We can sometimes observe how our children study at their desks. While studying or doing tuition centre homework, they may be staring blankly at their work. They may start doodling on their Math tuition papers, or fiddle around with their stationaries. Glancing at their faces, they have the gloomiest expressions. Despite our best efforts, why do our children sometimes seem so disinterested in studying?
- Distracted by devices
We grew up in a different environment from our children today. Gone are the days where a phone in hand was rare. Having one meant it was a reward or a privilege. These days, phones have become a necessity. Phones have become so affordable and far-ranging that it becomes convenient to get one for your child. Notably, plenty of research has shown that smartphones are designed to be addicting. From social media applications to games, using smartphones have been shown to invoke higher productions of dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that stimulates pleasure and happiness. With children, this means that playing on their smartphones gives them more satisfaction than studying. Doing tuition centre homework or the like is boring in comparison. It is difficult to derive satisfaction or pleasure from studying, especially if pitted against smartphones.
- High Pressure/Expectations
Another reason why children sometimes seem reluctant to study is the high pressure that comes from self, parents, or teachers. A competitive school or tuition centre environment also increases the expectations for better performance. The high pressure or expectations leads to perfectionism. Such perfectionist tendencies then manifest into a persistent fear of failing to meet such high expectations. It becomes a situation where it is better not to try so that any efforts do not betray them. Children become demoralised at the thought of being unable to meet such expectations. They lose their will and motivation to study.
- Negative Association with Studying from School
Another reason could be negative feelings associated with studying. When schools become dreaded places to go to, we have to examine the underlying reasons behind it. It could be because of problematic friends, social isolation, or scary teachers. Studies show that victims of bullying perform worse in school-based tests. When negative feelings fester, the brain tends to avoid anything school related. Our children then become dispirited when asked to study, almost defensive. We thus have to become confidants for our children to turn to when such troubles arise.
The next time you observe your children studying, think of these 3 reasons in mind. When we witness our children’s performance in school worsening, we often have to manage the way we respond to it. As their primary figures in life, we have to be emotional conduits for them for any issues relating to school or academics.