Seventh-Grader Stopped Doing His Homework
Instead of coming to me for help, he hid the fact that he was doing poorly by withholding deficiency notices. He even went so far as to intercept his report card in the mail. Unfortunately, the school never followed up, and his grades slid from B's to F's in one quarter.
He's always done very well in school and has never done anything like this before. Why didn't he come to me for help? We have a very close relationship, and I tell him that I'm here to help him and support him. Frankly, I'm at a loss.
He knows he's in a real hole and has shattered the trust of his whole family. But I also told him that he can get out of it with hard work and reiterated my pledge to help him. Is it common for kids to get overwhelmed and just stop functioning academically?
In this meeting, the teachers should explain your son's strengths, their expectations about class work and homework, their rules, and what they would suggest your son do to improve his study skills and his performance. (They may not have noticed he isn't using his class time well.) Your son should be given an opportunity to say what he thinks the problem is. The meeting should focus on a plan to help your son. If at any time it becomes a listing of everything he does wrong, firmly bring it back to the point of what everyone can do to help. At the end of the meeting everyone, including your son, should state clearly what they will be doing to help and keep tabs on the situation.
As far as emotional support goes, it appears you have that well in hand. You are setting boundaries and not taking his failures personally. You are still loving him, but not accepting his misbehavior. You have set the goal for him to reestablish trust. Good for you! He will get back on track because you are addressing this challenge quickly.
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Home / Expert Articles / Child Behavior Problems / School & Homework
“My Child Refuses to Do Homework” — How to Stop the Nightly Struggle Over Schoolwork
By janet lehman, msw.
For many parents, getting their kids to do their homework is a nightly struggle. Some kids refuse to do their homework. Others claim that they don’t have homework, but then the report card comes out, and you realize that their work was not being done.
So why is homework time so difficult? In my opinion, one of the major reasons is that it’s hard for kids to focus at home. Look at it this way: when your child is in school, they’re in a classroom where there aren’t a lot of distractions. The learning is structured and organized, and all the students are focusing on the same thing.
But when your child comes home, their brain clicks over to “free time” mode. In their mind, home is a place to relax, have a snack, listen to music, and play video games. Kids simply don’t view the home as the place to do schoolwork.
If the homework struggles you experience are part of a larger pattern of acting out behavior, then the child is resisting to get power over you. They intend to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and homework just becomes another battlefield. And, as on any other battlefield, parents can use tactics that succeed or tactics that fail.
Regardless of why your child won’t do their homework, know that fighting over it is a losing proposition for both of you. You will end up frustrated, angry, and exhausted, and your child will have found yet another way to push your buttons. And, even worse, they will wind up hating school and hating learning.
A major part of getting your child to do their homework lies in establishing a system so that your child comes to see that homework is just a regular part of home life. Once they accept that, you’ve already won half the battle. Accordingly, my first few tips are around setting up this system. If you get the system right, things tend to fall into place.
Put this system in place with your child at a time when things are calm and going well rather than during the heat of an argument. Tell your child that you’re going to try something different starting next week with homework that will make it go better for everyone. Then explain the system.
You’ll find that this system will make your life easier as a parent, will make you more effective as a parent, and will help your child to get the work done. And when your child gets their work done, they’re more likely to succeed, and nothing drives motivation more than success.
Structure the Evening for Homework
When your kids come home, there should be a structure and a schedule set up each night. I recommend that you write this up and post it on the refrigerator or in some central location in the house. Kids need to know that there is a time to eat, a time to do homework, and also that there is free time. And remember, free time starts after homework is done.
Homework time should be a quiet time in your whole house. Siblings shouldn’t be in the next room watching TV or playing video games. The whole idea is to eliminate distractions. The message to your child is, “You’re not going to do anything anyway, so you might as well do your homework.”
Even if your child doesn’t have homework some nights, homework time should still mean no phone and no electronics. Instead, your child can read a book or a magazine in their room or work on longer-term assignments. Consistently adhering to the homework time structure is important to instill the homework habit.
Start the Evening Homework Habit When Your Kids are Young
If your children are younger and they don’t get homework yet, set aside quiet time each evening where your child can read or do some type of learning. Doing so will help children understand that evening quiet and study time is a part of everyday home life, just like chores. This habit will pay off when the real homework begins.
Use a Public Place for Homework
For a lot of kids, sending them to their rooms to do their homework is a mistake. Many children need your presence to stay focused and disciplined. And they need to be away from the stuff in their rooms that can distract them.
You know your child best. If you think they’re not being productive in their room, then insist they work at the kitchen table or in some other room where you can monitor them and where there will be fewer distractions.
If they do homework in their room, the door to the room should be open, and you should check in from time to time. No text messaging, no fooling around. Take the phone and laptop away and eliminate electronics from the room during study time. In short, you want to get rid of all the temptations and distractions.
Give Breaks During Homework Time
Many kids get tired halfway through homework time, and that’s when they start acting up. If your child is doing an hour of homework, have them take a 5-minute break every half-hour so that they can get up, have a snack, and stretch their legs. But don’t allow electronics during the break—electronics are just too distracting.
Monitor the break and ensure that your child gets back to work promptly.
Be sure to encourage your child when they’re discouraged. It’s okay to say things like:
“I know it’s a drag, but think of this—when you get your work done, the rest of the night is yours.”
“Look, if you do your work all week, you’ll have the whole weekend to do what you want.”
Show your child empathy—how many of us truly enjoyed homework every night? It’s work, pure and simple. But your child will be encouraged when they begin to have success with their work.
Help Your Child Get Started With Their Homework
Some kids have a hard time getting assignments started. They may be overwhelmed or unsure where to begin. Or the work may seem too difficult.
There’s a concept I explain in The Total Transformation® child behavior program called hurdle help . If you have a child who has a hard time getting started, spend the first five minutes with them to get them over the first couple of hurdles. Perhaps help them with the first math problem or make sure they understand the assignment.
For many kids who are slow starters, hurdle help is very effective. This doesn’t mean you are doing their homework for them—this is simply extra help designed to get them going on their own.
Help Your Child Manage Long-Term Assignments
If your child has a big, long-term project, then you want to work with them to estimate how much time it’s going to take. Then your child has to work within that time frame. So if your child has a science project, help them manage and structure their time. For instance, if the project is due in 30 days, ask them:
“How much time are you going to spend on it each night?”
They might say, “15 minutes a night,” and you hold them to that.
Don’t assume that your child knows how to manage their time effectively. As adults, we sometimes take for granted the habits we have spent a lifetime developing and forget that our kids are not there yet.
Make Sunday Night a School Night
The way that I structure the weekend is that Sunday night is a school night, not Friday. So if your child has homework for the weekend, and as long as they’re done all their work for the past week, they get Friday and Saturday night off and can do their homework on Sunday night.
If there’s a project or something big to do over the weekend, then work with your child to budget their time. They may have to put some time in on Saturday or Sunday during the day. But other than that, your child should have the weekend off too, just like adults do.
The Weekend Doesn’t Begin Until Overdue Work Is Done
If your child has overdue homework, their weekend shouldn’t begin until those assignments are done. In other words, Friday night is a homework night if their week’s work is not complete.
Believe me, this is a highly effective consequence for kids because it creates a great incentive to get their work done. Indeed, each minute they’re doing homework is a minute they could be hanging out with friends or playing video games.
If you can hold to this rule once and deal with the complaining, then next week the homework will be done.
By the way, if they say they can’t do their homework because they didn’t bring their school books home, they should be grounded for the weekend. You can say:
“I don’t want to hear that you can’t do it because you don’t have your books. You’d better call around and find a friend who you can borrow them from. Otherwise, you’ll be staying in this weekend.”
Make Homework a Higher Priority Than Activities
Kids are involved in a lot of after school activities these days. I understand that. But my priority has always been “homework comes first.”
In my opinion, if the homework isn’t done on Monday, then your child shouldn’t go to football on Tuesday. It’s fine if he misses a practice or two. You can say:
“Here’s the deal. We’re not going to football today. You need to get your work done first.”
If your child says, “Well, if I miss a practice, I’m going to get thrown off the team,” You can say:
“Well, then make sure your work is complete. Otherwise, you’re not going to practice. That’s all there is to it.”
I personally don’t put football, soccer, or any other extracurricular activities above homework and home responsibilities. I don’t believe parents should be going from soccer to karate to basketball with their kids while homework and school responsibilities are being neglected.
Use Rewards for Schoolwork, Not Bribes
Most kids get personal satisfaction out of getting good grades and completing their work, and that’s what we’re aiming for. Nevertheless, it’s important to reinforce positive behavior, and that may mean offering an incentive for getting good grades. For instance, my son knew that he would get a certain reward for his performance if he got all B’s or above. The reward was an incentive to do well.
One of the shortcuts we take as parents is to bribe our kids rather than rewarding them for performance. It can be a subtle difference. A reward is something that is given after an achievement. A bribe is something you give your child after negotiating with them over something that is already a responsibility.
If you bribe your child to do their homework or to do anything else that is an expected responsibility, then your child will come to expect something extra just for behaving appropriately. Bribes undermine your parental authority as kids learn that they can get things from you by threatening bad behavior. Bribes put your child in charge of you.
The appropriate parental response to not meeting a responsibility is a consequence, not a bribe. A bribe says, “If you do your homework, I will extend your curfew by an hour.” In contrast, a consequence says, “If you don’t do your homework, you’re grounded until it’s finished.” Never bribe your kids to do what they’re expected to do.
Use Effective Consequences
When giving consequences, be sure they’re effective consequences. What makes an effective consequence? An effective consequence motivates your child to good behavior. They put you back in control and teach your child how to problem-solve, giving your child the skills needed to be successful.
An effective consequence looks like this:
“If you fall below a B average, then you can no longer study in your room and must study at the kitchen table until you get your average back to a B.”
For the child who prefers to study in their room, this is an effective consequence.
Another effective consequence would be the following:
“If you choose not to study during the scheduled time, you will lose your electronics for the night. Tomorrow, you’ll get another chance to use them.”
And the next day, your child gets to try again to earn the privilege of electronics. Short-term consequences like this are very effective. Just don’t take away this privilege for more than a day as your child will have no incentive to do better the next time.
For more on consequences, read the article on how to give effective consequences to your child .
Be Prepared to Let Your Child Fail
Failure should be an option, and sometimes you just have to let your child fail . Parents often do their kids a disservice when they shield them from the consequences of their actions. If your child chooses not to study enough and they get a failing grade, that’s the natural consequence for their behavior. And they should experience the discomfort that results from their behavior.
