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Why has my 12-year-old lost interest in studies?

Q: We have two sons aged 12 and 3 and this is about my elder son who is in 7th now. He is not doing well in studies. He had been a good performer and was in top 5 of the class in studies till 5th. Gradually his grades slipped and he has now become 26th out of a class of 44. His Maths and Science scores are horrible inspite of private tuition. He doesn't seem to put in his best efforts to anything he does, which includes studies and sports. There seems to be a fear of failure, which has caused lack of confidence and assertiveness, taking shortcuts, wandering mind etc. He does not pick up any book and read whether it be comics, GK or Harry Potter. There is no reading habit sadly! My husband and I have been excellent performers academically and are professionally qualified. I am a fully devoted housewife who excelled in Maths during my academics as well as my father who was a renowned professor of Maths in a reputed college. We certainly do not expect similar degree of interest in Maths and science but at least some curiosity to ask questions. We feel very sad about his lack of seriousness in studies and would like to seek help to improve his overall personality and confidence in studies. Please advise.

A:Your son is showing the traits of early adolescence. He must be concerned with the changes in his own body. Perhaps you should make sure that he is not surfing unsuitable (pornographic) sites on the computer. You should also talk to him and find out what his concerns are. Perhaps there is a bully in his class, who is intimidating him. Perhaps an older boy or girl is making sexual suggestions. Nothing happens without a cause. Do not treat his academic performance in isolation but as a part of everything that is happening to him. If he does not talk to you, get the help of a counsellor.

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