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Why is my elder child slow?

Q: I have two sons aged 11 and 6. My elder son is studying in class seventh, and is not at all good in his studies. My basic problem with him is that he is very quiet in the class. At home he is okay, but not upto the expected level. His teachers are complaining of not raising any doubts and asking questions. He definitely plays with his friends, but I don’t see the real enthusiasm one should have at his age. At home he is always in front of the TV. We have to keep on pushing hard to pick up his books. He doesn’t study on his own. My wife is a housewife and I feel it is his mother who is to blame partly for his behaviour pattern. She is short tempered and always screams at children for anything that they do which she doesn’t like. She is also very quiet and doesn’t mingle with the society like her father. Though she loves her children, she doesn’t show this with gestures. Both the children are demanding and to get rid of the problem she always succumbs to their pressure though initially she refuse to budge. For example, if the children demand soft drinks or fried chips, which are easily available in Indian market, she allows them to eat often. I have tried to explain to her the pros and cons of this, but I hardly see any change in her. I normally ask my wife to keep their belonging like dresses, shoes etc. ready, so that they can just pick up in the morning and wear and go to the school. But unfortunately it is only in the morning, you run for everything. Till few months ago, she used to feed my elder son despite my insisting not to do so. My second son is smart and talkative and takes part in school activities. He would go to nearby shops and buy things if necessary, but elder son is very hesitant, and his body language is such as if he doesn't have any energy. He is slow in everything. Kindly advise me to get rid of this problem.

A:There is no magic formula to get rid of the problem as you suggest. Your older son may have some developmental delay. At a later point, he might need a Special Educator to help him cope with his schoolwork or attend a class for slow children. You must settle your disagreements with your wife amicably or make some arrangement by which the children themselves take responsibility for their clothes and books before they go to school. Try to avoid comparisons between the two children and do not talk about them in their presence. Give affection to both children. Each one will do things to the best of his ability, provided there is affection and care from the parents.

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