School Underachiever: Preteen
Underachievers perform below potential at school. They don't finish their schoolwork and homework. If you help them with homework, they lose it or don't turn it in. The main cause is your child's reaction to pressure and interference around school work. Poor grades become a way of proving his independence. The harder you try, the worse the situation becomes.
Here are some ways you can help:
- First: Eliminate all power struggles. Clarify that schoolwork is between your child and the teacher. Get out of the middle. Avoid nagging. Don't help with homework unless asked. And, allow the school to apply all consequences for poor performance.
- Second: If this alone doesn't help, add incentives for improved work such as money. You can verify that schoolwork has been completed by a weekly report from the teacher.
- Third: If performance continues to worsen, remove privileges. Eliminate all TV and video games. Remind your child, "First we work, then we play". Restore privileges as work improves.
- Finally: The homework has to belong to your child. Its purpose is to teach children to work on their own.
If you have any questions about school problems, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.