Q:

My grandson almost totally lacks motivation to perform well in his school subjects. He is a high school sophomore this year. This lack of motivation has been evident ever since he started elementary school. He is intelligent and has a wonderfully curious mind. He asks his dad lots of questions about history, science, astronomy and so on.

When it's time to focus on his schoolwork, he doesn't have much motivation. He says, "It's all boring." Consequently, his grades are mostly C's and D's with an occasional B.

His parents have tried numerous approaches to try to motivate him to study and learn. So far, nothing is helping. He does have a strong interest in computer games, television and sports. He makes friends easily and is liked by his teacher. But academia just doesn't interest him.

What specific suggestions can you offer that might get him on track academically? -- No Motivation

A:

Be happy that your grandson has some very strong positives. He is liked by friends and teachers and obviously has a supportive family.

We suspect that his lack of motivation could well be tied to his lack of success at school. When young children enter elementary school, they are universally enthusiastic about learning. This quickly turned into a lack of enthusiasm for learning in your grandchild. The reason could be that he simply had difficulty learning, and that school has been difficult for him ever since. Is he a good reader? If not, this could be a large part of his problem at school

The first thing that we would suggest is that his parents should ask that he be tested to discover if he has a learning disability that is causing him to struggle in school. If he does, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) would be created to help him. When he meets with some success academically, he will be encouraged to seek more success.

We believe he will also be motivated to study more if he takes more courses in fields that interest him such as computing. He also should continue to take courses in areas where he has received his best grades.