed and beginning to put little to no effort into things talk to them. Help them to prioritize their responsibilities/ activities by what is a necessity (school, etc.) and what they really want to do with those that are not so important and they have less interest in. It may be that cutting out some of these activities is what is needed to get them back on track.