+91 – 9824037887 darshan@purplecentre.com
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Academic failure

My daughter Deval, 10 years old, studying in the 5th standard finds her studies very difficult. Earlier, she used to score 70-80 % marks and now she is struggling to reach even 60 %. She also failed in one subject in the terminal examinations. She makes an effort to study but somehow she is unable to score marks. It seems that some or the other misfortune strikes her at the last moment and hampers her performance. She has become very disappointed about whatever is happening. Please advise me regarding this matter.

 

Scholastic backwardness and drop in academic performance is becoming a big problem nowadays. Parents are aware of the psychological significances of this on the child’s mind. There are numerous causes of academic failures. Let me discuss each one in detail. A physical condition that is not conducive to studying like bad eyesight may be causative. It can hamper the child from being able to decipher what is being taught. Due to this she may also complain of headaches, squint her eyes in class to read what is written on the blackboard. A visit to the ophthalmologist may help in this case. The next cause is lack of potential either because of inadequate IQ or aptitude. It is a myth that mental retardation can be diagnosed in childhood alone. Mental retardation is of various intensities. Moderate, severe and profound forms of mental retardation are usually picked up quite early by the age of 3 years. Mild mental retardation or borderline intellectual functioning generally manifests in primary and secondary grades of school. Children with inadequate IQ may be able to cope up with studies in grades 1 – 4 as the level of studies is not very demanding. Even then, some difficulties may start to emerge. As the nature of the difficulties increase in higher grades, the complexity of understanding becomes apparent and grades may begin to drop. Psychological testing for IQ may help you to know your child’s IQ and clear this matter up. Lack of interest in a particular subject or studies in general may also lower the grades. Not all are adapted to like studies and may be interested in sports, craft, drawing or other activities. As a result, their mind is occupied with those thoughts and unable to concentrate on studies. You could help your child understand the importance of education or the importance of knowing a subject even though it may not be of much relevance later. You could sit down with her while she is studying and help her get a sustained interest by making that subject interesting for her. Uncongenial physical conditions like no space, no time or too much noise at home also contribute. In homes where the child does not enough of peaceful environment to study, distractions can take place. This is more likely to happen in joint families where the child and his parents are regaled to one room. Here, because of activities of 3-4 people happen in one room, there is distraction. Often there is work going on in the house or the television is distracting. Because of many members of the family, it often happens that the television is continuously switched on and provides an easy outlet for not studying. The child must have at least 3 hours a day where there is no distraction. Another factor is constant criticisms by adults about studies and grades. The child is so busy defending the criticisms that the energies are directed towards decreasing her hurt rather than study. She would be busy trying to nurse the wounds on her pride and begin to hate studies as an area, which is creating problems for her. This may also happen in school where a constant criticism from teachers may make life miserable for the child at school. She may begin to dread going to school. In addition, this may have an extended effect when peers also continue the criticisms. Find out whether this is happening at school or in your family and stop it immediately. There may be tensions in the family – financial and social and this may make her mind preoccupied. Illness in the family, the death of a close relative, and separation from joint family or constant quarrels may be a problem. Loss of a job, financial mishap or other factors contributing to financial difficulties may make the atmosphere in the house less conducive to studies. Sometimes these factors may be out of your hands, if so, try and make alternative arrangement for your child for a temporary period explaining the causes appropriately. Another factor may be hormonal changes. Some children enter puberty earlier than normal and the hormonal changes can just make her distracted. You can support her during these turbulent times and explain the pubertal changes in this period. Sometimes over-expectations from parents can make the child score less. This is a method of protest whereby they are communicating about their level of capabilities. Take a back seat and think whether you are reading your own autobiographical expectations from your child because you could not fulfill them yourself. If so, know the level of your child and accordingly motivate her. There might be too many restrictions imposed on your daughter. She knows that you care only about her academic performance and her need to punish you may make her perform in this manner. You have to look at your daughter as a 10 year old and not as a student of 5th grade. Provide her with adequate leisure time and recreational activities, a wider variety of interests that will help her like her studies also. Occasionally a contributing factor is too hectic a social life with distractions. This may not allow the child to settle in her academics and if there are late night parties, it can disturb her sleep cycle and have an adverse effect on her concentration levels. She may be too drowsy or tired to pay attention. Try and curb your activities to a manageable level. In certain households, girls are often saddled with too many responsibilities and duties. This may not give them enough time for studies.

 

For your daughter any or more than one cause may apply. Identifying the cause can be the first step and then you should be able to take remedial steps for it.

