How to deal with resistance to studies?
Q: My son is 17 year old and has just completed his class XII. Like most middle class parents I also tried to give him quality education where discipline, honesty and other human values find their due position. But from the beginning I noticed that though he is intelligent, my son was not interested in studies. This continued and I remained involved with him to the extent possible. Suddenly, just 2-3 months before his class X exam, he started a new way to protest by crying and shouting loudly. This started when I tried to interfere with his study plan of 18 hours a day when in practice it was not even 8 hours. Due to this I even resorted to beating him. But on coming to class XI he became arrogant and started behaving in a very indisciplined manner compelling me to loosen discipline and watching helplessly while he misused his time sitting in his room the whole day. He did not attend classes and his attendance was only 40% in class XII. His complete indifference to studies remained a matter of concern for us but we were helpless because persuasion/advice/request had no effect on him. To marginalise us he used to claim that he would get a good rank in IIT and other competitive exams even though knowing that his class performance was very poor. Finally he completed his class XII with just 61% marks but we never noticed any repentance or change in his attitude. He loves to talk freely with us but the moment the question of study comes up, he tries to create an awkward scene by shouting and speaking at a high pitch. We tried to send him for some coaching but he refused saying that he will do better next year studying on his own. He did not agree to admission for B.Sc. We are helpless because we fear that our rigid approach may lead him to take some harsh step like suicide. In a situation like this with his career at stake we don't know what to do? Please advise. I would like to mention that my wife is a housewife and at some point of time we had frequent verbal quarrels while he was a growing child. I also have an 8 year old daughter.
A:I can appreciate the difficulty you must be experiencing in dealing with your son. From what you have described it does appear as though there are many violent reactions that your son has. There may be numerous reasons for the same. The best way to progress would be consult a mental health professional in order to get a complete evaluation. It is important to try and understand his resistance to studies and if there is any underlying clinical condition that may be contributing to the problem. Also because you seem to suggest that the communication between him and you is poor with regards to this issue, the presence of a neutral person like a psychologist will enable in getting the complete picture.