Let me be clear. If you interfere and try to get your child’s teacher to change their grade, your child will learn the wrong lesson. Your child will learn that if they screw up enough, Mom and Dad will take care of them. And they don’t learn their math or science or whatever it is they failed.
To be sure, failing is a hard lesson, but it’s the right lesson when your child fails. And it’s not the end of the world. In fact, for many kids, it’s what turns them around.
Don’t Fight with Your Child Over Homework
Don’t get sucked into arguments with your child about homework. Make it very clear that if they don’t do their homework, then the next part of their night does not begin. Keep discussions simple. Say to your child:
“Right now is homework time. The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can have free time.”
Say this in a supportive way with a smile on your face. Again, it’s important not to get sucked into fights with your child. Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to. If your child refuses to do his or her work, then calmly give the consequence that you established for not doing homework.
Also, trying to convince your child that grades are important is a losing battle. You can’t make your child take school as seriously as you do. The truth is, they don’t typically think that way. To get your child to do homework, focus on their behavior, not their motivation. Rather than giving a lecture, just maintain the system that enables them to get their work done. Often, the motivation comes after the child has had a taste of success, and this system sets them up for that success.
Stay Calm When Helping Your Child With Their Homework
It’s important to be calm when helping your child with their homework. Don’t argue about the right answer for the math problem or the right way to do the geography quiz. If you get frustrated and start yelling and screaming at your child, this sets a negative tone and won’t help them get the work done. It’s better to walk away than it is to engage in an argument, even when you’re just trying to be helpful.
For couples, it may be that one of you is more patient and acceptable to your child. Let that person take on the homework monitoring responsibilities. And don’t take it personally if it isn’t you.
Remember, if you can’t stay calm when helping your child, or if you find that your help is making the situation worse, then it’s better not to help at all. Find someone else or talk to the teacher about how your child can get the help they need. And try not to blame your child for the frustration that you feel.
It’s Your Child’s Homework, Not Yours
Remember that your child is doing the homework as a school assignment. The teacher will ultimately be the judge of how good or bad, correct or incorrect the work is. You’re not responsible for the work itself; your job is to guide your child. You can always make suggestions, but ultimately it’s your child’s job to do their assignments. And it’s the teacher’s job to grade them.
Know the Teachers and the Assignments
Build good relationships with your child’s teachers. Meet with the teachers at the beginning of the school year and stay in touch as the year progresses. Your relationships with your child’s teachers will pay off if your child begins to have problems.
And if your child does have problems, then communicate with their teachers weekly. If they’re not handing in their work on time, ask the teachers to send you any assignments that they didn’t get done each week. Many schools have assignments available online, which is a big help for parents. Just don’t rely on your child to give you accurate information. Find out for yourself.
The bottom line is that you want to hold your child accountable for doing their work, and you can only do that if you know what the work is. If you keep yourself informed, then you won’t be surprised when report cards come out.
Work with your child on a system to keep track of assignments. I recommend an old-fashioned paper calendar simply because we already have too many distracting electronics in our lives—experiment and use what works best for your child.
Finally, try to see your child’s teachers as your allies. In my experience, most teachers are dedicated and caring, but I realize that this isn’t always the case. So, for your child’s sake, do your best to find a way to work with their teachers.
If You Think Your Child Might Have a Learning Disability
Kids are expected to do some difficult work, and your child may struggle. If your child is having an especially hard time, talk with their teacher. Ask if it’s typical for your child to be struggling in this area.
In some cases, the teacher may recommend testing to see if your child has a learning disability. While this can be hard to hear as a parent, it’s important to find out so that you can make the necessary adjustments.
If it turns out that your child does have a learning disability, then you want to get an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) set up with the school.
Most kids don’t enjoy homework, and for some, it will always be a struggle. Our children all have different strengths and abilities, and while some may never be excellent students, they might be great workers, talented artists, or thoughtful builders.
I have to admit that dealing with my son’s homework was one of my least favorite experiences as a parent. It was overwhelming at times. Often, I just wasn’t equipped to offer the help he needed.
Our son struggled with a learning disability, which made the work feel unending at times. My husband James was much better at helping him, so he took on this responsibility. But even with this division of labor, we had to make adjustments to our schedules, our lives, and our expectations to make sure our son did his homework as expected.
Life would be easier if all children were self-motivated students who came home, sat down, and dug into their homework without being asked. This is hardly the case, though. Therefore, you need to set up a system that is right for your child, and it’s going to be easier for some kids than for others.
We’re trying to raise our kids to be responsible and accountable for their homework. And we’re trying to avoid fighting with them over it every night. When I had parents in my office, I would take these concepts and show them how they could make it work for their families in their own homes. The families I worked with were able to turn the nightly homework struggle around successfully time and time again.
Related content: The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework
Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google
About Janet Lehman, MSW
Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program , The Complete Guide To Consequences™ , Getting Through To Your Child™ , and Two Parents One Plan™ .
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Hello, my grandson recently moved with me from another state. He is currently in 8th grade (but should be in 9th). He basically failed the last 2 years and was promoted. I would say he is at a 6th grade level. It's a daily fight with him to do his homework. He won't even try. I know a lot of this is because no one has ever made him do his homework before. I thought he would just have to get in a routine of doing it. He's been in school for a month now and its a fight every single day after school. I have lost all the patience I had. I am tired of being a broken record and being the "bad guy". I don't want to give up on him and send him back to his mom, where I know he will never graduate. I have made so many sacrifices to get him here, but I am literally at my wits end with this. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I didn't think it was going to be this hard.
My rule is homework after school. If he comes home and does his homework after school, it was easier for him to complete. That lasted a week and a half. Now, he just sits there and does nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions? I couldn't live with myself if I sent him back and he became nothing but a drop out. I know I am not one to have patience, and I am trying but at the same time, I am almost over it. I don't like going to bed crying and knowing that he is crying too. I am open to all suggestions. Please and thank you.
I'm so sorry you are facing these struggles with your grandson. We here from many caregivers in similar situations, so you're not alone in your frustration. We have several articles that offer helpful tips for managing these homework struggles, which can be found here: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/child-behavior-problems/school-homework/
We appreciate you reaching out and wish you all the best moving forward. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
Jessicar Thank you for this article and strategies. I echo many of the frustrations expressed by other parents here, including my opinion (as an educator) that homework should not exist. I agree that teachers and parents are in a struggle about which adult is responsible for supporting the child in getting More homework done. The best thing for my son was a free "homework club" in fourth and fifth grade where a teacher monitored completion of homework. He has nothing like this in middle school so far. Where I really disagree with the article is about extracurricular activities. Kids need physical activity through sports! They need enrichment beyond academics through the arts, theater, music. Many families send their children to religious, language, and/or cultural programs after school. If I sat in school all day, I'd want to move my body and interact with others too. The solution is not removing extracurricular activities that are healthy or motivating or valued. The solution is for schools to limit homework. Given that there is still homework as a reality--I'd like advice on when to have child do homework AFTER sports or extracurricular activity. When is the best time for homework if the goal is to go to bed on time (in my house in bed around 9 pm)? Between extracurricular and dinner--when the kid is tired? After dinner? My child is in 7th grade and I still can't figure it out. What do others do/think?
I found school to be extremely boring, as a teen. Looking back I realize that I hadn't found the work challenging enough. Personally, I struggled with this all through high school. I was completely disinterested in school, as a result.
I noticed that there wasn't a section addressing situations where children, who are motivated by challenges, do poorly as a result of boredom.
I enjoy reading many of the articles; even those which don't necessarily apply to my current situations with my child. One never knows what obstacles or challenges one may come across. Thank you
Here's what I know. Correcting our children when their behavior is displeasing is what most parents focus on. Without a lot of explanation I'm going to try to get you to change your focus. All children have 4 emotional needs:
1. A sense of belonging
2. A sense of personal power
3. To be heard and understood
4. Limits and boundaries
Rather than focus on your child's behavior, focus on meeting these needs. Meet the needs, change the behavior. There a 25 ways to meet these needs. One of the most effective is to spend regular one-on-one time with your child doing what your child wants to do. How do you spell love? T-I-M-E. It seems counter-intuitive, but just try it for a week. Do this for 1/2 hour every day for a week. See what happens.
Frustrated Confused Parent, I went through similar challenges with my son when he was in high school. As a grade school student his grades were always B and higher. The changes began when his mother and I separated; my son was 12yo. Prior to our separation I was the one who maintained, and enforced the habit of completing his assignments before extracurricular activities could be enjoyed. His mother never felt she had the patience or intelligence to assist him with his homework assignments and upon our separation she completely ignored his school work. Although he continued to follow the structure I had established through grade school, he soon began to realize that no one was showing interest any longer and, thus, began shirking school related responsibilities. My son and I were, and still are, close. I am certain that the separation likely had some affect on him, but it was more than that. He was reaching his teens and becoming more self-aware. Friends began to play a more integral and influential part in his life. Unfortunately my son's grades began slipping as he reached his early teens. For me, this was extremely frustrating since I was aware of how intelligent he was and of what he was capable. After many aggravating, lengthy, heated, and unyielding conversations with his mother about maintaining the structure established through grade school, it became clear she was incapable or simply unwilling. Essentially, he was on his own. Of course I would do whatever I could to help. For starters, I facilitated a transfer to a Charter School, realizing that he needed more individualized attention than that which a public school could provide. It seemed as though he was getting 'lost in the shuffle'.
Unfortunately the damage had already been done. After two years under his mother's lack of tutelage my son had developed some poor habits.
He struggled with maintaining good grades throughout his high school career. By 'maintaining good grades' I mean that he would take a grading of 45 in math and bring it to a 70 within three weeks of the end of a marking period. He ALWAYS passed, though. He would somehow get his grades to or even above passing by the end of the period. As I began to see this, I began to have more faith knowing that when the going got tough he would step up and take charge. It also indicated that he did well with what might perceive as an impossible goal. So, I started to have faith that he'd find his way.
He has since graduated, he has a good-paying job, and he is beginning school to become an electrician within the next month or so. In two weeks he moves into his own apartment, also. He's never done drugs, never drank alcohol, and never started smoking cigarettes. All of which I have done as a teen and well into my adult years. I am in recovery. My son is aware of my own struggles. Most importantly, I believe, is that he has a complete understanding that we all struggle in our own ways. Working through the difficulties, challenges, and obstacles are what makes us stronger and it's our compassion for others, and ourselves, which help us grow into decent adults.
I came to realize that the 'grades' he received in school had nothing to do with the amazing adult he's become; it was literally everything else.
