Why Are Boys More Likely to Struggle in School?

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, boys of all ages have consistently scored worse than girls in reading for the past three decades. Boys are more frequently held back a grade, diagnosed with learning disabilities and referred to a school counselor.

When it comes to postsecondary education, young men are also less likely to enroll in college and complete a degree program – a trend seen not only in the U.S., but worldwide. What accounts for these gaps, and how can you tell when your son is struggling in school?

Cultural Expectations and Learning Styles Create a Gap

Though scientific evidence has disproven many outdated sexist stereotypes about gender differences, studies have shown some disparities in structural brain maturation in early childhood through adolescence. Parents often reinforce these variations, socializing little girls to be quiet readers and little boys to be energetic adventurers.

When boys begin struggling in school, it might be because prevailing teaching methods aren’t a good fit for their learning style. For example, kinesthetic learners who acquire new information by doing hands-on activities are unlikely to excel in a classroom where the teacher expects students to sit still and take notes from a lecture.

What to Do if Your Son Is Struggling in School

Boys who are struggling in school may begin acting out to express their frustration or impress their peers. They might also skip classes and experiment with other reckless behaviors such as substance use. If you notice a sudden sharp drop in your son’s grades, here are some things you can try.

  • Start a conversation: Adolescence can be a challenging time. Rapidly changing social expectations and a more demanding academic curriculum are hard for many teens to adjust to. You can let your teen know the door is always open when he is ready to talk about these issues. Be sure to listen non-judgmentally without interrupting.
  • Get involved in his school: Schedule meetings with your child’s teachers or join the PTO. Taking an active role in his educational experience is one way you can show your son how much you care and want him to succeed.
  • Offer to get help: Even students who aren’t struggling in school can benefit from meeting with a therapist to help them work through complicated emotions. Or, if your son likes school but is having trouble grasping a specific subject, he might need one-on-one help from a tutor.
  • Pay attention to your feelings: If you are frustrated that your son doesn’t seem to be living up to his full potential, it could strain your relationship. Don’t neglect your emotional needs when you find yourself frequently angry or upset.

Find Structure at PACE Academy

At PACE Academy, we help young men at various stages in their academic pursuits. Clients who have been struggling in school can benefit from the structure, accountability and responsibility our programming instills. Students enrolled in this program will learn valuable life skills and study skills in a single-gender environment that helps them focus on new goals.

As an integral part of our Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program, PACE Academy helps build a solid foundation for future success. For more information on how we can help your family, please contact us.

Isolation on the Rise in Men

While solitude can allow you to relax and spend time with your thoughts, too much social isolation can be unhealthy. Due to the inextricable mind-body connection, people who lack close relationships can become chronically stressed, which can lead to a host of other health problems. Social isolation may also cause or worsen disorders like depression and anxiety.

Why Are Men So Lonely?

Factors such as cultural norms, heavy technology use, gig working and fewer opportunities to socialize have made it more difficult for young men to form close friendships. As a result, they increasingly spend large amounts of time alone or in extremely limited contact with others.

If you lack intimate relationships in your life, you may notice the following problems developing.

  • You avoid get-togethers, including those you formerly enjoyed.
  • Canceling plans to go out gives you a sense of relief.
  • Thinking about in-person interactions makes you anxious or panicky.
  • You’re unwilling or unable to share your feelings with others.

Societal Pressures Are Different for Boys and Girls

Parents of young girls encourage them to be compassionate, communicative and practice active listening skills – all qualities that can forge and nurture emotionally supportive relationships. Often, boys do not receive this same type of socialization, which can make them reluctant to show any signs of weakness or ask for help. As a result of these different cultural expectations, young men are less likely to reach out when they’re struggling or show affection to their loved ones.

Boys and young men crave close connections with their peers, but there is still stigma attached to male vulnerability. Statistically, men are much less likely than women to seek help for mental and emotional health issues due to ingrained gender norms about self-reliance. As a result, they are often more isolated throughout their lives.

Social Isolation Is Unhealthy

Though it’s possible to be alone without feeling lonely, chronic loneliness can become problematic if you don’t have the emotional, mental or financial resources to go out and satisfy your social needs or lack a circle of friends who can provide the benefits of camaraderie.

Research has linked social isolation to various adverse health consequences, including depression, poor sleep quality, diminished executive function, accelerated cognitive decline and impaired immunity at every stage of life. For example, the results of one study suggest lonely people are up to 30% more likely to experience cardiovascular disease, including strokes.

In the absence of encouragement from family or friends, isolated people may also fall into unhealthy habits like drinking, drug use and eating or sleeping too much or too little. These can worsen your feelings of loneliness by impacting your physical and mental health.

Begin Your Healing Journey Today

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer customized programming in a gender-specific environment. Here, you can find a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood among other men who have faced similar challenges, making friendships that can last a lifetime.

Addressing all aspects of the disease of addiction, including related mental health issues, the PACE approach includes 12-step meetings and evidence-based practices. We offer men’s long-term residential treatment in Orange County in a structured program that includes 24/7 access to resources. Contact us today to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about the admissions process.

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