In this counseling answer:
“Focus on what he is interested in and find ways to apply it to his school studies. While this isn’t always easy to do, with some creativity you can illustrate how his interests are related to his studies in many ways. For instance, if he likes playing games you can show him how by excelling in math and science it would improve his gaming skills. If he is interested in swimming, nature or other outdoor activities you can tie that in with biology, physical education as well as other subjects that relate to his curiosities.”
As salamu alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing to us. As I understand things, you son attends a Catholic school and the maulana/Islamic scholar comes to teach him Arabic. Your son is 12 and you state he does not take an interest in his studies. I am wondering if he is not interested in all of his studies including the Arabic language studies, or just his studies at school.
I would kindly suggest sister that you try to rule out any issues that may be going on at school such as his not understanding the subject matter thus feeling defeated; the possibility of him being bullied by other children, or perhaps misunderstandings with teachers which may lead to a disinterest. I would suggest that insha’Allah you sit down with him and ask him how he days are at school what subjects does he like and ask him if he understands the classes or does he feel he is behind in any classes.
Inquire about his friends at school. Ask him if people treat him nice as well as if he feels comfortable there. While it may take some time and trust building o get him to talk about what is going on (if anything is), please do approach him in a non-judgmental way and perhaps share some of your school experiences-both good and bad when you were his age.
By showing that you can relate to him in this manner he may be more open to taking and discussing and fears, problems or issues if they do exist. This is the first step-to rule out if anything external as discussed above is causing him to lose interest in school and studying. PBS Parents (1) discusses why children (more often boys) do not take an interest in school and you may insha’Allah gain further insight by reading the article if you so chose.
Sister, at this age it is quite common for kids not to take an interest in studying. There is so much going on at this age with puberty oncoming, kids trying to fit in and learn more advanced social skills as well as the emotional roller coaster of feelings experienced at this age.
Once you have ruled out any other factors for his lack of interest, I would suggest that you find out which subjects if any, he is interested in. These can be subjects outside of his school studies such as an interest in games, writing, nature, sports, computers, etc.
Focus on what he is interested in and find ways to apply it to his school studies. While this isn’t always easy to do, with some creativity you can illustrate how his interests are related to his studies in many ways. For instance, if he likes playing games you can show him how by excelling in math and science it would improve his gaming skills. If he is interested in swimming, nature or other outdoor activities you can tie that in with biology, physical education as well as other subjects that relate to his curiosities. By tying in your son’s interests to his academics at school, your son may begin to realize the benefits of learning and studying beyond getting good grades insha’Allah.
For a more regulated approach, I would also suggest that you set a schedule for his activities after school. It would possibly include time to unwind from his day, a time for light, joyful, fun activities, dinner and of course studying. I would kindly suggest that you set up a study area in the home which is quiet, calming and conducive to concentration.
Additionally, you may want to insha’Allah have him in an area wherein you can watch him from time to time to see if he is struggling with any subjects and needs help. Insha’Allah, with a set schedule, he will know exactly what is expected of him and when.
He will also know that if he needs assistance you are there to help him. Again, this is something he may have to get used to but with time insha’Allah he will. I would kindly suggest sister that you also get him involved in boys study groups at your Masjid. By learning more about Islam, as well as being around Muslim boys his age more, he may develop a love for learning in this manner as Islamic history is rich in accomplishments in all area’s of academia.
Additionally, the more bonds he forms with Muslim boys his age, the more inclined he may be to take not only his education more seriously but his position as a Muslim seeking knowledge as well. There are many hadiths, stories in the Qur’an as well as books written by scholars regarding the importance of seeking knowledge. I would kindly suggest getting him a few books that may interest him and read them with him as a family effort and enjoyable time.
Sister, I am confident this is a phase he is going through due to his age. As parents, we find this frustrating but insha’allah it will pass soon. Please do try to rule out any interference’s which may be occurring as outlined above as well as further expounded upon by the PBS article. Find out his interests and applying them to his school studies as well as get him involved with Muslim boys and Islamic groups at the Masjid. Insha’Allah this soon will pass and you will welcome the change of a young man eager to learn.
We wish you the best.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.