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How to deal with a distracted and messy child?

Q: I have an 11-year-old son studying in class VI. He is easily distracted in class and very messy in his work, as a result of which all the teachers have complaints about him. I have to sit with him from the moment he comes home to help with his studies since he plays around if left alone. He, I think, finds it difficult to concentrate on and remember study material. In all other respects he is a problem free child. On the study front the situation is bad with the school threatening to send him off if he does not pass. We are having a tough time at home because of his don’t care attitude.

A:I sympathize with your sons problems and yours, in a manner of speaking. There are many children who cannot be tidy in their written work and who find school work a little tedious. This does not warrant his being sent out of school. Do you think you could find a different school, which is not so demanding? I am not sure where you live, so I cannot refer you to any resource person or institution. Some children have learning disablity, others have dyslexia. Many have managed to surmount the frustrating school years and do well in life. But our schools are not so flexible. So you will have to choose your best options. However there are ways of rewarding small acts, with a smile or a word of appreciation and build up the expected behaviour. You will have to be patient and not angry when he is slow. He will be OK in the long run, only the long run seems so far away! Do consult her teachers and ask them to help a little instead of dismissing him out of hand. All the best in your endeavours.

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