Daydreamer Son Hates School Need Help

My son has been struggling in school for 4 years now.  He has had trouble since Kindergarten and is now in third grade.  He absolutely hates school.  He has had good teachers that seem concerned about him however, they always say the same thing.  “He is a really sweet kid but does not pay attention”.  All his report cards come back with needs improvement.  My husband and I have him in Kumon which is a math learning center to keep him up on his math so he does not fall behind.  We do see a lot of traits the teachers are seeing at school.  He is easily distracted and he really does not seem to pay attention or be able to follow multi level tasks and has to be reminded constantly to stay on task.  He also has a lot of anxiety and when he is not on a “normal schedule” he worries all day and is very distracted.  We don’t know what to do and feel defeated.  I asked his teacher how he was doing today and she told me he does not seem to be listening still and is distracted.  When he goes to his SSD class to get help they have to re-teach him what the teacher already taught every day.  Can you help us?  We really do not want to put our child on medication for ADD without being sure it is what he needs.

Tiffany VS

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10 Responses to Daydreamer Son Hates School Need Help

  1. sguffanti says:

    There are three helpers for the inattentive. Read ADHD-Top-3-Soultions-for-the-Easily-Distractible Part 1 and 2 for more extensive detail. The most important is feeding his passion. I have never seen nor heard of a child who was inattentive to his own passion. If you feed his passion he will force himself to develop the habits of paying attention.

    Here is my recommendation:

    1. Go to and take the learning styles inventory for yourself, your spouse and your son.
    2. Post the results on my blog at
    3. Let’s discuss from your son’s perspective how he sees school and why he should want to learn
    4. Discern between your son’s passion and his addiction
    5. Feed his passion


    Stephen Guffanti MD

  2. Tiffany says:

    Hello Dr. Guffanti,
    I did the learning style inventory on myself, my husband and my son and the results are:
    Me: 45% Kinesthetic, 31% Auditory and 22% visual.
    Husband: 28% Kinesthetic, 38% Auditory and 33% Visual
    Son: 47% Kinesthetic, 26% Auditory and 26% Visual.

    Please advise what we shall do next.

  3. sguffanti says:

    Like you your son learns through movement. His teachers want him to sit which kills his learning. He complies because he is a sweet kid, but he hates school. And he is not learning.

    Moreover, he is developing the habits of inattentiveness, ADHD inattentive type. Over the last 5 years every school day he practiced ignoring the teacher and ignoring his own feelings. This is not a good skill to develop.

    You have choices:
    Ia. Get your son back before he loses himself entirely by feeding his passion. If you will do this everyday and avoid the major pitfalls – confusing addiction for passion, confusing enabling for empowering and Being Realistic vs. Attempting the Impossible he will learn whatever it takes to follow his passion.
    Ib. If you don’t know what his passion is then you need to go passion fishing until you get a bite.
    II. Change schools to a real Montessori school where children are allowed to move around and to some extent follow their interests.
    III. Home school so that he can follow his passion full time
    IV. Drug him until he doesn’t know how unhappy he is (It is sad that I even write this, but it is standard medical practice.)

    Once you choose which path you want to take then I can give more specific advice. Let me say if you choose feeding his passion, it will be the adventure of a lifetime. He will grow in leaps and bounds. I can’t recommend it enough.

  4. sguffanti says:

    By the way, at the end of my Kindergarten year, the principal sat down with my mom and told her to never bring me back to that school again. My parents received similar conferences in every school I ever went through except in medical school. In medical school I got to sit down with the dean and hear the same message without my parents. So let me just say your child is in for emotional abuse for many years if you keep him in school. Although I am sure he is nicer than I was. In those days no one called me sweet.

    • Tiffany VS says:

      Thank you for responding. Option 4 is not an option for me. I have already stood my ground with teachers, friends and even his doctor and have said “no” to medicating him. He is such a good kid and I feel sorry for him. I know how he feels! I would like to start with option 1. How do I do this? I do know he loves games. We have turned spelling into games before to get him to learn his words. I am considering Home school also but will not be able to do it for about another year. I have also considered montesory schools. For now I would like to start with option 1 though. Please provide instruction. Thank you.

  5. Tiffany VS says:

    P.S. I have been reading on your site and listening to some of your episodes and they have been GREAT! I understand myself better now! I always thought I was just weird when I would color in church while listening to the pastor but is always seemed to help me concentrate on him. I could pay attention to what he was saying better. Now I just know that it is part of how I concentrate. When I am not doing something with my hands I am distracted by everyone else around me. So far your site has really opened my eyes and I already am noticing things about my son that I thought was weird is actually normal for us. Thank you for focusing your study on this topic.

    • sguffanti says:

      Option Ia. “Get your son back before he loses himself entirely by feeding his passion. If you will do this everyday and avoid the major pitfalls – confusing addiction for passion, confusing enabling for empowering and Being Realistic vs. Attempting the Impossible he will learn whatever it takes to follow his passion.”

      Passion it is then. His passion will bring him joy. When your son has free time what does he do that makes him happy? The bigger the smile, the louder the laugh the closer to his passion.

      Ib. “If you don’t know what his passion is then you need to go passion fishing until you get a bite.” Passion fishing is when you take him to do different things and look for that bounce that seems to go throughout his body. (It has been called “Releasing your inner Tigger.”)

      It is important that you put time aside to follow your own passion. A passion is an affair of the heart and your child will know if you are not being true to your own heart. Often with women they think that they have to sacrifice their dreams for their family. This is not true, and when you do it you teach your son that following his passion is selfish.

