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My fourth grader is failing almost every subject. His teacher thinks he his able but unwilling. How do i get him to want to do his best

My fourth grader is failing almost every subject. His teacher thinks hes capable but unwilling. I dont how to get him motivated so he do his best, he just doesnt care
In Topics: School and Academics, Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Jan 26, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

Sometimes we need to ask a few questions to help figure out why a child who is bright becomes unmotivated / failing school. These questions may include the following:

1- Are there other changes in behavior that I have not paid much attention to but now may be part of an overall problem? If so, what are the changes and should I talk with someone else about them such as a school counselor or my child's physician?

2- Has my child experienced any trauma or changes in living situations which may need to be discussed or some counseling needed, perhaps?

3- Has the teacher noticed other behaviors such as sleepiness, change in affect, distance from usual friends, etc?  If so, will a school counselor help?

4- Is my child having similar problems but they have become worse since the degree of demands in fourth grade are harder than previous years? If so, should I make a referral for the special education team to evaluate for learning disorders?

5- Could my child benefit from seeing people in real jobs to help inspire him? Or perhaps would a mentor be helpful through Boys and Girls Clubs or something similar?

Here are some links to maybe help you frame your circumstances and point you in the right direction:

MicheleBorba.com  Her books can help to guide parents with day to day trials and tribulations  (http://www.micheleborba.com)

Kidlutions.com  Challenging kids can get help here. The eBooks are very useful with generating conversation (http://www.kidlutions.com)

Listentomeplease.com  Help for discussion starters here, too.    (http://www.listentomeplease.com)

The Family Coach- Helping families with day to day problems, including motivation.  http://www.lynnekenney.com

NASPonline.org  Help for parents to assist their children with educational concerns

GOOD LUCK!!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

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Additional Answers (7)

stumped
stumped writes:
Is this new?  Was he a good student before this year?  Reward system.  Is he depressed?  Does he have learning disablilities?  Testing for some issues might be needed.  Is he being distracted by someone else.  Can he hear, see properly?  Good attitude toward work at home?  Does he need help with homework..You need more info and assistance from school in order to know what to do.
> 60 days ago

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LynnKudlacz
LynnKudlacz , Teacher, Student, Parent writes:
Why does she think he is unwilling? Is he able to do it if it's read to him, so they know he's capable of retaining the information?
Maybe there is an issue going on that can be helped that is causing him to lose his motivation? Often times there is a cause behind behaviors.
> 60 days ago

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Louiseasl
Louiseasl , Child Professional writes:
Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

Sometimes we need to ask a few questions to help figure out why a child who is bright becomes unmotivated / failing school. These questions may include the following:

1- Are there other changes in behavior that I have not paid much attention to but now may be part of an overall problem? If so, what are the changes and should I talk with someone else about them such as a school counselor or my child's physician?

2- Has my child experienced any trauma or changes in living situations which may need to be discussed or some counseling needed, perhaps?

3- Has the teacher noticed other behaviors such as sleepiness, change in affect, distance from usual friends, etc?  If so, will a school counselor help?

4- Is my child having similar problems but they have become worse since the degree of demands in fourth grade are harder than previous years? If so, should I make a referral for the special education team to evaluate for learning disorders?

5- Could my child benefit from seeing people in real jobs to help inspire him? Or perhaps would a mentor be helpful through Boys and Girls Clubs or something similar?

Here are some links to maybe help you frame your circumstances and point you in the right direction:

MicheleBorba.com  Her books can help to guide parents with day to day trials and tribulations  (http://www.micheleborba.com)

Kidlutions.com  Challenging kids can get help here. The eBooks are very useful with generating conversation (http://www.kidlutions.com)

Listentomeplease.com  Help for discussion starters here, too.    (http://www.listentomeplease.com)

The Family Coach- Helping families with day to day problems, including motivation.  http://www.lynnekenney.com

NASPonline.org  Help for parents to assist their children with educational concerns

GOOD LUCK!!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
> 60 days ago

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Sarahmcathy
Sarahmcathy writes:
If i was you i would get him tested for any learning disabilities and all that.
If nothing comes up then i would speak with the teacher.
> 60 days ago

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YourAdviceGuru
YourAdviceG... , Teacher, Parent writes:
Let me ask you this…“have you ever had your son tested for a possible learning disability?” The reason I ask is that I had a similar problem with my daughter. After several years of struggling with grades, punishments, taking away privileges, and just plain ole’ getting upset, (me and her, because believe me, this can be just as stressful and upsetting for your son as it is for you) I had an “ah-ha” moment. My daughter couldn't possibly be performing this bad in school on purpose, nor did she like the consequences I was dishing out. But for some reason, she couldn't change the behavior. That’s when I realized, it must be something else!

As parents we want the best for our children and we want them to be the best! It can be hard to admit and/or accept that our child might have a learning disability. For some reason we think it may be a negative reflection on our parenting or something we didn't do correctly, especially if there are other children who do not display the same behavior. The truth of matter is, we are all individuals and we learn differently.

I had my daughter tested at a facility that specializes in learning disabilities. We found that she did indeed have issues. Issues that we were able to get help with and manage. She is now in her second year of college and doing well. Once we found the root of the problem we were able to work with the school and take advantage of extra academic programs put into place to deal with learning disabilities. And on top of all of that, my daughter learned a lot about her learning style and preferences and ways to be a successful student and develop successful study habits. It has also built up her confidence, which is major part of student success.

-Tamara, Your Advice Guru

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TeacherandParent
TeacherandP... writes:
How did he do in 3rd grade and 2nd grade? Did he do well in those grades?  Any child who is failing all his subjects should be tested for underlying learning differences. How are his reading skills?
Even without knowing your son I'd have to disagree with his teacher. Children don't want to fail in school. It's not easy to fail every single subject. What does she say he does all day? Does he do the worksheets he's given?
Ask that he be tested by the school's educational psychologist. Go in and observe your son in his classroom.
> 60 days ago

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dstamas
dstamas writes:
I am going through the same thing with my son.  He has very low motivation to want to do his best at his activities (gymnastics), his grades in school, (except the subjects he likes)!  I have finally found something that interests him more than not (piano lessons).  Even with this I am worried about his academics.  He is a bright boy, but doesn't take the time to slow down and want to do HIS best!  I am a very worried mother.
> 60 days ago

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