Hate of Learning: One Cause and a Possible Remedy

Published with Permission
Written by Andrew Pudewa

When one of my daughters was around 12 years old, we faced a significant problem with her motivation and quality of work. Her “school” days went pretty much like this: She would get up, do everything on her checklist with as little effort as possible (often being “finished” by 10:00 a.m.), and then spend the rest of the day snacking and annoying everyone else in the house. When confronted about the quality of her work, she would counter, “I did it—what more do you want?” When it was pointed out to her that she was “finished” in a couple of hours and that perhaps she could have a bit more added to her checklist, an ugly, hormone-enhanced argument would ensue: “I’m already doing everything I have to. More wouldn’t be fair! How come you want to make my life miserable? I’m doing enough, okay? Can you just leave me alone?”

Sound familiar? If you have a large enough family, you’re likely to have at least one child who develops this attitude at some point, which might be appropriately termed “Hate of Learning” stage. The danger, of course, is that Mom and Dad start thinking evil thoughts such as “We’re failing her . . . maybe we should put her in a good school . . . of course, she wouldn’t necessarily spend any more time studying, but at least she’d be out of our hair for a while . . . maybe we just need to be more strict . . . .” Such were the thoughts my wife and I entertained at that time. Fortunately, I came across a possible strategy that involved neither sending her to school nor using a heavy-handed approach. (more…)