{7:00 AM — *buzz* *buzz* *buzz*}

Off goes the alarm… your child, mere months away from graduation, comes down the stairs with a face like thunder… again.

You ask them what’s wrong (as if you don’t already know).

Senioritis. That crippling condition in which your high school or college senior is mentally checking out from all things educational. And even though it isn’t a real affliction, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors are all acutely aware of its characteristics.

According to the Urban Dictionary, senioritis is: “A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation.”

Well, you already knew that, but the question is, how can you combat it? While you know it’s only going to last until commencement, some days it’s a question as to whether or not one of you will make it that long!

You understand completely. They have worked diligently. They have been accepted to college. Technically, they can coast from now until the end of the year and none of that will change. They are saying things like, ” I have all my credits, and all I am taking all electives – no one cares!” or “This is stupid, I’ve already been accepted to college!” or “What a waste of time; as long as I pass I’ll be fine!” Well, all of those things are true – why give them a hard time?

Because life.

While this is a temporary “affliction,” it is not a reflection of how life is. Some students have received acceptances to college that require grades to be maintained, or in some cases, improve. Some students have jobs and a slip in their work ethic can have a negative impact upon it. These are things we need to remind our senior student.

But what we need to do is mirror their statements – with a bit of tweaking. “Yes, it is almost over. You haveworked hard. And, your ability to feel this way is a testament to your work ethic. But just as with anything in life, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. You’re nearing the finish line – don’t quit now.”

They need to be reminded that colleges – as well as employers – do look at that last quarter of school. It shows them if they are only working for an immediate gain, or if it is a true personal characteristic. These are noted. Make no mistake.

So, when your child comes grumbling along and wants to just throw up their hands, be ready. Have your acknowledgement of their hard work, your verification that it is “almost over,” and your reality check ready. And congratulate yourself on some parenting well done!

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