Is my child just lazy or is something wrong?

By December 18, 2017Blog

In this blog, I wish to discuss a “syndrome” that I often hear about when I meet with parents. The “My-Child*-Could-Do-It-But-He-Is-Just-Too-Lazy” syndrome.

This is not a formal diagnosis by any Psychologist or Developmental Pediatrician. This is the diagnosis of a frustrated parent. As the mother of 3 teenagers, I understand this all to well.

In my experience, children generally prefer to succeed than to fail. If a child is fully capable of performing a task, he will do it to the best of his ability. A child who is demonstrating difficulty on a regular basis, however, would benefit from support to help him succeed to the best of his ability.

To start this discussion, I looked up a definition of the word “Lazy”:

“not liking to work hard or to be active” (Merriam-Webster.com)

For example:

  1. He was a lazy child who avoided household chores
  2. I should have done more work this weekend, but I was feeling lazy.

Many of my clients, however, are using the word “lazy” to describe their children as being: “too lazy to do their school work correctly” or “too lazy to get their school work done”.

How many times have I heard the following?

Parent, “My son is smart and knows the answers, but he is so lazy that he only writes one or two word answers on his reports/ tests/ worksheets/ essays.”

My response to this comment is:

Is your child always having this trouble with his school work or does this only happen occasionally?

If your answer is “Occasionally”, then you probably have a child who, like everyone else on the planet, would rather be doing something fun than stuck inside doing homework.

If your answer is “Always”, then I encourage you to have a discussion with your child. Ask him why he only writes short answers, in spite of the fact that you feel he can give more information. Ask him why he didn’t answer all the questions on the test or homework assignment. Ask him why he couldn’t finish his project in the 2 weeks since it was assigned.

Really Listen To His Answer.

  • Does he have trouble organizing the information from his head onto the paper?
  • Can he answer questions better verbally?
  • Does his hand get tired when he does a lot of writing?
  • Was he having trouble figuring out how to start the assignment or how to source out the information?
  • Did he have trouble understanding the instructions?
  • Did he run out of time to finish his test?

Based on his answers, seek help.

  • Speak with your child’s teacher. Ask what resources are available in the school to help your child in those specific subject areas.
  • Consider an assessment by a professional who specializes in your child’s area of difficulty.
  • A Speech and Language Assessment by a Speech Language Pathologist would assess your child’s overall language comprehension and expressions skills.
  • A Psycho-Educational assessment by a Psychologist would assess your child’s learning style and determine his areas of strengths and weaknesses across all areas of learning. This includes how your child processes information, his attention to tasks, memory and helpful accommodations to the classroom curriculum.
  • An Occupational Therapist will assess your child’s fine motor skills and make recommendations to improve hand strength and stamina for writing.

Sometimes, what we want for our child, is not always what is best for our child. Make informed decisions.

For example: You may want your child to be in a French Immersion program or take University Level classes in High School. Your child, however, may need to be in a program that focuses on mastering only one language or be in smaller, supported, College Level classes.

These changes can make a significant difference in your child’s success in school and overall self esteem.

Don’t be Lazy. Be an active advocate for your child’s academic success.

Call us at 416-490-1720 to speak with an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist about your child’s communication needs!

This Blog is dedicated to my bright and inspiring sons.  You taught me to listen, and inspired me to advocate. You have travelled from failure to Honor Roll.  Your achievements are the highlights of my day.