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Help kids reverse a trend of underachievement

Children and their parents sometimes wonder why doing schoolwork well is so important. Ruth Peters, author of Overcoming Underachieving, says the main reason is because the habit of achieving or not achieving follows kids into the real world where real problems can result.

Why do smart kids get poor grades? Lack of motivation is one reason. Some students don't believe they can achieve their goals even if they work harder. Afraid their best efforts won't measure up to peers, they stop trying. 

Somewhere on the way to adulthood, kids have to realize that it's necessary to do things they don't want to do, or are bored with. Learning to do what they may not like is part of the self-discipline needed to succeed in their jobs, their marriages, and raising children. 

Underachievement is a learned behavior and one that wastes human potential. The causes are many. Some kids avoid responsibility. Others worry or procrastinate. Others may be victims of bullying or discrimination.

Parents can work with teachers to determine what schoolwork expectations are. They can help the child make daily assignment sheets for listing subjects and homework. If you can teach a child at an early age to be persistent and have self-discipline, you have given the child the key to all the doors of life, Peters says.

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