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My Daughter Can Not Focus On Her Studies

10 November, 2022
Q As Salam Alai Kum. My daughter is 9-year-old and studying in class 4. Her final exams are due in Feb. She is not willing to focus on her studies. We have done extensive ADHD tests etc as recommended by the doctor but all are well. She is an average child. We are worried in spite of helping her with the studies she is not coping with. She lacks attention and focus. She is easily distracted. When we pressurise her she back answers too of late. Please help us. Many thanks.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

“Perhaps instead of focusing on her actual results, be focusing on gently nurturing good study habits that are compatible with her levels of attention. You can do this by encouraging shorter study times more frequently, rather than longer study sessions. Sit with her and offer her encouragement so she feels supported by you and you are in hand to direct her attention back to her work if she gets distracted.”


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

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We will always have concerns for our children for one reason or another, be it their health, their safety, their education..etc.. In this case, you are worried about her education particularly because she is having some problems with an attention which is making it difficult for her. Furthermore, she now seems to behaving disrespectfully towards you too.

Firstly, do remember that she is only 9 years old. Whilst her education is very important, and it’s useful to encourage good study habits from a young age, exams and testing at this your age can be incredibly stressful. Even as adults exams bring us stress, so for a child at the age of 9 to face the stress of exams you can imagine how she must be feeling.

At the age of 9 she will not yet have developed all the skills to cope with such stress. Even as adults we commonly resort to maladaptive coping mechanisms to manage similar stressors. It is therefore important that you remain supportive during a time that is particularly stressful for her.

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At the age of 9 she won’t yet understand the importance or relevance of performing well in her exams as it will not likely have any consequences on her immediate future in the same way that more important exams that are undertaken in later life do. When there are consequences, such as attaining a place in college/university..etc.. we become more invested in studying and performing well, but with exams at 9 it is not likely that her results will be used in any significant way.

You can also remember this when thinking about how much pressure you put on her to study and perform well. Think about whether it really matters much at this stage how well she performs. This might help you to put less pressure on her to do well at this point. It may be that this reduced pressure placed upon her will make her relax more and place her in a better position to perform well.

It is quite likely that her disrespectful attitude towards you is a result of her frustrations. It may be that she genuinely does want to study and perform well in her exams, but due to her inability to concentrate and pay attention she is unable to study and perform as well as she really wants to and this will be frustrating for her. Even if it is not that she is particularly concerned about performing well, it may be that she is feeling pressured by you to perform well and study more than she feels able to.

She may therefore be feeling frustrated and upset that shes not living up to your expectations and is expressing this in the form of answering back and disrespecting you. This might not be a result of actually not respecting you, but more her way of managing her frustrations and stress. Again, it might be better, especially at her young age to reduce the pressure on her to perform well and take a more gentle approach.

Perhaps instead of focusing on her actual results, be focusing on gently nurturing good study habits that are compatible with her levels of attention. You can do this by encouraging shorter study times more frequently, rather than longer study sessions. Sit with her and offer her encouragement so she feels supported by you and you are in hand to direct her attention back to her work if she gets distracted.

Reward her with smiles and encouragement focusing more on her efforts and intentions than actual performance as such. This positive reinforcement will make her more likely to enjoy study and feel more inclined and happy to study as it becomes a positive experience with reduced pressure.

May Allah make it easy for you as parents to assist your daughter and may Allah make things easier for her also.

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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.

Read more:

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My Son’s Exam Results Are Depressing

My Young Brother Is Struggling in School

About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)