How many times have you been told that he could do the work if he just tried? How frustrating! Just when you thought parenting couldn’t get any more complicated, a new wrinkle has entered the picture!
It’s a different world from when we were kids. Parents have advice, experts, and resources coming at them constantly – it’s hard to sift through it all. Parents today must learn to recognize certain symptoms and follow them to their sources. Lazy, bored and tired are three common symptoms but understanding the cause or source of these symptoms is the key. When you think your child is lazy, does “lazy” really describe him? When he says he is bored, is he really bored? When the teacher says he is sleeping in class, does that mean he is tired? The list goes on and on and parents just get more and more confused.
Is your child just being lazy if he procrastinates or refuses to do his homework? Most children, and many adults, would rather play than work! Does that mean they are always lazy? Maybe or maybe not. “Not doing homework” is a symptom. If you or your teachers believe your child could do the work if he just tried, you need to figure out why he is not trying. Is laziness the problem? If he is not lazy on the soccer field, then laziness is not the problem. The possibilities seem endless! Maybe he is watching too much TV or playing too many video games. Maybe the homework is too hard for him, maybe he isn’t writing down his homework assignments in his agenda, or maybe he is disorganized. Maybe he doesn’t know how to take good notes. Many parents and teachers tend to label bright kids as lazy when they are not doing what they’re expected to do. Don’t accept the label without investigating what is really happening!
“This is boring!” Kids say it all the time. Boredom to a teenager or to a younger child could mean any of the following: lack of interest, length of task, difficulty of task, lack of understanding, dislike of the topic, or a social conflict. Rarely will you find that he is bored because the material is too easy. Probably he has another agenda and this activity is getting in the way of his desired activity. Be a detective. Search for clues and you’ll find answers.
Falling asleep in class is a symptom also! Is he going to bed on time? Is he going to bed but texting his friends through the night? Is he tossing and turning all night? Is he sleeping in class because he is having trouble in the class? Structure and organization at bedtime help children be successful in school. Set a regular dinnertime and breakfast time and bedtime and stick to them. It’s a parent’s job to set up a child to succeed by providing the structure at home to do so and then it’s a child’s job to follow through by doing his work and by going to bed on time. It’s teamwork and when it is done correctly, children are rarely tired in class. However, if he is still tired in class, consult his pediatrician for medical reasons why this is happening.
Parents, remember that the “good old days” are gone forever! School isn’t the same now. Life isn’t the same. Life is busy. Kids are busy. Parents are busy. The best gift we can give our kids in this busy, busy world is our attention to the details of their lives. Many academic issues are symptoms of other issues that can be solved. Follow the symptoms to their sources. At the end of the day, you’ll see that your kids are happier and better adjusted and your lives at home are calmer. And, of course, whenever you think that there is a possibility your child is missing an academic skill or when you and your child’s teacher can’t locate “the source,” don’t wait for report card time to figure out what is going on.
Huntington Learning Center has been in Charlotte for 24 years and we’ve helped hundreds of students reach their full potential. One of the many services offered at HLC is a skills assessment. We work one-on-one with you and your child (we’re a team) and assess your child’s organization skills, study habits, reading, writing, and math skills, reasons for inattentiveness, and much more. Call us at Huntington (704-522-7511 in Charlotte and 704-896-3931 in Huntersville) for a thorough skills assessment. Then you can rule out any possibility of underlying skill issues that can easily be corrected!