---------------------------------------------Ask the Expert - April 2015

Category: Adolescent Development Issues
Age of Child: 16
Gender of Child: Female
Query: 1. Hello my daughter 16 she is very intelligent and hard working but now a days she has stopped studying and doesn't pays any attention her school is also putting pressure she acts weird what should I do?

2. My child was the position holder of her school.. but now she is not taking interest in studies she is willing to be an actress.. what to do?

There could be two possible explanations for what is happening with your daughter. One possibility is that since she is going through adolescence and changes associated with it, these distract her. During the adolescent age (roughly starting around ten years and above), many children go through a series of normal emotional, physical and social changes. As a result of these changes there often tends to be more interest in peers and in pursuing interests other than studies, less interest in spending time with family and adults, frequent arguments and need to exert individuality and identity etc. Some of the things that you mention seem to suggest that your daughter may also be experiencing similar changes. The adolescent period can be overwhelming for adolescents, especially if they lack correct information about the changes that they are experiencing or/and if they feel that there is no one that they can communicate with.

The other possibility is that something has recently happened in your daughter's life that is disturbing her and causing this sudden change. This could be a conflict or problems in the family, bullying in school, peer pressure from friends to engage in some activities that she is not willing to or any other similar situation. Both the above-mentioned possibilities could be creating the distress. Lecturing her about her studies (which is just a symptom of her problem) would not be useful alone.

The best thing would be if you to talk to her about the changes that you notice in her and share your concern. Communicate in an open and friendly way and encourage her to share her thoughts, feelings and concerns not matter how strange or uncomfortable they may seem. Let her know that no matter what career she wants to pursue, she would need to have some level of basic education to do well in the career. Let her know what other children her age experience so that she is able to understand and normalize her own feelings. Even if she does not share much the first time you speak to her, let her know that you are available for her whenever she feels like talking. By communicating openly, you will be giving her an opportunity to discuss and share with you in case she is bothered about something and going through a difficult time.

Good luck!