Sense & Sensitivity

Embarrassed Son Skips Tutoring Appointments

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son had a terrible time at school at the beginning of this year, but he seems to be turning a corner. One class remains challenging for him. I organized a tutor, but he’s embarrassed to go to him.

I just discovered that my son has not shown up for any of his tutoring appointments. When I questioned him, he told me that he is doing fine and doesn’t need the help. His teacher told me that the tutor will help him get stronger in the class. How can I get him to understand the value of going to the tutor? -- Need a Tutor, Cleveland

DEAR NEED A TUTOR: Peer pressure -- or the appearance of it -- can be powerful and disabling at once. Your son has it in his head that going to a tutor is a sign of weakness. What he needs to learn is that many of the most brilliant people get support from others to ensure that they are knowledgeable about whatever the topic is.

It is likely that other members of his class have tutors, even if they don’t talk about it. Point this out to him. Let him know that fortifying his foundation in this subject is critical to his overall success, and that’s what the tutor is for. If that doesn’t work, give him an ultimatum: He must go to the tutor, or he loses a privilege that he values, like the use of his cellphone. If you and his teacher believe this is essential for his academic well-being, make it a requirement.

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