NanaRound2 My 6 year old grandson has just taken 2 hours to write a list and write 3 sentences. He thinks if the words were shorter it wouldn't take so long. Already went through this with his dad. I celebrated more than he did when he graduated. Can't drag More another kid through school. Losing my mind and like the previous comment have tried EVERYTHING.
Yeah -been there, done that. Doesn't work. At least not for my child. I've read every *actual* parenting book out there ( You know, the books publishes by Harvard & Stanford professors who've been studying parenting and child psychology for the past 30 years?) ... and you're all missing something - because I've tried it all.
My kid DGAF. This was almost painful to read. "oh, yup - tried that one. That one too. Oh, hey - I've tried that as well."
This is so frustrating; tell me something I haven't already tried 50 times.
Psych Fan I'm with you my sophomore son DGAF . I tried so much stuff even set time stuff and he just doesn't go get his work out. He's 5'9 so I am 5'1 and I can't move him to do stuff . All he does is debate with me that More Grades really don't matter that he's like I'm just going to get D's because I'm not going to care to do better because I do not like school. He doesn't understand why I don't approve of D grades because I know he has better potential but he's like D grades I will pass and get my diploma .
The first thing on the list is to try and stay calm. While doing homework with my children I'm usually very calm. When I do get frustrated I'll leave the room for a moment, wash my face, and take a few deep breaths until I calm down. Or I'll make hot chocolate to help calm my nerves. It's not a perfect system, but what is?
Number two is to set clear expectations around homework time and responsibilities. We have a standard homework time at our house, with a timer and everything. If our kids meet the homework time goal they'll be rewarded later in the evening with family time. Each of our kids know their roles and responsibilities in the house whether the work gets done before dinner or not.
Number three is a relationship with the teachers, each of whom e-mail us, some two or three times a day. Contact with them has never been better. They're teachers are all pretty awesome too.
Number Four, play the parental role most useful to your child...I have three kids. One needs no help at all, one needs minor help and advisement, while the third requires constant supervision or their e-mail might 'accidentally' open up. This we've provided through double teaming. One parent works with them until the other gets home, then they switch while the other goes to make dinner.
Five, keep activities similar with all your kids. We all live on the same schedule, if one of them finishes homework early they get the reward of extra quiet reading time-my kids are ALL book worms.
Six, Set up a structured time and place for homework. Done. Homework table with a supplies basket right in the middle of the room. Big enough for all of them to work at and then some, it's an octagonal table which my husband built. I also always have their 'homework snacks' waiting for them when they get home, and I usually try to make it healthy-even if they don't realize it.
Seven, start early. My kids have been doing 'homework' with me since they were babies, and (as I pointed out to them yesterday) they loved it. We'd learn about cooking, dinosaurs, amphibians, insects, math, English, chemistry, even the periodic table came up. We'd do work pages every day and they'd love it.
Eight, hurdle help, works in area's like math, but not so much with history or English when the problems aren't as straight forward. But we do use this method where it applies.
Nine, choose the best person for the job. I'm best at English and my husband at math. When I get stuck on math I know who to go to, and I'll even study in my spare time to get better at it so I can be more useful in case he has to work late. That being said, we both devote a lot of our time to helping our kids with their homework.
Ten, show empathy and support. Done, not only can I relate to my kids, but I've pointed out that not getting their work done will make them feel bad bad enough, and that that's why we should work on getting it done together, so they have something to be proud of.
Use positive reinforcement and incentives. :) There was this one time I sat my son down at a table with a work book about 400 pages long. He was young, not even in school yet. Next to the book I placed a giant bag of M&Ms. I told him for every page he got done, he could have one m&m. About ten minutes later he finished the workbook and grinned up at me. When I found out he'd finished the book, I quickly checked it to see if it was done well, and then pushed the bag of M&M's towards him and told him he could just have it...Now they get rewarded in video games and computer time...
It seems that according to this article I'm doing everything right...So why is my child still struggling with homework/classwork? They've literally just refused to do it. Have seriously just sat in their chair without saying a word and stared at the table, or desk, or screen- as the majority of work is now done on computers...I'll sit with them, ask them if they need help, try to help them with problems. They will tell me the right answer to the questions being asked and then refuse to write it down. I feel like I've done everything I can as a parent to help them, but despite all my efforts, it isn't working. So...when all of these things fail, when a parent has done everything right, and there is nothing more they can do short of taking the pen or pencil into their own hands and doing it themselves, (but that would be cheating their child out of an education) what then should the parents do?
When our kids don't get their homework done before dinner, they're sent down the hall where it's quiet so they can finish it at the desk there, while the other kids have family time. They are told to come and get us if they really need help after that. But at this point it's like ostracizing our child for not doing homework.
I agree with most of what's on this page, and our family lifestyle reflects that, but I will disagree with one thing it said. It is our job to help our kids and be supportive of them yes, to nurture them and help them get the skills they need to take care of themselves and their home when they're older...but it is not our job to do the teachers work for them, they get paid for that. Some days it seems like that's what's expected of parents. Some even send home classwork if the kids don't finish it in class. Which means the child now has even more work to do on top of their homework. Though I understand that the teachers want the child to finish the lesson, and were the homework not a factor I probably wouldn't mind it as much. I don't even mind them sending home study guides to help kids before tests (Which is what homework was originally) but to send home overwhelming piles of work each night for parents to help kids with, (Each child with different homework so that parents need to bounce from history, to math to English) it's unreasonable. When teachers send home homework, they're dictating what the parents can do with the little time they have with their child. Which is wrong. We once had to cancel a trip to a science museum because our child had too much homework to finish and there was no way to make it in time and get their homework done. They could have had an amazing educational experience which would overall help them get excited about learning with new and fun tactile experiences, but their schedule (and therefore our schedule) was being dictated by the teacher while they weren't even in class. Of course I try not to talk bad about homework in front of my children, because that would make it even more difficult to get them to do it. But children NEED family time, they NEED to be kids. To be allowed to get away from their work and be themselves, to go outside and play with their friends, or even go out to dinner once in a while with their parents. Homework has made it difficult to grow a relationship with our children beyond the confines of what the teachers are dictating. It's violating in some ways and frustrating in others. It's grown into this monstrous thing which it was never meant to become, and the funny part about it is that most studies done on it show that schools who don't have homework have higher test scores and graduation rates. Not to mention better mental health rates. Studies also show, that after a child is taught something, they'll only really learn it after a good nights sleep, and that no amount of homework will change that. Sleep is what our bodies need to absorb important information we learn throughout the day, so staying up late with homework might even be harmful to a child's education...
Sorry I guess that turned into a bit of a rant...In the end I was hoping to find something useful in this article, something I hadn't tried that might work, but I've done it all, and will probably continue to do all of it in hopes that consistency might be the key...It's just that even after years of already doing All of this consistently, it's still not working. It's as if my child has made a conscious decision Not to work. He's not unintelligent, he understands it, he's even been tested and found to have an above average ability to learn. He just not doing it..So what now? What more can I do to actually inspire him to do the work?
AshumSmashum Out of all of this, most of which I've read and tried a billion times, your comment hit deeper. My son scores in the 99% on tests but cannot sit down and do the simplest homework. He does have autism and adhd so when he freezes up on homework, despite More knowing it, I'm lost at how to help him get it done. He knows the work so why does he need to show it with 20 math problems after school that take forever to complete one? (whatever honors algebra stuff he's in, I was lucky to learn division lol) He has a high IQ and excels in all subjects and yet is being tutored, so far, in English just to get the work done. I'm so done with the emotional toll it takes on me and him at home. Nobody wants to go to work for 8 hours and come home and do the same for another 5 so why do we think our kids want to come home and do more classwork? I'm so appreciative of your comment!
JC Hi Barb, thank you for bringing this up! My son sounds a lot like you...and he really wants to get good grades and go to an Ivy League school. What could someone do to help an 8th grader in the moment of struggle, while making sure they don't get more More anxious from falling behind for the rest of the year?
Tb Hi Barb, I'm the parent of an 8th grader and I want to thank you for the comment you left here. You helped me look at the deeper issues and I really appreciate that. I'm going to approach the conversation with my son differently, thanks to you. Thank More you!
My 11 year old daughter, Alice, has always helped her 7 year old sister, Chole, with homework. But just recently Alice has been giving Chole the wrong answers. We have been trying to get her to give Chole the correct answers
but she always yells at us. She has a baby sister 2 months named Ray and ever since Ray was born she has been giving Chole wrong answers. I once overheard her and Kevin, my husband, talking about how she felt left out. She came and talked to me and said exactly what she had told Kevin. She also told me she has been getting bad grades and doesn't get her homework. Me and Alice talked and she said "All the cool New York girls get straight A's and ever since I started getting D's and F's they said I wasn't cool anymore." We started having her grandparents come over and she would yell, hit, scream, and talk back to them. She is a great student but she spends all of her time on her phone. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even at school she is on her phone. All I'm asking is that 1. How do I make her stop screaming, yelling, hitting, and back talking? 2. How do I make her feel cool and get A's again?and 3. How do I get her off her phone?
sounds like you have a number of concerns around your daughter’s behavior, and
it certainly can feel overwhelming. We would suggest https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/its-never-too-late-7-ways-to-start-parenting-more-effectively/ and focusing on just one or two of the most serious, to get
started. Behaviors like verbal or physical abuse would be of top priority,
while behaviors like https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-walk-away-from-a-fight-with-your-child-why-its-harder-than-you-think/ we would recommend ignoring, and not giving it any power or control.
Empowering Parents author Sara Bean offers some great insight into the reason
for poor child behavior in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.It sounds like your daughter is struggling to
find more effective ways to solve the problems she is facing, and the result is
the acting out behavior. Keep in mind, you can’t make your daughter do anything, but what you can do is help her to
learn better tools to solve whatever problems may come her way. Best of luck to
you and your family as you continue to work on this.
Emma Reed Alice also swears at school and she swears to teachers. Please we have tried everything, even her sister at age 18. What have we done wrong?
Being away from loved ones when they are struggling can be
distressing. It may help to know that it’s not unusual to see changes in
behavior as kids move from the tweens into adolescence, as Janet Lehman
explains in the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/adolescent-behavior-changes-is-your-child-embarrassed-by-you/. Normally responsible
kids can start to push back against meeting expectations and disrespect towards
parents and other authority figures can become quite common. The behavior you
describe isn’t OK; it is normal though. I can hear how much you want to help
your daughter and granddaughter
work through these challenges. If your daughter is open to it, you could share
some Empowering Parents articles with her, such as the one above and this one, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.