My daughter Deval, 10 years old, studying in the 5th standard finds her studies very difficult. Earlier, she used to score 70-80 % marks and now she is struggling to reach even 60 %. She also failed in one subject in the terminal examinations. She makes an effort to study but somehow she is unable to score marks. It seems that some or the other misfortune strikes her at the last moment and hampers her performance. She has become very disappointed about whatever is happening. Please advise me regarding this matter.

 

Scholastic backwardness and drop in academic performance is becoming a big problem nowadays. Parents are aware of the psychological significances of this on the child’s mind. There are numerous causes of academic failures. Let me discuss each one in detail. A physical condition that is not conducive to studying like bad eyesight may be causative. It can hamper the child from being able to decipher what is being taught. Due to this she may also complain of headaches, squint her eyes in class to read what is written on the blackboard. A visit to the ophthalmologist may help in this case. The next cause is lack of potential either because of inadequate IQ or aptitude. It is a myth that mental retardation can be diagnosed in childhood alone. Mental retardation is of various intensities. Moderate, severe and profound forms of mental retardation are usually picked up quite early by the age of 3 years. Mild mental retardation or borderline intellectual functioning generally manifests in primary and secondary grades of school. Children with inadequate IQ may be able to cope up with studies in grades 1 – 4 as the level of studies is not very demanding. Even then, some difficulties may start to emerge. As the nature of the difficulties increase in higher grades, the complexity of understanding becomes apparent and grades may begin to drop. Psychological testing for IQ may help you to know your child’s IQ and clear this matter up. Lack of interest in a particular subject or studies in general may also lower the grades. Not all are adapted to like studies and may be interested in sports, craft, drawing or other activities. As a result, their mind is occupied with those thoughts and unable to concentrate on studies. You could help your child understand the importance of education or the importance of knowing a subject even though it may not be of much relevance later. You could sit down with her while she is studying and help her get a sustained interest by making that subject interesting for her. Uncongenial physical conditions like no space, no time or too much noise at home also contribute. In homes where the child does not enough of peaceful environment to study, distractions can take place. This is more likely to happen in joint families where the child and his parents are regaled to one room. Here, because of activities of 3-4 people happen in one room, there is distraction. Often there is work going on in the house or the television is distracting. Because of many members of the family, it often happens that the television is continuously switched on and provides an easy outlet for not studying. The child must have at least 3 hours a day where there is no distraction. Another factor is constant criticisms by adults about studies and grades. The child is so busy defending the criticisms that the energies are directed towards decreasing her hurt rather than study. She would be busy trying to nurse the wounds on her pride and begin to hate studies as an area, which is creating problems for her. This may also happen in school where a constant criticism from teachers may make life miserable for the child at school. She may begin to dread going to school. In addition, this may have an extended effect when peers also continue the criticisms. Find out whether this is happening at school or in your family and stop it immediately. There may be tensions in the family – financial and social and this may make her mind preoccupied. Illness in the family, the death of a close relative, and separation from joint family or constant quarrels may be a problem. Loss of a job, financial mishap or other factors contributing to financial difficulties may make the atmosphere in the house less conducive to studies. Sometimes these factors may be out of your hands, if so, try and make alternative arrangement for your child for a temporary period explaining the causes appropriately. Another factor may be hormonal changes. Some children enter puberty earlier than normal and the hormonal changes can just make her distracted. You can support her during these turbulent times and explain the pubertal changes in this period. Sometimes over-expectations from parents can make the child score less. This is a method of protest whereby they are communicating about their level of capabilities. Take a back seat and think whether you are reading your own autobiographical expectations from your child because you could not fulfill them yourself. If so, know the level of your child and accordingly motivate her. There might be too many restrictions imposed on your daughter. She knows that you care only about her academic performance and her need to punish you may make her perform in this manner. You have to look at your daughter as a 10 year old and not as a student of 5th grade. Provide her with adequate leisure time and recreational activities, a wider variety of interests that will help her like her studies also. Occasionally a contributing factor is too hectic a social life with distractions. This may not allow the child to settle in her academics and if there are late night parties, it can disturb her sleep cycle and have an adverse effect on her concentration levels. She may be too drowsy or tired to pay attention. Try and curb your activities to a manageable level. In certain households, girls are often saddled with too many responsibilities and duties. This may not give them enough time for studies.

 

For your daughter any or more than one cause may apply. Identifying the cause can be the first step and then you should be able to take remedial steps for it.

 

Dr. Darshan Shah

Dr. Darshan Shah, a renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is committed to make a difference in the area of mental health and help individuals cope with feelings and symptoms; change behavior patterns that may contribute to one’s illness and henceforth contribute to their newly improved pathway of life.

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