My Son Is Not Interested in Studies, What Can I Do?

01 September, 2021
Q My son is 12 years old. He is not taking interest in studies. He is studying in a Catholic school. A maulana comes to teach Arabic. How shall I handle him in an Islamic way?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

This is the first step: rule out anything external – as discussed above – that may cause him to lose interest in school and studying. 

At this age, kids are trying to fit in and learn more advanced social skills as well as experience an emotional roller coaster of feelings.

I would suggest that you find out which subjects if any, he is interested in.

I would kindly suggest sister that you also get him involved in boys’ study groups at your Masjid.


As salamu alaykum sister,

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Thank you for writing to us.  I am wondering if he is not interested in all of his studies or just his studies at school.

Problems At School?

I would kindly suggest sister that you try to rule out any issues that may be going on at school. Maybe he does not understand the subject matter thus he feels defeated.

Maybe other children bully him, or perhaps he has misunderstandings with teachers which may lead to disinterest.

I would suggest that you sit down with him and ask him how his days are at school. What subjects does he like? Ask him if he understands the classes or does he feel he is behind in any classes.

My Son Is Not Interested in Studies, What Can I Do? - About Islam

Inquire about his friends at school.  Ask him if people treat him nice as well as if he feels comfortable there. 

It may take some time and trust-building to get him to talk about what is going on, but please approach him in a non-judgmental way.

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 discussing fears and problems. 

This is the first step: rule out anything external – as discussed above – that may cause him to lose interest in studying. 

Puberty

PBS Parents discusses why children (more often boys) do not take an interest in school. 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 are trying to fit in and learn more advanced social skills. They also experience an emotional roller coaster of feelings.

Find His Interest

Once you have ruled out any other factors for his lack of interest, I would suggest that you find out which subjects 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. 

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 excelling in math and science 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.

Schedule His Activities

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.

Boys’ Study Group

I would kindly suggest sister that you also get him involved in boys’ study groups at your Masjid.

By learning more about Islam, and being around Muslim boys more, he may develop a love for learning in this manner.

Additionally, the more bonds he forms with Muslim boys his age, the more inclined he may become to his education.

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 an enjoyable time.

In Summary

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 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.

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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.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.