We appreciate you writing in. Best of luck to you and your family moving
forward. Take care.
mphyvr Thanks for all these "strategies", they might work for some parents, but quite simplistic and just plain old common sense for more defiant kids... Thanks anyways and hope this article helps many.
Psych Fan I'm a mom of a sophomore he's also a swearing boy and will have quite a tantrum even with consequences of take away all he does is sleep. He doesn't like school says school is a waste of time and that grades won't matter in his adulthood . He says More it over n over about how schooling won't help him in the future as I go it will help you do good on a ACT and SAT he is like getting good scores on those are only good if your going to college. He also is like jobs won't look at my grades . I tell him homework teaches him responsibility once a job sees your amount of effort in school your going to have a heck of time getting hired. I even ask him how is he going to succeed to work real well at a job when he doesn't work hard at school he goes I don't need to work hard at school but I will need to work hard at a job.
dcastillo68 If it was only this simple, but, in reality it is not. Middle school syndrome is the worst. Kids don't want to be labeled as nerds so they do everything to try to fail. I went through that with my first born, and now again with my youngest. It is More very frustrating when I was the total opposite when I was growing up. I cared about my grades an I took it for granted thinking they will feel the same way. Now seeing how they are happy with just getting by is really frustrating to me because I am such an over achiever. They didn't even get an ounce of this. Very very frustrating. And I wish I have never invited video games to this household. That is all they want to do. I keep using this an incentive to bring them back on track, but as soon as I give them their games back, they are back to their old habits. Sorry, but I can't wait until they are finished with school and hopefully moving out of state to hopefully a college career. I may change my mind later, but at the moment, this is just how I feel. It is very hard too when you don't get any help. I find today's teacher to be lazy and pushing on more responsibility to the parents. Who has time to do a full day's of work, only to do additional work at home? okay, enough venting.
@frustrated single dad Diane Lewis Hi there - I have a son adopted out of foster care. He is 6 1/2 and has been in 5 homes. He is totally the same! They learn this behavior and are incredibly manipulative. They are so insanely smart. I worry about exactly the same thing. They turn on and off the behavior depending on who they are with and what they want.
We did Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) at the Mailman Center (Jackson Hospital Miami). It made a huge difference in the short-term. They basically taught us to be full-time behavioral therapists with my son. The effects wore off after a few months as my son adapted and found ways to circumvent the consequences techniques taught to us. He is like the Borg! I am going back to get more ideas on how to adapt and change and stay one step ahead of my son. The gals there are really smart!
So, that being said - we have to be Jean Luc Picard and constantly change and adapt and outsmart them - just like changing the phasers on a laser gun! It is bloody hard work. And, harder the older they get -
eg. He drops like a dead weight - throws his book bag and will not get in the car to go to school - response - next morning I headed it off by calling out to the kids "LAST ONE IN THE CAR IS A ROTTEN EGG!" This has worked for 2 days now.
Wont do homework 2 nights ago - response - "ooh I like doing word puzzles - Im going to do them and win" - this worked one night but not the next - he just then just left me to do his work - so I have told his teacher that there will be no school party for Alex next week unless he gets his homework finished - we will see if this works.....
It is totally exhausting and you have to be on your A game all the time. Im telling you this but - I have to tell myself this too. We have to stay really fit (like cross fit) and work out like a marine. We have to be very disciplined with ourselves - a healthy body is a healthy mind - we cannot let up at all. We have to stay calm at all times (again self discipline).
Im always looking for concrete reactions to situations with my son. Like I said - the entire day goes on like this with everything except what he wants to do. Wont get dressed in the morning - put out his clothes in dining room where there are no distractions or toys - tell him that if he gets dressed and ready for school quickly - he can spend the left over time on the trampoline. That worked this morning.
STAY STRONG MY BROTHER IN ARMS!!! If you can get into a PCIT program - do it.
Love to you - R
My child comes home and says he doesn't have homework, does something easy to make it look like he's doing his homework, or says he did it during free time in class. How do you combat this without going to the school everyday? Neither my husband nor I can do More this because of work, and the we asked the teacher's if it was possible to send us the assignments via email or let us come pick them up once a week with no cooperation. He is a very smart kid and gets "A's' on the work he does, but he is failing all of his core classes because he won't do homework.
@atmywitsend , my child is the same way. I'm at my wits end. I feel like I'm a failure as a parent because I thought I taught my smart kid to succeed - and instead she's lying to me.
Psych Fan NinaMays I'm with the same feelings as my son can be above a C student but he choose to go oh I rather just get F's on this work than to actually get at least a B or A on these many assignments.. I ask him why he chooses F's More in many assignments when he could get a grade to bring his grades up and me telling me he's not being his full potential as by making him not do his work how can I truly believe he's going to be successful and he's like I have big brains . Then I'm like why not show me by doing your school work he goes I don't need do that and I show you of my big brains by telling you school isn't important. Telling me I am brainwashed. He is a sophomore in high school.
FRUSTRATED PARENT NinaMays This is my reality too - "relationship" with teachers is difficult when they won't co-operate with homework expectations, or follow up email - the schools complain that kids are on the internet - yet its them providing wifi passwords - so kids are playing in class - lying about More homework - and since I'm not in the class, I have no idea until report cards surface.
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- 1. The Homework Battle: How to Get Children to Do Homework
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- 5. When Your Child Has Problems at School: 6 Tips for Parents
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Ask The Expert: Why Won’t My Son Turn In Homework?
Dear Your Teen:
My 7 th grader frequently does not turn in homework, even though it’s completed. His grades are suffering. We’re all frustrated. Why is he not turning in homework ? And what can I do?
EXPERT | Isaiah Pickens, Ph.D.
Ever forget an appointment and think, “Why didn’t I put it in my calendar?” Now imagine you forgot the appointment and forgot that a calendar exists. While that’s a little far fetched, it may capture how kids who have trouble staying organized feel.
There’s a Mess in Their Heads
Messy desks, misplaced clothes, and not turning in homework are just a few symptoms of the disorganized teenager who may lack any strategies to stay organized.
Yet parents see that their teens have the ability to complete tasks when someone is hovering. What befuddles parents is the difficulty doing the same when no one is present.
A frustrated parent may wonder, “What’s happening in his head?” Often, his head is where the difficulties originate.
Executive functioning is the neurological process that allows us to organize and plan. For many disorganized teenagers , a deficiency in executive functioning leads to disorganization. Fortunately, parents can help strengthen these skills. Here’s advice about teaching organization skills.
4 Tips to Help Your Teen Develop Executive Functioning Skills and Hand in Homework:
1. make a visual system..
[adrotate banner=”98″]Visual cues that are linked to a routine can ease children into a pattern of organized behavior. For example, use a color-coded filing system that designates a folder for each school subject and one for completed work. Write down each step necessary to successfully complete the task, including the step involving turning in homework . Post these instructions in places your teenager will frequently look, such as the bedroom mirror, the refrigerator and the cover of her class binder. Let your teenager help design the instructions to make the sheet creative and fun. Use a similar process for other areas your child needs to organize such as putting away clothes. Making sure there is a consistent place to store or file goes a long way in helping children develop an organized routine.
2. Develop routines and schedules.
Teenagers sometimes have difficulty gauging how long it will take to complete a task or the best sequence for completing it. Helping your teen develop schedules, use calendars, and create reminders for completing tasks will provide additional tools for developing an organized routine. Work together to figure out simple strategies for using schedules, calendars, and reminders. Some strategies include setting a phone reminder or pulling out the “completed work” folder at the beginning of each class.
3. Review and adjust strategies.
A daily review of the new routine will provide opportunities to empower your teenager and emphasize areas that are improving. Use this time to allow your child to adjust strategies for staying organized. And highlight the importance of checking to make sure you’ve completed tasks correctly and in their entirety.
4. Reward successes.
Make sure to tell you teenager, “Good job” at the end of the week. Few things motivate a child more than receiving praise from parents on a job well done.
Hopefully, these tips will help encourage your kid to hand in homework on time. Good luck!
Isaiah Pickens, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of iOpening Enterprises , a creative writing company that creates books, films, and life skills curricula for teens and young adults.
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Defiant children who refuse to do homework: 30 tips for parents.
- Your child doesn’t understand the work and needs some extra help. It’s possible that your youngster doesn’t want to do his homework because he really needs help. Also, it can be challenging for moms and dads to accept that their youngster might need help with homework, because there is often a stigma attached to kids who need tutoring.
- Your child is addicted to TV and video games. Moms and dads often find it very difficult to limit these activities. But, understand that playing video games and watching TV doesn’t relax a youngster’s brain. In fact, it actually over-stimulates the brain and makes it harder for him to learn and retain information. Too much of watching TV and playing video games contributes to your youngster struggling with school and homework in more ways than one.
- Your child is exhausted from a long day at school. In the last 10 to 20 years, the needs of kids have not changed, however the pace of life has. Most moms and dads are busy and have very little down time, which inevitably means that the youngster ends up with less down time too. He is going to be less likely to be motivated to work when there is chaos all around him.
- Your child is not sleeping enough. Sleep is one of the most under-appreciated needs in our society today. When a child doesn’t get enough sleep, it can cause him to be sick more often, lose focus, and have more emotional issues. Kids often need a great deal more sleep than they usually get.
- Your child is over-booked with other activities. Moms and dads want their youngster to develop skills other than academics. Because of this, they often sign-up their youngster for extracurricular activities (e.g., sports or arts).
- Your child is overwhelmed by your expectations. Moms and dads want their youngster to be well-rounded and to get ahead in life. Along with this comes getting good grades. All these expectations can put a lot of pressure on your youngster and may cause him to become burned-out and want to find an escape.
- instructions are unclear
- neither you nor your youngster can understand the purpose of assignments
- the assignments are often too hard or too easy
- the homework is assigned in uneven amounts
- you can't provide needed supplies or materials
- you can't seem to help your youngster get organized to finish the assignments
- your youngster has missed school and needs to make up assignments
- your youngster refuses to do her assignments, even though you've tried hard to get her to do them
- Do you understand what you're supposed to do?
- What do you need to do to finish the assignment?
- Do you need help in understanding how to do your work?
- Have you ever done any problems like the ones you're supposed to do right now?
- Do you have everything you need to do the assignment?
- Does your answer make sense to you?
- Are you still having problems? Maybe it would help to take a break or have a snack.
- Do you need to review your notes (or reread a chapter in your textbook) before you do the assignment?
- How far have you gotten on the assignment? Let's try to figure out where you're having a problem.
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clock This article was published more than 7 years ago
Parents of struggling middle-schooler: ‘Should we let her fail?’
