mother4 asks:

My 8yr old hates school work and could care less if he fails.

He has a 11yr old brother that gets a's in school but he works very hard for it. I think my 8yr old might feel like he has to compete with his older brother.I have tried everything to try to help him.I know he is very smart himself maybe more so then his brother but there is just no effort?
In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school, Helping my child with school work and home work, Parenting siblings
> 60 days ago



Jun 2, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

We have had a similar situation with two male siblings (now 13 and 16), with the older brother an academic star. I think it helps if you can identify the special interests of your 8 year old and (subtle) help him become more engaged in those interests. One way would be to subscribe to a magazine for him related to those interests, or go with him (eg to museums or the woods) to encourage development of the interest(s). I also suggest you work with his teacher, principal, and school counselors as his problem may relate to his development. I would advise against calling attention to his deficiencies, esp. around the older brother. Don't nag but gently communicate your love/esteem and high expectations for him and try to avoid comparing him to his sib.

Good luck!  

Michael Bentley, Expert Panel Member

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