Academic Underachievement

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Academic Underachievement

Academic Underachievement

Most people, at some point in their lives have academic problems, whether it’s elementary school, high school or college. The stress of experiencing academic underachievement can have a huge impact on self esteem and, in younger students, particularly, lead to emotional withdrawal and/or acting out. The stress of academic problems can lead to even more stress and other situations that they have trouble dealing with, eventually interfering with their home lives, friendships which are so important, and work.

Academic underachievement doesn’t just affect children or young adults with learning disabilities; it can be attributed to intelligent or gifted students as well, who at times face problems with their studies because they’re bored with the material or are having some sort of emotional problem, perhaps having something to do with family conflicts or self esteem issues. It could be a situation where, in relation to a sibling, one child excels in school and the other doesn’t and the parent put the academically successful child on a pedestal. Studies have shown that individuals who constantly struggle in an attempt to reach their full potential in some cases were dealing with learning disabilities like ADHD and Dyslexia.

Common Academic Underachievement Causes

  • The student is dealing with bullying at school

  • Disinterest in the class subjects

  • Not enough attention from the teachers

  • Having trouble understanding the topics of study

  • Time management and procrastination issues


Be your Child’s Advocate


Keep the lines of communication (open and positive communication) with your child open regarding school, and offer advice or help if they ask for it. If your child is having trouble interacting with a teacher, dealing with a bully, or is falling behind in a class or classes, don’t be reluctant about intervening. The daily challenges of school life often seem trivial to adults who’ve been out of school for a long time, but for younger children and teens, school can be everything. When their grades are poor, or school life in general goes badly, life for the student is miserable, so take your child’s concerns and sudden attitude changes seriously. Also, keep in mind that the school’s principal and teachers are there to help your child with their academics and to advocate, meet with the teachers and find out how, together, you can help your child succeed.

Counseling and Psychotherapy


Counseling can help relieve the stress that is in many cases is the cause of academic concerns, helping the student cope in a positive way. Psychotherapy, taking counseling a step further by helping determine the cause of the stresses or concerns which can both be related to the actual academics or other personal issues. Typical personal issues that can cause academic struggles include traumatic experiences like bullying, family or personal problems, financial problems and more. Psychotherapy addresses these kinds of underlying issues and helps to correct them. Academically related concerns can be addressed and helped to correct them. Academically related concerns can be addressed and helped by getting support from within the school system, including hiring a tutor or seeing the school counselor, advisor, or tutor.

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