Tips for Parents
The Problem Procrastinator
Some students are procrastinators and some are not. That doesn't have to become a lifelong label, however. Students who procrastinate may be in trouble and need help dealing with their "wait until later" tendencies.
It's okay to put things off every once in awhile or to give yourself a break from a task and then come back to it. But procrastinating regularly can be a real problem. Procrastination has both mental and physical impacts. Dr. Joseph Ferrari, an associate professor of psychology at DePaul University (IL) told Psychology Today that real procrastinators do five telltale things:
- Underestimate how long it will take to get something done.
- Overestimate the amount of time they have to get something done.
- Overestimate how motivated they'll feel the "next time" when they expect they'll get something done.
- Mistakenly believe that working when they're not in the mood is less than optimal.
- Mistakenly believe that, in order to succeed at a task, they need to feel like doing it.
Where Does Procrastination Come From?
Procrastination is caused by:
- self judgment
- a desire to avoid negative experiences
- a need for love
- a low tolerance for frustration
- being overextended
- a rigid identity
- fear of others' response/evaluation
- a lack of training
- feeling like life is not fair
Helping a Problem Procrastinator
If you are really concerned that a student has taken procrastination tendencies to the extreme, confront the issue in a caring way. Share your concerns and why you are worried by using "I" statements. Identify what you have noticed. Perhaps the student is just going through a rough spell. If not, and you think he needs assistance, direct him to the appropriate resource on campus, such as the learning center, a residence hall staff member, an academic advisor or another trusted adult. Addressing the problem early on will enable the student to develop better habits for the future.
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