      The question now is what is your passion and your son’s? If you don’t know then keep a journal for both of you and go fishing. The journal will help you explore your heart so that you have a feel for where your passion is.

      Believe me before you can teach your son anything he needs to be motivated. Nothing motivates like following your passion.

  6. Nina says:

    Thank you so much for allowing me to find this via google searching. We are in the midst of exactly the same thing.
    Our son is a 4th grader and exhibiting very similar things. We recently implemented a ‘feed his passion’ approach given the public school environment has been very challenging for us. He is thriving in art and tae kwon do, and we cook/bake together. He is our middle one (we have two other boys) and needs much more hands on for learning. This just isn’t an option in his school as we were painfully made aware. He is a very smart child and seems to learn better with doing.
    Thanks again and best to you, Tiffany

  7. vignesh says:

    Daydreaming kids may be brighter, say scientists
    Is you child a daydreamer, always lost in their own thoughts, and easily distracted?

    Are you forever nagging them to get a move on, pick things up, do this, do that, because they never seem to pay attention to a single thing you say?

    Well, first the bad news: there isn’t a thing you can do about it.

    And now the good: you may be raising a mini-genius!

    For new research says absent-minded children might actually have sharper brains.

    Their study showed that those who appear to be constantly distracted in fact have more “working memory”, giving them the ability to do two things at the same time.

    The researchers asked participants to either press a button in response to the appearance of a certain letter on a screen, or tap in time with their breath.

    The researchers checked periodically to ask if their minds were wandering. At the end, they measured the participants’ working memory capacity, giving them a score for their ability to remember a series of letters interspersed with easy maths questions.

    The results of the research, by Daniel Levinson, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published online in Psychological Science, are the first to show the association with mind-wandering and intelligence.

    It’s thought the extra mental workspace is used, for instance, when adding up two spoken numbers without being able to write them down.

    Its capacity has been associated with general measures of intelligence, such as reading comprehension and IQ score.

    As the stepfather of a daydreamy 10-year-old, these findings make perfect sense to me.

    History is famously populated by geniuses who could barely put their underpants on yet solved some of science’s greatest mysteries. Isaac Newton was one; Albert Einstein another. Both absent-minded professors.

    And although I don’t think mine is quite in the atom-splitting league of intelligence, this research has certainly given her mother and I some cause for optimism.

    At the moment, we spend our lives nagging our girl. “Have you packed your homework? Have you cleaned your teeth? Where’s your P.E. kit? What on earth is going on with your hair? GET IT BRUSHED.”

    While all this is happening, she wanders around in a daze. Literally away with the fairies in her head.

    She comes home from school, drops her bags and coat in the middle of the living room and steps away from them, leaving them in a pile for us to tidy up.

    She goes into her bedroom to do her homework only to emerge an hour later with some drawings of butterflies or an outline of a play she’d like to perform with her brothers i.e. absolutely, completely, nothing whatsoever to do with the maths she was sent in there to do.

    But it’s not because she’s belligerent or stroppy – though as a typical 10 year-old she certainly has her moments – it’s because her thoughts always seem to be elsewhere.

    iIn fact, she often seems so absent in the mind-stakes that we have a nickname for her: Dolly Daydream. And our easily-distracted daughter drives me and her mother to distraction.
    We have had endless discussions about how to get her to engage more; how to get her to focus on the task at hand. But no amount of hand-wringing or cajoling has worked so in the end we concluded: “It’s just the way she is.”

    And now it seems that the way she is might actually be a Very Good Thing.

    Cognitive therapist Dan Roberts told “if your child is a bit of a daydreamer, I certainly wouldn’t worry about it.

    “As this new study on working memory suggests, appearing distracted or absent-minded may be a sign that your child’s brain is more adept at performing a number of different tasks at the same time, rather than having to concentrate hard on one thing after another.

    “While parents do have to encourage their children to knuckle down, both in school and when slogging through homework, it’s crucial that we don’t make kids feel bad or inadequate just because their minds seem to wander.

    “For brighter children, a great deal of their schoolwork is likely to be mundane, so their daydreaming may also be a sign of boredom. If so, the key is to find subjects that stimulate and engage them, rather than getting frustrated or impatient when their attention flits about.”

    I doubt very much that my stepdaughter has genius tendencies, but she is unquestionably as sharp as a tack. For a recent school fair, she set up her own “Body Art” parlour – and made the princely sum of £50. Last week, she got an A+ in French. And the week before that, she was top of her year in a spelling challenge.

    Yes, she might be a Dolly Daydream, but I’d like to think it’s not because she’s lazy, thoughtless or rude – but that her mind is so full of plans for world domination that she has no room in her massive brain to pick up a couple of wet towels from the bathroom floor.

    As long as she shares her vast wealth with me and her mother one day, we’ll just have to put up with it.
    i was one among this day dreamers But do know i turned out ot be a succesful Stock broker and now im a Institutional banker rocking my own world …..

  8. sguffanti says:

    I would highly recommend that you feed her passion. Once she is engaged in developing her own world she will pick up the habits of focus that she currently lacks. Like Einstein she may never pick up her clothes, but she will get better at the mundane if it allows her to better do the extraordinary.

    You might have to home school her or you might just have to act out her plays. You can read more about feeding her passion in my book the Purpose of Passion. Because you are in England you should email me if you want so I can send you a digital copy.

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