Q. How can I help my seventh-grader be more responsible about her schoolwork? She is struggling in school but doesn’t help herself by seeking out what she needs to know, and low grades don’t seem to bother her. I’m getting a vibe from teachers that middle school is all about parents backing off and students taking the lead. But on her own, our daughter is disorganized, unfocused and ambivalent about the results of this behavior. Should we let her fail? (And by fail, I don’t mean an assignment . . . I mean FAIL fail, because that is a very real possibility at this point.)
A. There are a couple of key facts I am missing here. No. 1, I don’t know if this is a new phenomenon or if this has been going on a number of years. Second, I am guessing, since you don’t mention it, that she doesn’t have any known disabilities or diagnoses. Suffice it to say, before you do anything, make sure she has a thorough checkup. Are her eyes and ears okay? Is she physically ship-shape? Next, be sure she is doesn’t have any undiagnosed learning disabilities. So many “failing” children are seen as disorganized and unfocused, when really they are truly doing their absolute best to stay afloat.
And even if this is a new problem, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a disability or attention disorder underfoot. Some children scrape and fight through for quite a long while, creating elaborate coping strategies. And then they hit a wall.
Mom is afraid to give up friends whose daughters are mean
Seventh grade is also the year that many young women get their periods, wreaking hormonal and emotional havoc. I am wondering whether she is experiencing some physical and emotional changes that are feeling scary and big to her.
I also don’t know what “struggling in school” means. It is pretty well known that American children are dealing with unneeded homework stress, and the country and educational system don’t really understand what homework does or doesn’t do (and we stick with what we know, effective or not). So, as we shuffle along, our children are developing some serious anxiety and depression problems.
On to your biggest parenting question: “Should we let her fail?” I have been writing long enough now to know that this is going to make people angry, but here goes: It depends.
You can find studies to support the importance of failure. (I have given a couple of talks on it myself.) You can find others about the damage that failure can inflict on children. I suggest skipping these articles and figuring out your own daughter.
If we remove the reductionist nature of grades and schoolwork, what is the real problem here? Why doesn’t your daughter care about her schoolwork? There is nothing you can do until you answer this question. And I get it. That is completely maddening. Nothing would make me happier than giving you some pat, easy 1-2-3 answer.
In lieu of that, here are some questions that I always wonder when a child appears to not care about her work:
A tween impervious to the stink-eye
•Have you hassled, nagged, helicoptered, bothered, sat directly next to her, forced, bribed or punished her throughout her academic career? If the answer is a moderate to strong “yes,” you may have raised a child who is dependent on you to organize herself, complete her work, find her motivation. Essentially, the natural developmental drive to complete tasks has been stifled. You have a 5-year-old in a 12-year-old’s body. And if you read this and go into some kind of guilt trip or panic, let me assure you that you are not alone. Well-meaning teachers are expected to assign kindergarten students homework well before it is developmentally appropriate. This requires parents to sit next to their children and begin the cajoling and mentoring and, essentially, tutoring. One year turns to two turns to three, and poof! You’ve got a bad habit. Trust me, I have yet to meet a parent who wakes up and says, “How can I undermine my child’s learning today?” But parental over-involvement in homework handicaps children.
•You haven’t helicoptered (that’s a verb now, huh?) her work, but have you gone out of your way to prevent her from experiencing the consequences of her work (or lack thereof)? Have you run every forgotten assignment to her at school? Have you packed her backpack every morning? Have you written excuses to the teachers when they were not warranted? If so, you have not allowed your daughter to struggle, find a solution, give up, seek help at school or feel the sting of failure or the joy of success. If you leave her to her own devices now, she doesn’t have any devices. She doesn’t have any experience, self-esteem or resilience to rely upon when the going gets tough.
•How is failure viewed in your home? Have you let her know that you will support her, love her, accept her no matter what? Have you let her know that her homework is but one small aspect of her life? Is the message that failure is dire? (It is not). If failure is avoided and feared in a family, the children will either become perfectionists and anxious, or they will withdraw completely. Abdicate. Failure is so uncomfortable, it cannot be faced. What if the parents didn’t worry about failure? What if you said to her, “Hey, no matter what, I believe in you and I love you. If you fail, then we learn what needs to happen. We have your back. We are all in this together.” What if failure were welcomed?
•Is this child in danger? Depressed? Being bullied? Feeling unsafe at home or in school? So many of the behaviors of tweens and teens don’t clearly point to the actual problem. This necessitates that we become strong and compassionate listeners. We want to know about her interior world and how she is coping and maturing.
•Will this failure push her into a place of anger and deeper depression? Will she feel abandoned? Will this failure lead to a deep fracture in your relationship with her?
I hope that these questions lead you to a place of deeper understanding, whether that understanding is about yourself, your child or your entire family. I cannot answer your real question: “Should we let her fail?”
Try changing the question to “What is this scenario really about? How can I best understand, support and love my daughter in this scenario?”
Keep it simple, keep it kind and keep it easy (or as easy as you can).
More from On Parenting :
How to help middle schoolers living in a sometimes scary place
Preparing for haircuts when your child has special needs
The smart economics of Norway’s parental leave, and why the U.S. should consider it
Also at washingtonpost.com Read a transcript of a recent live Q&A with Leahy at washingtonpost.com/advice , where you can also find past columns. Her next chat is scheduled for Jan. 21.
A Fine Parent
A Life Skills Blog Exclusively For Parents
Child Not Doing Homework? Read This Before You Try Anything Else
by Tanith Carey . (This article is part of the Be Positive series. Get free article updates here .)
Instead, Lily had just scribbled all over her homework worksheet, thrown her pencil on the floor and was now yelling at the top of her voice: “ I hate Math! I suck at it!”
With my younger daughter to put to bed, Lily in a melt down and me exhausted after a day at work, the tension was rapidly rising.
But even if I could calm ourselves down , there was no end in sight. Even if I could persuade her to finish her math homework, Lily still had the whole book reading to do.
So I was facing two choices –
Should I stand over her and insist that not doing homework was NOT an option?
Or should I tell her to put the books away, write a note to her teacher and just let her unwind and play in the lead up to bedtime?
Have you been there? What choice would you make?
The choice I would make now is very different to what my choice would have been a few years back.
Back then, I’d try to push through with a mixture of cajoling and prompting and assurances that she did know how to do her Math really .
If that didn’t work then maybe in despair and frustration that she didn’t seem to want to try, I would have gotten angry and tried to explain how serious I was about this.
A Game of One-Upmanship
After all, what choice did I have? From the very early days in the private nursery she attended, I found myself surrounded by lots of other mothers locked into the same race to make their children the brightest and the best.
As Lily got older, I came to learn how insidiously contagious pushy parenting is.
If one of the mothers spotted another parent with a Kumon Math folder, we all rushed to sign up too – for fear our children would get left behind.
Neurosis underpinned every conversation at the school gates – particularly as all of us were aiming to get our children into a small handful of selective private schools in the area.
Bit by bit, the parenting journey which had started off being so exciting and rewarding, was turning into a stressful game of one-upmanship .
But children are not products to be developed and put on show to reflect well on us.
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Depending on what happens on the night, every child is conceived with a unique combination of genes which also maps out their strengths, weaknesses and personality traits before they are even born.
Lily may have been bred into a competitive hotbed. But as an innately modest and sensitive child, she decided she did not want to play.
The alarm bells started ringing in Grade Three when, after I personally made sure she turned in the best Space project, she won the prize. While I applauded uproariously from the sidelines, Lily, then seven, fled the room in tears and refused to accept the book token from the Head.
When she calmed down, she explained she hated us making a fuss. But what is just as likely is that she disliked the fact that her successes had become as much ours as hers. Even at that young age, no doubt she also realized that the more she succeeded, the more pressure she would be under to keep it up.
Over the next few years, the issues only deepened.
The Problem of Not Doing Homework
The increasing amounts of homework sent home by the school gradually turned our house into a war zone – with me as the drill sergeant.
Homework is one of the most common flash points between kids and parents – the crossroads at which academic endeavors meet parental expectations at close quarters – and behind closed doors.
Surveys have found that homework is the single biggest source of friction between children and parents. One survey found that forty percent of kids say they have cried during rows over it. Even that figure seems like a dramatic underestimate.
Yet more and more, it is recognized that homework undermines family time and eats into hours that should be spent on play or leisure.
A straightforward piece of work that would take a child twenty minutes at school can easily take four times as long at home with all the distractions and delaying tactics that go with it.
As a result, children get less sleep , go to bed later and feel more stressed .
Homework has even started to take over summer vacations.
Once, the long break was seen as a chance for children to have adventures, discover themselves and explore nature. Now the summer months are viewed as an extension of the academic year – a chance for kids to catch up or get ahead with workbooks and tutoring.
But ultimately homework abides by the law of diminishing returns.
Researchers at Duke University found that after a maximum of two hours of homework, any learning benefits rapidly start to drop off for high school students.
While some children will do everything to avoid doing it, at the extreme others will become perfectionists who have to be persuaded to go to bed. Some moms I spoke to had to bribe their children to do less!
Given the cloud of anxiety hovering over them, no wonder some of these children perceive education as stressful .
Pushed to the Brink
While all of us would say we love our children no matter what, unfortunately that’s not the message our kids hear. Instead, children become angry when they feel we are turning them into passive projects. Rather than feel like they are disappointing us, they disconnect. Early signs may be they become uncommunicative after school, stop looking parents in the eye, become secretive or avoidant.
But we need to remember that unhappy, stressed kids don’t learn.
Over the next few years, Lily’s insistence on not doing homework kept getting worse. To try and get to the bottom of it, my husband Anthony and I took her to see educational psychologist who found strong cognitive scores and no signs of learning difficulties.
But what the report did identify was how profoundly Lily’s self-worth had been affected . Even though I had never once told her she should be top of the class, she still felt she had to be good at everything. If she couldn’t be, she didn’t think there was any point trying at all.
It was clear despite our best efforts to support her, Lily constantly felt criticized . She was becoming defensive and resentful.
Most serious of all, by claiming she couldn’t do her homework – when she could – she was testing if my love for her was conditional on her success.
I had to face up to the painful truth that unless I took immediate action – and killed off my inner Tiger Mom – my child and I were growing apart.
So for the sake of my daughter, I realized I had to change direction and take my foot off the gas .
When her tutor rang to tell me Lily needed a break, I was delighted to agree. Since then, I have let her focus on the subjects that really matter to her – art and music – and have let her decide what direction to take them in.
I also made a deliberate effort to spend time with Lily – just the two of us – so we can simply “be” together. Now instead of trips to the museums and classical concerts, we go for walks in the park and hot chocolates.
