Among signs of an underachieving child, according to Chicago psychologist Linnus S. Pecaut, founder of the Institute for Motivational Development:
1. Scores average or better on intelligence tests, but has poor grades.
2. Doesn't apply himself.
3. Spends too much time watching TV or doing nothing constructive.
4. Is not a self-starter.
5. Spends too little time doing homework or preparing for classes and may even claim he has no homework.
6. Is immature in relationships with grownups and views any criticism as being picked on.
7. Often fails to complete projects.
8. Does worst in important subjects like math and English.
9. Is a procrastinator and regularly responds "later" or "in a minute" to parental requests.
10. Rarely accepts responsibility for personal failure. Blames it on bad luck or others.
11. Reported by teachers to be almost always behind in his work and lacking self-discipline.
12. Excuses his bad performance in school with "the teacher is boring," "the class is irrelevant," "I had a bad day."
13. Seems to have a short attention span.
14. Spends more time getting out of work than completing it.
15. Refuses to make any realistic plans about his future.
16. Does well only when he feels like it.
17. Becomes angry when things don't go the way he wants.
18. Cannot save money.
19. Lacks self-confidence, particularly around kids his own age.
20. Can work only with one-on-one attention.
If your child has eight or more of these signs, he is probably an underachiever, according to Pecaut.