Scholastic problems & poor performers

Reports cards

Getting a report card saying that your child has failed in class can be surprising, and most surely disappointing. For parents who are concerned about their children’s performance this can be considered as a crisis! True that today’s world has become blatantly competitive and pressures to perform are building exponentially in all arenas. Children at their tender age need to be shielded from the rat race. Nonetheless a basal level of proficiency in academics is important to prepare the child for realizing his or her true potential in the future. Everyone is not Einstein, but everyone does deserve the opportunity to do the best of what he or she is capable of. Promoting their potential, no matter what it may be, is desirable. For this the child’s base level ought to be determined and then the true aptitude can be tapped.

Manifestations of scholastic problems

Scholastic Problems may present through faulty academic behavior like inattention, lack of interest in studies, exam failure, to emotional expression like aggression and belligerence with school peers, physical complaints particularly in the school hours or absolute reluctance and refusal to attend school. You may observe that your child:

  • Has stopped writing notes in his class and seems unmotivated in spite of punishment
  • Is being labeled as extremely forgetful, nonetheless this is more of absentmindedness
  • Is bored with studies these days and makes excuses when he or she is asked to study
  • Has dropped low in academic grades (now significantly lower than the grades before)
  • Seems very aggressive and moody at times or withdrawn, distant and lost at others
  • Complains of a stomach or headache in the mornings and refuses to go to school

Emotion and academics

Poor performance in schools can be attributed to emotional trauma, physical problems, low self-esteem, or more complex problems such as learning disabilities and mental retardation. Not uncommonly, a medical problem like a visual or hearing deficit also contributes to poor school performance. Sometimes a seemingly insignificant factor like change in residence or change in the school may influence the child adversely because children are tuned in their specific setup and may resist that change. If the child does not like his/her class teacher for any reason (she seems too strict or she may have severely punished your child sometime for some reason in the past) he or she shows rebellion by refusing to focus on studies.

See what lies beneath

Children can never express with ease, what is going on within their mind. In majority of the cases a school going child gives the first signal of emotional trauma by failing in the exam. That acts as a warning sign for the child’s parent or caregiver to look into the matter and do something about it before the problem gets out of hand and the studies begin to get very negatively affected. The focus must always be on the child first and after that, the academic behavior. Parents need to understand that. Many a time the child is reprimanded and even threatened to study without estimating the severity of emotional conflict that is tormenting the child from within. Academic performance merely acts as a symptom. Treating the symptom is not possible without alleviating the underlying problem. It will only assure that the problem resurfaces that too with worse symptoms each time. Children want their parents as well as teachers to pick their cues; it is imperative that those in contact with the child always take cognizance of their cry and rush for their help to prevent matters from getting out of hand.

Holistic development focus

Academic difficulties may be a reflection of an underlying emotional or behavioral problem, which altogether negatively influence the child’s development. There may be many reasons contributing to the poor performance of a school-going child. The best (rather only) solution is to treat the primary cause. It may be slightly difficult for parents to identify the root cause always. They see the outcome and try to deal with it insensitively at times. In such a scenario it is imperative to use professional assessment to find the cause and use remedial measures to solve the underlying problem before it gets too late. Schools lay the founding stones of a children’s intellectual, social and emotional prowess. Helping them when they subtly ask for it is the duty of parents. We provide study skills training for children and parents to assist in the academic and socio-emotive development of children in school.

Causes of poor performance

The possibilities are endless:

  • Mental retardation
  • Learning disability
  • Visual problems
  • Hearing deficits
  • Physical illness
  • Childhood depression
  • Adolescent crisis
  • Social anxiety and fear
  • Anxieties and phobias
  • Bullying in the school
  • Sexual abuse
  • Change of school
  • Change of residence
  • Marital discord at home
  • Harsh and punitive parenting
  • Death of a family member
  • Birth of a sibling (rivalry)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my son always get a stomachache when he has to leave for school in the morning?
Your son may be using this as an excuse to avoid going to school. He should be evaluated in detail for any medical problem and if it’s all clear, we need to look out for an emotional cause which is making him avoid going to school.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can change of school cause my child’s grades to drop?
Yes, a change can influence the grades if the new school is not good enough. Also, your child may need time to adjust to the new school environment, new syllabus, new friends, new teachers etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I ado to improve my child’s performance at school?
There are several reasons for a decline in school grades. It is essential to understand the factors that can contribute to it (emotional turmoil, depression etc). An expert evaluation will pinpoint the cause, and provide the right guidance for you. That will certainly help your child’s grades.