Raising A Boy: Help Your Son Stay Focused in School
While raising a boy, you might discover that he has trouble concentrating in school. There are several reasons for this mind wandering. Some of it is simply his attention span. He is not yet disciplined enough to keep focused on that test when there are friends to talk with and messing around to do. This does not in itself mean that he is ADD or the like. It could just mean that he is a boy.
He also may be intimidated with his new schoolwork. In those middle grades, the more playful atmosphere of primary school has gone past and his brain is going “tween” on him. The discipline of study and school in the 4th-6th grade years may be one of his first real roadblocks, just as gravity was once a roadblock to his standing on his own two feet. This block makes it just too easy for him to let his mind meander- and it is your job to help that focus grow.
You are not helpless as a parent to fix some of these issues and a little effort on your part will bring some good results. As you had to learn to help him walk when he was a toddler, now you need to help him learn some new skills. Rather than view these school challenges from the perspective of something that is wrong, look at it as one of his next stages to go through.
Sure, you can try screaming at him. Maybe you have already taught him to respond to you only when you lose your cool. However, do you recall yelling at your son when he was not learning to walk “the right way?” Therefore, like learning to walk, learning to school is the same challenge. Focus on changing behavior, rewarding him for progress in this latest developmental stage. Work with your boy to create the ground rules, reward him when the rules are followed and correct when he veers off.
Your boy may not be interested in school under any circumstances. Conversations and concepts about rules may not work. In that case, focus on behavior and not his cognitive agreement to the greater good. You are the parent and you do have the keys to resolve this. Work with your son on choosing rewards for great school behavior as verified by his teacher or guidance counselor. While you can reward him with things, toys, money and so forth, try to dig a little deeper. He is your son. What makes him tick? Will an afternoon spent with you on a project, road trip or special meal be a better motivator? Be creative with this.
Do not be afraid to apply some incentives to help him stay focused. After all, you get an incentive to stay focused at work and “get good grades” in your profession. That incentive is called a “paycheck.” Getting paid for your work is not better or worse than rewarding your boy for good grades.
Think about your home environment. Are you providing a good place for him to do homework or school studies? Is education clearly a priority in your own home? Are you modeling reading and math use in your daily life? If he is really lost or struggling, does he need some temporary tutoring to help him learn study skills? By the way, tutors do not have to be from professional companies. Even a local high-school boy who does well in school can provide to your son some tips on studying while at the same time presenting a good role model.
Raising a boy requires you to look at all his development as part of his stages of growth. Success in school is also a stage for your son to master.
The Anonymous Dad is a frequent contributor to the Raising a Boy site. He suggests this book to learn more about this subject: “That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week.” Find more book suggestions in our store. Photo from fotolia.com.