The Difficult Journey Back
To help her recognize and dismiss the voice that was bringing her down, I took her to see a Neuro-Linguistic Programming coach who teaches children strategies to untangle the persistent negative thoughts that undermine their self-belief – and replace them with positive ones.
Before we began, Jenny explained that Lily’s issues are not uncommon. As a teacher with 30 years’ experience, Jenny believes the growing pressure on children to perform from an early age is contributing to a general rise in learning anxiety. The youngest child she has helped was six .
It’s children like Lily, who don’t relish a contest, who are among the biggest casualties.
At home, some have been made to feel they are not good enough by parents or are intimidated by more academic sisters and brothers. Some may develop an inferiority complex simply because they are born into high-achieving families.
Once established, failure can also become self-reinforcing. Even when they get good marks, children like Lily still dwell on the pupil who got the higher one to support their negative views of their abilities, making it a self-perpetuating downward spiral.
It’s when children start to see this self-criticism as fact that the negative self-talk can start.
As she sat on the sofa, Jenny asked Lily if she had ever heard a nagging voice in her head that put her down. Lily looked surprised but answered that yes, she had. Asked who it was, my daughter replied: “It’s me, but the mean me.”
Asked to draw this character, Lily depicted an angry, disapproving female figure with her hands on her hips, with a mouth spouting the words “blah, blah, blah.” When asked to name her, Lily thought for a moment before coming up with the name Miss Trunch-Lily, so-called because the figure is half herself – and half the hectoring teacher from Roald Dahl’s Matilda.
Now that Miss Trunch-Lily had been nailed, Jenny and Lily agreed an easy way to deal with her would be to talk back and tell her “Stop it, you meanie” one hundred times.
But that would take a long time, so Lily and Jenny came up with a quicker solution; imagining a canon which would instantly send a shower of 60 candies into her mouth so she couldn’t say another word.
Next time Lily heard her nagging voice, all she had to do was press an imaginary button and her nemesis would be silenced.
In the months that followed, Lily seemed to relax. Gradually the procrastination about homework started to vanish – and Lily was much more likely to open her books after school and quietly get on with her homework.
A Fresh New Start
Instead my husband, my daughters and I went on long walks with our dog. We examined different types of seaweed and examined crabs in rock pools.
Back in the cottage, we sat around and read books that interested us. I let the children play upstairs for hours, not on their phones, but in long elaborate role-plays, without feeling the need to interrupt once.
I would wager that Lily and Clio learnt more about themselves – and what they are capable of – in a single week than in a whole semester at their schools where they hardly get a moment to stop and think.
Of course, for the child born with a go-getting personality, teaming up with turbo-charged parents can be a winning combination – to start with at least.
But as adults, we have to start asking – how high we can raise the bar before it’s too high for our children to jump?
After all, a bigger picture is also emerging : a rise in anxiety disorders, depression and self-harm among children who have grown up with this continual pressure – and the emergence of a generation who believe they are losers if they fail, they’ve never done enough if they win.
Even among children who succeed in this environment, educationalists are finding pushy parenting creates a drive towards perfectionism which can turn into self-criticism when these young people can’t live up to such high standards.
I’m happy that in the midst of this arms race to push our kids more and more, there are changes afoot. Around the world, parents and educators are drawing up a blue-print for an alternative.
Whether it’s slow parenting , minimalist parenting , free-range parenting – or the more bluntly named Calm the F*** Down parenting , there is recognition that we need to resist the impulse to constantly push and micro-manage.
As a mother to Lily, as well as my younger daughter, Clio, I’ve decided I don’t want to be a part of all those crushing burdens of expectations. I want to provide a relief from it.
Apart from the fact it makes children happier, it’s also so much more fun.
Now I love the fact that when Lily messes around in the kitchen making cupcakes, I no longer have to fight the urge to tell her to hurry up – and badger her to finish her homework.
Of course, not doing homework is not an option – but these days in our house the aim is to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. If a concept is not understood, I don’t pull my hair out trying to be the teacher and trying to play ‘catch-up’. If Lily, now 12, genuinely does not understand it, I write a note to the member of the staff to explain that it may need further explanation. It’s a simple system and is working perfectly fine for us.
I like it that when she comes home from school, and I ask her, ‘How are you?’ I really mean it. It’s no longer code for: ‘What marks did you get today, darling?’ and I’m not thinking ‘Hurry up with your answer, so we can get on with your homework.’
Most of all I love the fact that I can finally appreciate Lily for the person she is now: a 12-year-old girl with an acerbic sense of humor who likes Snoopy, play-dates and kittens – and not for the person I once wanted her to be.
The 2-Minute Action Plan for Fine Parents
For our quick contemplation questions today –
- Imagine meeting your child in 20 years times. Ask them to describe their childhood. Do they describe it as magical? Or do they look back on it as a race from one after school activity and homework project to the next?
- Ask yourself what do you want for your children? When you say you want your children to be happy, what has that come to mean to you? If you really analyze it, has it drifted into being interpreted as professional success and financial acumen? Furthermore, have you come to judge success by a very narrow definition of traditional career achievement and earning power?
- Now check again. If you look around you, what do the happiest people you know have in common? Is it material goods, high-flying jobs and academic qualifications? Or is it emotional balance? If you approach the question another way, are the wealthiest people you know also the most satisfied with life?
The Ongoing Action Plan for Fine Parents
Spend some time sorting through any conflicts related to your kids not doing homework.
To start with, train your children in good habits and place time limits on how long homework should take from the start.
Ask the school how long a child should spend on each subject at night. Then you can help keep those limits in place by telling kids they can’t spend a minute more – or a minute less – than the allotted time.
Find the time of the day after school that works best for your child – either straight after arriving home or after a short break. Agree a start time every day so that the rule turns into a routine and there is less room for resistance and negotiation.
Don’t finish their homework for kids because you are desperate to get it off the evening’s to-do list. That will just mask the problem and get you dragged into a nightly conflict. Help them instead to take responsibility for their homework, while you provide guidance from the sidelines on an on-need basis.
About Tanith Carey
Award-winning parenting writer Tanith Carey is a mother-of-two who writes books which aim to address the most pressing issues for modern families – and how to build strong, resilient kids in today’s challenging world. Her latest book Taming the Tiger Parent: How to put your child's well-being first in a competitive world has been called a big picture book to ‘re-orientate our parenting’, ‘highly readable’ ‘well-researched’ and ‘ beautifully written’ by teachers, parents and professionals. The book has received global coverage from outlets ranging from the NBC Today Show to the New York Post to yahooparenting, the Guardian and dailymail.online. Her seventh book 'Girls Uninterrupted - A manual for raising courageous daughters' - will be published in February 2015.
December 22, 2014 at 9:14 am
This is interesting to me because it doesn’t match our experience at all. We are struggling with my daughter doing homework, but it’s more of an adolescent rebellion/lethargy thing.
My kids attend a Montessori school which generally does not assign homework. What homework they tend to get in the elementary levels is a packet of assorted reading and math that they have an entire week to do at whatever pace works for them. My son’s homework is optional and he always opts out. (He’s very busy at home drawing and playing piano and he’s already reading at a high school level in second grade, so we never worry about academics with him anyway.) But my oldest is in seventh grade and they are trying to transition the kids into what will happen in high school, and my daughter has balked at all the homework.
But we have never approached our kids’ homework as our responsibility. We are always available to help and answer questions, but I explain that I passed whatever grade they are in already, and this is their turn to learn and show what they know. It’s been much harder clamping down on my oldest and making sure she knows what the homework is and has it ready. I explained to her recently that I remember those rebellious feelings, but the only person she’s hurting is herself. She’s limiting her choices later by not doing homework. Her teachers care, but in the end it doesn’t impact them, either. It’s all on her. I also told her the worst case scenario is she ends up at the local high school by default instead of following her friends to better places, but that the local high school is good too, so it’s not the end of the world.
I actually worry when I read about other parents monitoring elements of their kids’ lives so much more closely than I do that I’m not doing enough, but my kids are smart and happy and kind and I think they will do fine in the world, so I suppose we will stick with what we are doing. Because all of us are getting some part of it wrong, regardless.
December 22, 2014 at 11:07 am
Thanks so much for sharing that perspective, Korinthia. I love your calm and collected approach to everything parenting, so I’m not entirely surprised with the way you approach home work 🙂 That said, in the circles I hang out, very few parents (if any) would be as calm about this as you are! I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that most of us are first generation immigrants and are quite fanatic about education…
Even among our friends, we are a bit of an extreme case. Our daughter goes to a private school. She’s had to do daily homework on weekdays (Mon – Thu) since Kinder. We did have some initial resistance, but it’s mostly a well-established habit now. When she comes home, we take a short break, and then she sits down for homework while I get dinner ready.
Most of the days, it happens without any issues. Some days, she tries to change the rules by wanting to play before homework. I understand her want to do that, but having come from a middle class family in a developing country, my perspective on this is very different. We are where we are, quite literally, due to the discipline we had in regards to education. That discipline is a very powerful thing and like many things the earlier you get it instilled the easier it is. I see it as my job to instill that discipline in my daughter. What she wants to do with it when she grows up is up to her. (In my own case, I’ve shelved a Ph.D to be a stay-at-home mom now and pursue what I really want to do. But that’s been possible only because my degree allowed me to get a high-paying job where I was able to save enough that I don’t have to worry about money for a few years. In those years, if I can find a way to earn a modest income from this site without selling my soul, great. If not, I’ll go back to my old job and repeat the cycle. It’s an amazing freedom to have!)
Anyway, so to me, it boils down to this: this is another case of the intricate balance we parents have to strike — we need to nudge our kids to reach their full potential, but without making it stressful and hopefully in a way that they actually enjoy the process. It’s not easy, and like you I wonder sometimes if I’m making the right choice. And here, I’ll defer to your wise words, because I can’t say it any better — my [daughter is] smart and happy and kind and I think will do fine in the world, so I suppose we will stick with what we are doing. Because all of us are getting some part of it wrong, regardless. 🙂
December 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm
I’m endlessly fascinated with how many ways there are to do things as a family. And it’s always interesting to know what others think of as normal.
I guess for us it comes down to the idea that learning is important, but grades are not. I had a horribly unfair incident in college concerning a grade, and I remember my grandmother smiling and saying, “No one ever asks me what my GPA was.” And it’s true. MIT was threatening to withhold my brother’s Master’s Degree over a deadline on a signature he had nothing to do with, and he just shrugged it off and said, “They can’t take back what I learned.” (They did finally give him his degree, but he really didn’t care.) Grades don’t really mean much. A “B” for one student may be a mark of a lot of effort, and evidence of slacking off for another. I’m more interested in what my kids actually know.
