What Causes Underachievement Syndrome?

Has your child not been achieving up to their full potential? If they are having a tough time with staying motivated to complete tasks, they could be an underachiever.

What Is an underachiever?

Underachievement is a discrepancy between a child’s school performance and some index of the child’s ability. If children are not working to their ability in school, they are underachieving. Here are some signs of an underachieving child from The founder of the Institute for Motivational Development your child may‚Ķ fail to complete projects on time, seem to have a short attention span, do well only when they feel like it or they may view criticism as if they are being picked on. This is just a short list of signs. If you notice your child struggling in school or other areas be sure to take them to be evaluated by a professional.

Causes for underachievement

Sometimes it can be tough to pinpoint one cause of underachievement. Many times, there several contributing factors. Here is a list of some of the causes. Your child may be dealing with some emotional issues that they may not know how to communicate or navigate through. They may have a fear of failure or they may be afraid of not succeeding. This can occur when they take on work that they feel is too challenging for them which can cause them to study less or to put less effort in. Your child may also have low esteem which relates to a skewed concept of their level of ability. They could also feel pressure to conform. Your child may feel a need to fit in to match the skill level of their peers. There also could be some extrinsic factors that may be impacting your child such as a lack of a supportive academic environment. Teachers may not be trained to handle their academic needs or if your child completes work quicker than their peers, your child may be receiving busy work from their teachers which may cause them to be bored. The family structure also plays a role in your child achieving up to their full potential. Parents may have too high or low expectations for the child. Your child may also be receiving mixed messages about achievement at home or at school.

Helping Underachievers: Points to Keep in Mind

These Twelve parent guidelines are included in Sylvia Rimm’s Laws of Student Achievement (Rimm 1995).

Here are a few:

  • Overreaction by parents to children’s successes and failures leads them to feel either intense pressure to succeed or despair and discouragement in dealing with failure.
  • Children can learn appropriate behaviors more easily if they have an effective model to imitate.
  • Deprivation and excess frequently exhibit the same symptoms.
  • Children feel more tension when they are worried about their work than when they are doing that work.
  • Children develop self-confidence through struggle.

The best plan of action to help your underachieving child is to work with a professional to help you understand what the causes are behind it, and then to have them create a plan of action that can help your child. Be sure to follow us on our Facebook page as well as continue to check out our blog where we share more helpful information to help with underachievement and more.