Q: Hi, my step son is 11 years old and fortunately is a very clever boy, however every day is a constant struggle with him having to do homework, projects or studying for assessments (exams). He refuses to do none of the above (on a daily basis) and gives my husband and us a very hard time about these issues, we have explained the importance of having to do this in order to achieve well. The fights he gives us is now causing severe problems for the family. Please can you suggest what we can do and if a child has this problem? Should we look at sending him to a “special school” that can assist with this sort of problem. We have tried motivating him, then punishing him and finally we have given him the option of whether he would like to or not do what is required from him — he chooses not to do any of the above and will not change his ways.

A: I would first have him evaluated by a child psychologist before you look at changing his school. He could have ADHD or a learning disability, even though you say he is clever. Some kids who are intelligent but have one of these problems do poorly because of the effort and time it requires. Others get bored because they are not challenged enough. He could be angry because of family changes and is acting this out. There could be many issues causing the problem and a psychologist or family therapist, in coordination with his teacher, would be your best bet in helping you solve the puzzle. I would also suggest the book, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades by Sylvia Rimm.