I think that’s why Montessori has been such a good fit for us. They teach to the individual, they don’t give letter grades, and there is no sense of competition, only striving to learn more about the world. We know by comparison to other schools around the city that ours is one of the highest performing, so we feel confident that they are getting a good education, but it’s their education, not mine.
Maybe because I grew up in a family of artists? We were always busy, always making things and learning something new. That’s what I want for my kids. I like that they are never bored, and that they LOVE school. They love it. They pretend not to be sick when they have a cold just so they can go. I guess in my mind that’s what school should be. Someplace to be excited about.
December 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm
It is fascinating, isn’t it? I think the way we grow up, and what we have experienced, colors the lens through which we see the world.
I agree with you that at the end of the day, learning, and the love of learning, are more important than everything else.
I think differently about grades though. Grades to me, are a reflection of how well you can apply that learning. Knowledge by itself isn’t enough. You need to be able to apply it in some way – either to earn a living, or help make the world a better place, or whatever. For kids, getting good grades are a way to practice applying/expressing their knowledge… it’s a very narrow and imperfect way to do it, but it’s what we have, nevertheless.
And, I look at absolute grades… not relative ones. In other words, I don’t care how many other kids did better or worse than her in any given test… I’m interested mainly in what she did or didn’t do well.
Just like us, she will sometimes be successful in applying that knowledge. Sometimes, not as much. The question then is, what can I do to help her better retain what she has learnt and apply it more effectively?
Now, if her grades aren’t good because of something outside her control, she is off the hook. If not, we hold her accountable, and work on it together to try and figure out what she can change/improve to do better next time.
So far, this seems to have worked and I haven’t beat the joy of learning out of her, yet 🙂 But, we’re still at the beginning of her learning journey… we’ll have to see what happens as we go along and things get more demanding and more complex…
PS: This is one of the more interesting discussions I’ve had on this blog in a while — Thank you! 🙂
December 23, 2014 at 4:10 am
Thanks for the very considered and calm discussion of this issue that is happening here. This piece is not about Lily so much as it is about how great it can be when we parents discard our baggage and come to our children afresh. My book Taming the Tiger Parent has been called ‘a book to re-orientate’ parenting – and really it is about one thing: Finding empathy and connection with our children without letting the world (which does not always want the best for our kids) to get in the way. Please share so that we get other parents have the confidence to do the same – and enjoy their parenting more..(and that’s just the adults!)
December 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm
Sumitha, I’m probably biased about grades because my own history with them has been so unrepresentative, and I think people place too much stock in them. In my kids’ school they work on preparing a portfolio of all kinds of work rather than relying on letter grades, and that works better for us. But as far as using grades simply as a barometer of whether a child is taking care of responsibilities that seems completely reasonable.
That’s one of the discussions I’m continually having with my daughter at the moment, that she needs to provide evidence for her teachers that she’s done the work. She feels the magic of a book, for instance, is marred by her picking it apart for an analysis. She’ll read the book, and she’s a good writer, but she resents the type of work assigned about it and sometimes won’t do it. (I used to do the same thing, so I get it.) I tell her she just has to pick her consequence. She can either suck it up and do the work, challenge the work by coming up with a different assignment that maybe meets the same criteria the teachers are interested in, or not do it. The first two improve her report card, and the third hurts it. The report card is a means to more choices about her future. (As her mom, I’m actually just happy she read and loved the book.)
In the end, I’m not worried. For her, bad grades at a good school are probably worth more than good grades at a bad school, and she will still have more choices than the average child. Wherever she ends up she will make it work, but that’s up to her.
I acknowledge we are in a privileged position, because she’s got enough talent and charm and resources and family that she will not starve, she will not be homeless, regardless of grades. I think the real key to success is figuring out your passion if you can, so you know what you’re working toward. As soon as she figures that out I’m convinced she has the skills and discipline to build a good life for herself. I did. (And my report cards would have given you a panic attack!)
December 23, 2014 at 9:24 pm
I have to agree with you and your daughter about the book reports — we did our first one a few weeks back, and it was decidedly much more unpleasant compared to just reading and enjoying the book!
Good luck convincing your daughter to pick one of the first two consequences. But it is clear that even if she picks the third you’ll take it in your stride — which is what I find so admirable about you 🙂
December 25, 2014 at 8:11 am
Such an interesting discussion, thank you!
One more piece to toss in there if you have time for it: http://www.thestrad.com/cpt-latests/bribery-used-motivation-practice/
I know it’s an article about practicing music, but it’s the same idea about grades as a reward, and how that backfires.
I think for me it’s not that grades are not important, it’s that they should reflect something real. If my kids are learning and working hard, the grades will follow. But their focus should always be on their education, not their grades.
December 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm
That is particularly true in music where racing from one music grade to the next, as kids do here, can destroy enjoyment of music for its own sake – and that is a very sad. It just becomes about teaching to the test. In my view children should have music as another language – and another outlet for emotion, not just as a way to build CVs
December 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm
Well said. Couldn’t agree more.
December 26, 2014 at 8:37 am
@Korinthia, sorry for the late reply — busy with the holidays.
Love that article you pointed to. Some time back, I came across several articles by Alfie Kohn and got very confused about this whole rewards thingie. At that point I was just starting to move away from threats, punishment and screaming, and thought I was doing good by using rewards and positive reinforcement instead, and Kohn’s articles turned that notion on it’s head.
Things eventually started to fall in place when I read the “Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg.
My very unsubstantiated, unproven, non-scientific conclusion (which I wrote about here ) is based on this observation mentioned in that article — Kohn and his colleagues would admit that rewards, bribes and praise do indeed work in the short term — and Chales Duhigg’s observations that once a habit is formed, you can remove the reward completely from the habit loop and the habit will continue.
So in my opinion, if you use rewards as a way to establish a habit and not as the end result, they still have a place.
In the case of grades for instance, grades are a way to get into a consistent study habit which is — pay attention in class, learn what the teacher is teaching, review at home if necessary, let’s talk about it as much as you want or you can look things up in books/Net, apply in a test. At 1st grade it’s very hard to make learning *all* subjects fun, but a habit like this will apply to all subjects universally. Grades are a great way to get that habit started initially — they are tangible and there is recognition. As we go on, we focus the message on the learning — for instance, like me, grammar was not my daughters favorite subject. By looking at the test results and saying “Hey, you did well in your grammar test. You’re learning a lot for a first grader! What is this you’ve done here? Diagramming? We never did that in India. Will you teach me how to diagram a sentence?” implicitly acknowledges the grade on that test, but the grade isn’t the focus. When she draws on her white board and teaches me how to diagram a sentence, there is pride and joy in her and now she is a lot more interested in grammar.
I am not a music person (I know, sorry :)) but I would think that using a reward to get a child to practice until the child’s first performance isn’t a bad idea. Once the child performs in front of an audience, and enjoys that sense of accomplishment, the practice habit will likely carry through, even if you remove whatever temporary reward you used. If the child has an inclination towards music, they will learn to enjoy the practicing part of it too as they go along — it’s just a matter of getting them to do it for long enough to recognize that.
December 26, 2014 at 8:54 am
@Korinthia, I’m still thinking about it 🙂
The latest discussion reminded me about the marble jar experiment you shared on your blog some time back ( here ). At first your kids may have done the chores to earn those marbles to get the screen time or other things (rewards). But once the system (habit) was established, the marbles (or the things they could buy) is not necessarily a motivator to do the chores… it is “just how things are done” — a simple habit/system that removes the need for verbal negotiation, arguing, reminders, cajoling, power struggles etc from the picture and hence makes what needs to be done tolerable/fun for everyone involved.
December 27, 2014 at 3:48 am
To be honest on music, I think you also know your child is playing the right instrument when they do want to practice. I know that sounds idealistic but they will be much drawn towards that instrument if it’s the one that lights their ‘spark.’ Lily and Clio both do play the violin to a very high level – but as I explain in my book, that doesn’t mean I have had been to be an Amy Chau tiger parent to get to them point. Also music has become a way of life in our house, and they play music together, which helps.
January 2, 2015 at 9:19 am
(Sorry to keep this discussion dragging on forever, but it’s the kind of thing I really enjoy!)
Sumitha, I agree about using some rewards for forming habits. When my kids first started violin we got into a routine of combining practice with dessert. We don’t often have dessert, but to get them in a habit of practicing after dinner they would get marshmallows for each little thing they played. Then just at the end of the practicing. Then not at all and they didn’t notice. They were four and six at the time and that helped because it was easier to catch their attention with marshmallows than with some abstract sense of musical improvement, which on violin is painfully slow.
The hardest part about teaching beginning violin is to keep students essentially distracted from the fact that they don’t sound like anything for a long, long time, while they put in the necessary work that will improve how they sound. I used to use small stickers with my students to mark when songs were done, but it wasn’t much of a reward. My kids’ violin teacher uses toys and candy as incentives week to week, and I can see how it backfires. It takes the focus off the work and onto the treat, and not getting the treat feels like punishment. My son’s piano teacher doesn’t even use stickers–just checks things off so he knows not to keep working on them, and that’s working much better, but there is a lot more instant gratification to piano than there is to violin.
In terms of grades, we just view them differently. They tell such an incomplete story that they don’t interest me much. You know a little something if a kid gets all good grades vs. all bad grades, but beyond that, nothing useful. When I was in 7th grade I had a notoriously sexist shop teacher who would NOT give a girl an A in mechanical drawing. I know my first drawing in that class was better than the boy’s sitting next to me, but he got all A’s. I complained to my mom who told me when she was in college absolutely no woman could get an A in her advertising class, and she was far and away the best artist there. (Also, some agencies flat out did not hire women, which still blows my mind.) I got alternating A’s and failing grades in reading in 6th grade based purely on whether I handed in the assignments. The quality of the writing didn’t matter to the teacher. Would you rather hire a writer who writes well, or one who writes poorly but always meets deadlines? Depends on the need.
When I think about grades I always think about the valedictorian from my brothers’ high school class. One of my brothers spent his senior year at USC. He was second in his class because he got a B in one of those college courses. Number one? A girl who spent all of her high school experience striving for perfect grades. Her brother was the valedictorian of my class, and she felt she had to match that. It was expected. So she took courses purely based on what she could get an A in. She did not risk taking physics, or calculus. She avoided English and History classes taught by the more challenging teachers. She wasted her chance at an interesting education so she could say she was valedictorian. For myself as a parent, that would not make me proud at all. If as a family we were disadvantaged and that status would provide important opportunities my child wouldn’t otherwise get, then sure, that would be a worthy (if distorted) goal. It’s all relative, and again, every family is different.
