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How can I divert my son's mind towards studies?

Q: My 14-year-old son is very bad in studies. He is more interested in fiddling with mobile phones, TV, digital cameras, etc. He is ever ready to settle any problem related to these electrical accessories. But when it comes to studies, he is indifferent. I am a working lady and I reach home at 6 in the evening. I give him maximum support in studies but he doesn't put any effort to sit with his books. He doesn't complete his notes in the class. He does not make an attempt to fill his incomplete notebooks. It is not practical for me to check his books on a daily basis but whenever I open his books, I go mad because most of his notebooks are incomplete. I think that being a student of class IX, he should realise his responsibilities. Instead he is very cool about everything. I have enrolled him for extra coaching classes also but there is no improvement in him. His exams are approaching, but I cannot see any seriousness in his attitude. When I inquire about his studies he says he has done everything, but when I ask him any question, he has no answer. He bluntly says that he has studied but he needs to revise. He has scored badly in his previous tests. I have warned him that he has to put more effort to cover up the marks. He listens to my advice quietly and promises to put more effort but when it comes to serious studies he is the same. I am very worried as he will be in class X next year. I feel that I am the cause for this situation. I am over ambitious and I always wanted my children to be at the top. I always nagged him for his studies. In the beginning he was very bright but he changed gradually. I feel restless and sorry for him too. I am very tense about him. He has started retaliating, and he was never like this. Since he is in his adolescence, any wrong move from us may cause some disaster. How can I divert him towards studies? I am at the brink and I feel that I should leave my job and stay home.

A:Lets begin by focusing on the reality that besides studies your son is very co-operative and sensitive. This is surely a good sign. You need to make the most of it and talk to him about your concern regarding his studies. At 14, he is old enough to be able to share his thoughts with you. By talking you can address the cause of the difficulty rather than addressing the effect. This way the change is likely to be more effective. Ask him what his feelings are and why he is not interested in studying. Many factors could be responsible for this. For example, there might be some difficulties in school, or interpersonal problems with friends etc, or not being able to handle the growing work load of senior classes, so on and so forth. Once you are able to identify the factors, half the battle will be won. You may also ask him how he feels he would like to be supported by you. You don't need to jump to decisions of giving up your work. There are many ways in which you may be able to balance these responsibilities. Lastly, remember to work through your own anxieties about your son's performance and your expectations of him. Needless to mention, be reasonable and the pressure on him and you both will subside. Try this approach for about a month and should things not change, please consult a mental health professional who may be able to assess your son's needs completely.

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