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Ask Cher Your Own Question
Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 21303
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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My 13 yr old grandson is failing in school - he has lost interest

Customer Question

My 13 yr old grandson is failing in school - he has lost interest in
school work and sports- he says nothing is wrong. We have tried everything - he says he is not depressed or taking drugs . What can we do
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Martin replied 5 years ago.

What was his sport and for how long did he practice this.

Can you name 3 of his interest?

What's he doing when not in school?

Does he have brothers and sisters?
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.
Hello there, I can help you with this, you need to arrange a meeting with the school and discuss your concerns. A school coucellor will also be able to help him. If he is struggling academically it may be worth getting a tutor to provide extra support. Please let me know if I can assist you further.
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.
Hello just another idea to try, perhaps give him something to aim for with his school work, if you see a marked improvement in his grades he can have a special outing or a computer game. This positive encouragement could really help.
Expert:  earthsister replied 5 years ago.
Good morning. I would first suggest that you speak with each of the teachers in the classes that he is having problems in. His teachers are the ones who see him everyday, and should have an idea of why he is failing in their classes. Ask them if there are any missing assignments that they will allow him to turn in for at least partial credit, or even any make up assignments, tests, or essays that he can do to gain a little extra credit. If your son has friends, use them as allies; Suggest him meeting with a friend on a weekly basis as a "study buddy." Let them do homework together at your home, or his friends' home, and order pizza, let them listen to music, etc. I myself have a 12 year old who I am going through a very similar situation with. I have recruited some of his friends to do homework and study together with him after school at our home (and sometimes on the weekend); generally afterwords, we go get something to eat, I take them to somewhere they like, such as the basketball court or mall. After doing this, I have seen improvement in his grades; now he even asks if he can have his friends come over to study on days when I don't think about it.This may help make those study and homework times more tolerable. Stay active in his schoolwork yourself, keep in touch with his teachers to see how he is progressing. Children at these ages (especially so often boys) are easily distracted by so many other things as their bodies and minds are preparing for adulthood. Continue to work with him to help improve his focus, and I am sure that you will see a change. Here is a nice article that gives tips and pointers on helping your child succeed in school: If I can assist you in any other way, please let me know. I wish you the best!
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We have tried everything nothing seems to work - positive or negative - he just has no
enthusiasm -
Expert:  earthsister replied 5 years ago.
Have you already tried the "study buddy" thing that I suggested? What about the recommendations from the article that I provided? There are so many different options on how to encourage your child, however it depends on each child and their family which one works best. Things like this don't come with a quick fix, it takes time and consistency. Make sure that he is organized for school everyday, gets a good nights rest, has a designated and organized study and homework area, and let him witness you and other adults in the household reading and learning new things to help encourage him as well. When it seems that we have tried it all, there is always something lying beneath the surface that we missed. Also, reflect to when this change may have occurred, perhaps there was a change in his life that has affected his motivation in school. Here is one more link that speaks specifically about helping teenagers to focus on school work: This link as well from The Child Development Institute may have more useful suggestions:
Hang in there and keep looking for ways to motivate your youngster. You aren't alone, the pre teen and teenage years are generally tough times for children, and your continued effort to assist him is what is needed. If you need any other help with ideas or finding resources, please message for me; "earthsister." Have a great day!
Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I have read what you have answered and really do believe positive encouragement is the way forward. Make study sessions of a reasonable time with positive activities to look forward to at the end of the time. Praise improvements and keep a close check on grades and homework being completed and handed in. Some children simply do lose enthusiasm at school as they may be bored and need to move on to the next class.

Don't push the enthusiasm to complete work just the fact that he does it will warrant praise and then reward when good grades come through. This could well be a teenage phase that will pass, try not to make too much of it just continue to encourage and provide support with homework.

I hope this helps! Good Luck!

Expert:  Karel1 replied 5 years ago.
You might want to take a look 877-675-7453. Its the Sylvan Learning Center. You can check out their website . Perhaps also the school counselor can be of some help and get to the root of your childs lack of interest. Here is the link.
Expert:  KaterB1270 replied 5 years ago.
Good morning,

I understand how stressful this has to be. As several of the other experts suggested being organized and working with a tutor are great ideas. I wanted to discuss a different concern you mentioned. You said in your question that he states he is not depressed or taking drugs. This was a red flag for me. If he said this I hope that it is true. The problem is that most people who are depressed need someone else to help identify the issue. A person doesn't just wake up me day and decide yep...I'm depressed. I suggest you take him to first see his pediatrician and if they suggest a mental health counselor. Several of the things you mentioned are clear indicators of depression. I hope this does not turn out to be the case but since you have tried so many other things this is a totally different avenue to check into.

This link goes to an article about teen depression. Read it and let me know if you have any further questions as I would be happy to help.

Expert:  Cher replied 5 years ago.
Hello Arleen, and thanks for your question.

I'm sorry to hear that your grandson is experiencing this lack of interest in his schoolwork and is receiving failing grades. If he is also no longer interested in sports, I agree with the previous expert who has recommended having him seen by his Pediatrician and then referred to a mental health counselor, for example a psychologist who specializes in testing and treating children and adolescents.

It's important that he is tested for certain learning disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and others. His interest in school and failing grades may be due to a previously undiagnosed learning disability which causes him to struggle with the schoolwork, then become frustrated and take on an 'I don't care anymore' attitude.

As a teacher and a parent, I've seen many children held back in their school careers due to undiagnosed learning disabilities and once the cause of the problem was identified, the students were taught to learn in a different way that was suitable to them, and this lead to success.

I also agree that if he stated he wasn't depressed, I'm assuming this was in answer to a direct question from you or other family members, and he may not know what depression is/feels like, but if he's failing in school and has no interest in interacting with his peers in sports, the psychologist who evaluates him will let you know if he is depressed and/or is showing any warning signs of depression or drug use (of course, he should have blood work done at the Pediatrician's office, too).

Hopefully, you will find out the reason behind his present behavior and it will be treated in the most appropriate manner, so he can get back on track.

Please let me know if you need any additional information by clicking 'Reply' and directing your response to me, 'Cher'.

Positive Feedback is always welcomed and greatly appreciated.

Best regards,