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Fourteen-Year-Old Doesn't Enjoy School

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: I'm having a hard time with my 14-year-old boy. He's lazy and doesn't enjoy school at all. He turns in his homework, but he never puts extra effort into it. On the other hand, he's not the kind of boy who hangs around all the time or gets himself into trouble. What can I do?

A: Your son does hand in his homework and he is not getting into trouble and for that you can be grateful. You can also know that in spite of not appearing to enjoy school, he is doing what he needs to do to succeed. I know that you want him to be happy, enjoy school and do good work, but that is his responsibility. As hard as this may sound, there is nothing that you can do to change that. He has to do it himself. It has to come from within him.

What you can do is to acknowledge what he does do - he hands in his work and stays out of trouble. Tell him that you are appreciative of those qualities and anything else he does that you are proud of. When he does good work, be sure and praise him for that. If you focus on what he does right, it will help him create a desire to do more to please you and the more he does well, the more he will enjoy school.

It is hard to be patient and wait for our children to find their way, but it is my opinion that your son will find his way with your encouragement.

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Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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