Recognizing Student Struggles 4 of 7: Identifying the Warning Sign--Attitude

As part of the Recognizing Student Struggles series, this article explores the attitude changes to look for in struggling students and offers suggestions for improving a child's educational experience.

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A child's attitude can change due to any number of reasons. Perhaps your child isn't enjoying school the way they used to, or maybe they've never expressed a real joy toward learning and you've decided that now is the time to change that. Attitude changes can also present themselves in your child's behavior. Perhaps they don't get along with others as well as they used to, or they fail to respect or take direction from teachers. Any or all of these things can mean that your child is having difficulties in school.

If you think your child isn't enjoying school, try to consider the things that might frustrate them or make them bored or impatient. More than just not taking an interest in a subject, your child might have a basic problem with their knowledge of the subject. It's hard to appreciate a subject that confuses you. If your child seems to avoid doing math at all costs, it could mean that they never built the foundation necessary to understand new material. If your child expresses disgust when it comes to reading, have him or her tested. Think about how your child reacts to schoolwork, homework, and especially new lesson plans. Chances are, if they don't express any joy when it comes to learning it's because they've encountered a roadblock.

Attitude or behavioral problems can mean that your child is failing to understand something in their lessons. Children often act up with friends or teachers because they want to avoid being seen as stupid or slow. Children have the same insecurities as grown-ups. A student who feels like they've fallen behind the rest of the class will become defensive. Noticing these changes in behavior allows you to take action and improve your child's confidence and interaction with others.

It can be hard for a child to face their problems. When it's time to talk to him about their changes in attitude toward school, friends, classmates, teachers or even yourself, be gentle and respectful. You know your children better than anyone. Very often you'll be able to determine if the behavioral change stems from an internal or external conflict. Talk to the teacher about your student's progress in school. Contact a tutor who can determine where your child may have developed a gap in learning.

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