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My child doesn't want to learn - what can I do?

Parents question on the topic "My child does not want to learn - what can I do?"

Hello scoyo,

my son is in 5th grade and says flatly “I just don't like to learn”. He doesn't even bother to take learning tips and strategies from teachers or us parents. Learn vocabulary with index cards? No chance: "Annoying, doesn't work for me".Create a learning plan before a lot of class work? Nothing. Condense important knowledge on notepads - handwritten? Absolutely no way.

For us parents this is absolutely unbearable. Because there seems to be no insight into bad grades either. The house blessing is always crooked. Sure, I think I should just let it run right up against the wall. But that's not a strategy suitable for everyday family life ?!

Thank you for your reponse. Greetings, Anja

Our experts answer:

Susanne Egert, psychologist: Perceiving and addressing feelings

© Susanne Egert

On the last point first: you are absolutely right, Letting your son hit the wall is not an option. He would feel left alone and presumably he would feel confirmed in his assumption that he is not good enough and is doing everything wrong anyway. Trust the feeling that tells you: your son needs your support. (I'm assuming that you e.g. through a conversation with the teachershave clarified that he is not overwhelmed in terms of content.)

But first things first: even if it seems trivial, there is always a reason why people do or don't do something - we just don't always recognize it immediately. Of course, this also applies to your son if he doesn't want to study. The child's feelings are decisive, they are the key to the child. So it's not so much about facts.

Your son's feelings are not mentioned in your description, so you should try to figure them out first.

"Great, but how?" you will say now. It may be a bit strange at first, but just give it a try.Tell him how you feel about him, e.g. B. "You are tense." or "You are afraid of doing something wrong". Just listen to him for now. This will then result in opportunities for change that suit your son's situation.

To give you an idea of ​​what might be behind behavior like your son's, here are three common reasons:

  • Many children are afraid of making mistakes. They regard mistakes as something bad, have perhaps had the experience of being scolded or laughed at, etc. And what is the safest way to avoid mistakes? Exactly - do nothing at all, then you can't go wrong! Here it is important to convey to the children that mistakes are good because you can learn from them! Show your child that you too make or have made mistakes and how you have learned from them. And of course, you should definitely not rant. It may take a while for your child to adopt and trust the new posture. Encourage your child to try things out and praise them for everything they dare to do! So he can develop more confidence.
  • It sounds like your son's school situation pretty much determined family life. There was probably a lot of pressure built up there. You want to achieve the best for your son; that is understandable and honors you as a parent. But high expectations can also be overwhelming for a child. Sometimes people become reactant in such a situation; H. Like 3-year-olds in the defiant phase, they do exactly the opposite of what they are told (by the way, this also applies to some adults!). Please consider whether you have noticed such reactions in your son before. Sometimes children also feel overwhelmed by the success of their siblings, parents or other family members. The bar is then very high, perhaps too high, at least in the child's mind. Then it is important to give the child the chance to develop their own skills and strengths, possibly also skills other than school, to go their own way and thereby build self-confidence. → More on this: "I can do it!" How children develop strong personalities
  • There is another reason, which is unfortunately not so rare: in some classes there is the standard "If you take part in class or do your homework, you will be cut, nobody will talk to you". The child cannot extricate itself from such a situation! As a rule, the teachers have no idea of ​​this, and neither do the parents. The children get into one desperate situationthat can quickly lead to depression or even suicidal thoughts: no matter what you do, it is wrong. If they don't work in class or don't do their homework, if they get into trouble with the teachers, if they do their homework, they will be excluded from their classmates. The only thing that helps here is the massive intervention of adults, who, however, must first have the suspicion that such a situation is present. In a 5th grade that would be rather unusual, it is more likely in 8th / 9th grade. Classes before.

Béa Beste, educational entrepreneur: distance yourself from school topics, promote strengths

© Béa Beste

Oha! A pubescent unwilling to learn !!! There are very many such things out in the world. And millions of parents despair of it. Those who have patience and trust can wait, because the unwillingness to learn usually subsides by itself. For impatient parents, however, this is torture.

Hence some tips:

1. What does NOT help if a child does not want to learn: more preaching and compulsion. The defiant reaction is preprogrammed. Offer even more learning solutions, or tip it over to tutoring ...? Forget it.

2. What CAN help: Out-of-the-box solutions. Something that has nothing to do with school, but with learning itself.

One approach could be you Find help in your circle of friends: Is there perhaps a student or older pupil who would like to start a meaningful project of their own with their son that is fun for both of them? The best is a film project, or blog, or turtle rescuing ... anything that inspires both, lets them do extra research, makes them experiment. That creates interest and drive - also for the school.

Another approach could be a completely different measure, but you would have to be ready yourself: Look for an aid organization that helps the homeless or illiterate, and try to join the helpers with your son. This can open up completely new horizons for adolescents and make them rethink their own position completely.

For more motivation and fun while learning:

Note: In the scoyo learning world, children in grades 1-7 learn independently in a protected online environment. The special thing about it: All of the learning content is packed into exciting learning stories. So you can get good grades without pressure and with fun. ► Try out the scoyo learning world for free here.

Falko Stolp, Headmaster: Finding the causes, looking for solutions together

© Falko Stolp As parents, you must first be aware that there is no simple solution here. "Flip the switch" does not solve the problem. One should try to look specifically and analytically for the causes:

Are there performance issues in multiple subjects? Do several students have the problem in certain subjects? Is your child overwhelmed or under-challenged? Is the lesson organized in a differentiated way?

One should go to the teacher Have the lesson structure explained. What methods and media he uses. How the censoring is done (oral, written grades, competence grades, etc.). This should of course be done without judgment and not reproachfully. At the same time, the child must also have the opportunity to express their point of view. Then you can look for a conversation with the child and the teacherin order to perhaps formulate learning contracts or the like.→ More tips for a good conversation: Checklist parent / teacher interview

But more important is the question: How do you achieve that desire to learn and a thirst for knowledge are awakened again?

That is probably the more difficult undertaking and of course it also depends on the subject. Stoic vocabulary learning, for example, is out as far as I know. You can read and hear that in the specialist media. Cramming definitions and memorizing pages by page also. One is unlucky here when the school demands just that.

My suggestions: Vivid, creative learning with many different media. One can also associate one or the other with movement. Hang up learning content in the apartment so that you come across it again and again. Or record what you are learning with your mobile phone to listen to on the go. Watch explanatory videos or maybe make them yourself together with your parents. I am aware that all of this is linked to time and that some things do not work. But you can try it!

If the desire doesn't come back and there are still no successes, the problem only gets bigger. In my opinion, Gerald Hüther put it in a nutshell with his quote:

"Actually, every child needs three things: It needs tasks to which it can grow. It needs role models that it can use for orientation and it needs a community in which it feels safe."

Promote motivation!

scoyo managing director Daniel Bialecki deals intensively on a daily basis with the topic of how to keep children enjoying learning. In addition to the learning motivation guide, he has already written many articles on it. Here is a guest post on the papablog "Daddylicious": 10 tips to motivate children to learn