End of the school year stumbles are common for teenagers. These trip-ups yield many-a-lecture and fun-crushing restrictions from parents. Though valid, lectures fall on deaf, summer-obsessed ears. Teens typically utilize defensive posturing (it’s everyone else’s fault) and then strategically shift to a proactive approach (I’ll do better next year). The good news? Each school year brings opportunity for course-correction and provides a chance to test the limits of teenage promises. And while there are no guarantees, several strategies can increase the odds.

Resist dwelling on last year’s results. While revisiting last year’s pitfalls can hold limited value, spending too much time rehashing the past depletes energy and drains emotions. Instead of micro-analyzing specifics, pivot to a macro-analytic approach. Macro-analysis is more solution oriented; it evaluates larger trends like attendance, work completion or time management, and uses the data to create better systems moving forward. Macro-analytics can identify specific areas of improvement, without opening a can of bad report-card worms.

Meet weekly with your teen. Regular communication is vital to maintaining a pulse on your teen’s academics. Rather than waiting for negative triggers to engage with your teen, establish a standing weekly meeting. Regularly scheduled meetings reduce smaller drive-by interactions (you know, nagging) and decrease avoidance strategies by teens. Talking solely in the context of have-to and should-do will drive your teen away. Anticipated meetings are more tolerable for teens and helpful for parents. They identify relevant markers like upcoming tests, study plans, obligations, teacher issues and stress levels. They also bring families together to problem-solve and collaboratively tackle minor roadblocks before they become insurmountable setbacks.

Establish bite-sized goals. Large-scale goals are important, but not the best use of time when supporting a teenager’s academic life. Help your teen replace statements like I’m going to get straight A’s with statements like I will complete all assignments this week; or I’m going to get a 100% on my test with I will study nightly for my test. Bite-sized goals are easier to accomplish, build confidence and replace nagging with positive affirmations. Bite-sized goals lead to buffet-sized results for your teen.

Ditch negativity. You never; you can’t; you won’t; you’re not. Phrases like these need to go. Teenagers are highly suggestible and negative comments quickly settle into their subconscious. Sure, there are scenarios for tough talk, but reframing your narrative will decrease the overall negativity projected onto the very teen you’re hoping to elevate. Negative statements reinforce negative behaviors and outcomes; positive changes come from positive thoughts and words. Try replacing phrases like you never with you haven’t yet; or you can’t with you’re choosing not to. Slight adjustments to your vocabulary will increase the productivity of your conversations.