Tanith, I agree that kids have to play an instrument that speaks to them. I wish more parents knew that. I had a sample lesson once with a really hostile boy who had a ton of talent and ability, and his mom was making him play. I asked him what he would rather do, and he wanted to play guitar. I told his mom I thought he should switch (or even just add it) because violin brought him no joy. At it’s core, music should be about joy. His mom had a sense of “violin is better” and it was a status thing for her. She was shocked I suggest he be allowed to play guitar and said, “You think guitar is okay?” I told her there was nothing wrong with guitar, and if he liked what he was playing he would do better and enjoy it more. Glad your children like playing violin! One of my projects for the new year is to start building a full size one for my oldest and have her help. (Not many kids get to play a violin they literally had a hand in making, so that should be fun!)
January 2, 2015 at 11:02 am
I love this discussion, too Korinthia! Thank you so much for it. Both writing about it, and reading your’s and Tanith’s points of view has been great for me for sorting through what I want/stand for, in terms of grades, homework etc. for my daughter. With our choice to send her to a private school, these are a part of our everyday life and being more clear about it sure helps!
Your words “If as a family we were disadvantaged and that status would provide important opportunities my child wouldn’t otherwise get, then sure, that would be a worthy (if distorted) goal.” — this describes my life quite literally. While I can see your perspective on grades and it makes a ton of sense, it is hard for me to actually be that cool about it, simply because I am where I am because of the grades, degrees etc (I had written a guest post a while ago that may provide some background here – on money and happiness ). Even though grades/degrees haven’t brought anything of real substance to my life, they nevertheless are the tickets that opened a lot of doors for us and so I simply can’t bring myself to totally break free from them — but I am happy that through these discussions, I am broadening my perspective a bit and hopefully my daughter will benefit from it!
About music, most Asian kids end up in piano classes by default, but my daughter didn’t quite show any interest in a play keyboard she had as a kid which I took as an indication that it’s not her “thing”. I’ve talked to her a couple of times about guitar classes — while she shows interest in it for the novelty of it, she didn’t pounce on it like when I mentioned art class. A lot of my friends argue that kids can doodle and paint at home and there’s no need to spend on classes, and that money is better spent on music so we can introduce something ‘new’ to our kids. I see that point, but I am a believer of the 10,000 hour rule and if she loves art, and doodling, I’d rather pay for her to just take classes in that and hone that craft. Again, no idea if that is a good choice or if it will come back to bite me in the future… we’ll see 🙂
December 23, 2014 at 6:54 am
I really like what you have to say. It converges well with what I have said in my book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.
December 23, 2014 at 8:41 am
Thanks for sharing that, Dr. Goldberg. Sounds like an interesting book. I will try to grab a copy of it.
December 24, 2014 at 3:51 am
Thanks Dr Goldberg. I will be definitely checking out your book and sharing it. I think it’s so important that writers in this area band together so others can see there there’s a strong movement forming, questioning where the current educational ethos is leading us.
November 20, 2019 at 7:28 pm
January 2, 2018 at 10:44 am
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October 17, 2018 at 1:18 pm
So what was the title of this BOOK I didn’t read !?!? Guess I overlooked it !!! Just look for a few good pointers not a book to read !!!
May 15, 2020 at 9:36 pm
Thank you SO much for these words….
December 22, 2014 at 10:12 am
Ooh Tanith, excellent article, thank you for sharing this with Sumitha and the rest of us. It was more than I expected. At first I thought, “Well, my kid doesn’t really have issues too much with homework . . . but I’ll look it over.” Very glad I did, it’s much more than homework!
Yes, the delays and distractions, that’s what I have here with my 9 year old. Despite our questions to the school, we never got a complete answer as to how kids were “sorted” each year into what class. Turns out they did it by testing scores and not the “mix-up” of kids to juggle things up from year to year as I was originally told years ago. Of course this created a bit of hurt pride and friction about the subject with my husband and I towards the school as we of course thought our child should be in with the other kids. Even now, with a friend’s child being in the other class, there is a pressure for our own child to do better, push harder, get into that class. Luckily my husband is more level-headed about it than me and this article gave me a good wake-up call. The amount of work they had was more than her class and gave me some concern as to whether she was learning enough. Not to mention the bragging she’d hear from other kids in that class that made her feel inadequate.
Not every child is going to be the next Einstein and we know our daughter is a smart girl but has a stronger pull, like your Lily, toward art and other subjects. We have to enhance their skills and passions and not just push, push, push for the grades and I feel I was like you as well, nervous with the report card. I was proud of her but wanted her to do better but my husband would say, she’s done well, you can’t compare her to so and so and I couldn’t and shouldn’t have. It hit home quickly last year when at the end of the school year, she had two awards and was so happy and I saw a few grades and felt a bit disappointed. I could see it took the wind out of her little sails and I told myself to get my act together and stop it. There was the summer project already spread out on the last day of school, which is a bit discouraging as not all schools do it and it’s a yearly thing for us but we took it in stride.
It also made me wonder about kids that are pushed, some take it out in frustrations and others, it seems to us, do the opposite and just push themselves to the point that they even feel that’s what matters most and I feel sorry for them. I wonder if that bragging isn’t covering up insecurities or worries.
I was worried about her starting to read as a preschooler when I found out one of the teacher’s kids was particularly gifted and rolling along at a very fast rate. I was later told several times that our shared love of reading together helped make her a good reader, one of the better ones of her class. When I took the pressure off of making her read, when often she didn’t feel like it, other than sitting with me while I read, it was more enjoyable and her reading progressed along just fine. Last year it was math that was the issue and now she’s doing very well in math but her language/vocabulary aren’t what they were. A cycle of some kind, who knows but we work on what needs tending to and I try not to push her to where she feels there is nothing else. She still needs that down time, that play time, enough sleep for certain and a chance to be a kid still, she is one, after all.
We have an allotted time for homework and I contact her teacher if something is a problem. I don’t help her like I used to but guide her and she takes pride in her work and getting her corrections done in school with the teacher.
Parenting is an everyday learning course. Obviously this article hit home, thank you. I look forward to more of your work Tanith and thank you as always Sumitha. A blessed holiday season to you both and a break that’s filled with fun and not work!
December 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Thank you so much for sharing that, Bernadette. There’s nothing like listening to stories from other parents and finding that common thread to feel normal again 🙂
We have the opposite combination in our house – my husband’s really fanatic about how my daughter does in school, while I am a little more level-headed.
I think the biggest eye opener for me were these words from Tanith – “for the child born with a go-getting personality, teaming up with turbo-charged parents can be a winning combination – to start with at least. But as adults, we have to start asking – how high we can raise the bar before it’s too high for our children to jump?” Our daughter has a very competitive streak, and at first it did look like my husband pushing her to be the best was really a good combination. But then she messed up one test and the fall out was beyond ridiculous. I couldn’t believe my husband’s (over) reaction or that overnight, my daughter was turning into a liar right before our very eyes. Where she thrived on competition before, she started to make excuses and make up stories. I had to put my foot down and set some explicit house rules about what is acceptable and what is not, on both their parts. It took a while but we have a working system now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that we can nourish her strong natural tendency to try to be the best and the joy she gets from accomplishing things, without letting it take over or be the only thing! Like Korinthia said above, it is almost guaranteed that we won’t get it all right all the time… the key is to do the best we can, and like you said, keep on learning!
December 23, 2014 at 4:17 am
Dear Bernadette. I think you hit on a very interesting point here. “It also made me wonder about kids that are pushed, some take it out in frustrations and others.” I have been exploring this point because I believe that one of the unacknowledged knock-on effects of competitive parenting is sibling rows and tension. The children don’t just compete to win in the outside world – they do it at home too, leading to many more squabbles and less happy home. My girls Lily and Clio, for example, have never got on better – they collaborate and help each other with music, homework etc Yet I hear other parents proudly trumpet how they have children dead set on beating each other as if they was making them excel further. Instead is sets up a template that I believe can ruin sibling relationships into adulthood Another reason to take the foot of the gas….
December 22, 2014 at 11:24 pm
Really liked the article. Parenting is like walking on a razor’s edge and very rightly said, ‘all of us are getting parts of it wrong’…. Regardless :)..
Stay happy, keep the kid happy and let them be!
December 23, 2014 at 4:18 am
Thanks Anshu. Please share if you can to give other parents the confidence to take their foot off the gas!
December 23, 2014 at 8:42 am
Thanks Dr. Anshu. Stay happy, keep the kid happy and let them be! — that’s a great mantra to live by 🙂
February 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm
This could not polbsisy have been more helpful!
February 21, 2016 at 6:54 pm
Great. I am so pleased you found it constructive.
February 21, 2016 at 6:47 pm
Encourage him to express his opinion, talk about his feelings, and make choices. Show enthusiasm for your child’s interests and encourage her to explore subjects that fascinate her. Provide him with play opportunities that support different kinds of learning styles — from listening and visual learning to sorting and sequencing. Ask about what he’s learning in school, not about his grades or test scores. Thanks!
February 21, 2016 at 6:53 pm
‘Ask about what he’s learning in school, not about his grades or test scores.’ Exactly
February 23, 2016 at 3:51 pm
Hi Tanith Carey,
I agree with you because it can be hurt child mind. Rest other motivation way very good from Evelyn W. Minnick. Also, I have written a blog for helping kids and it’s related to this article. “Best Ways to Get Your Kids to Do Homework Without All the Drama” To read this article visit at http://universityhomeworkhelp.com/best-ways-to-get-your-kids-to-do-homework-without-all-the-drama/
I hope my answer will help more readers of this article.
Thanks Nancie L Beckett
February 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm
This is a great article with lots of quality information about handling homework with kids. I’m a Tutor, you don’t believe “My kid Refuses to Do Homework Assignment.” After lots of research I got a solution, but it takes time. So I’m sharing with you.
Here’s How to Stop the Struggle:-
1. Try to stay calm 2. Set clear expectation around homework time and responsibilities. 3. Play the parental role most useful to your child. 4. Keep activities similar with all your kids. 5. Start early and Offer empathy and support. 6. Use positive reinforcement and incentives.
I used those. Meanwhile, I have written a blog about “How to Make Studying Less Stressful and More Fun?” visit at https://www.24x7homeworkhelp.com/blog/how-to-make-studies-less-stressful-and-more-fun/
Let me know if you have questions
Thanks Arlene B. Morgan
April 14, 2016 at 9:52 am
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August 2, 2016 at 3:46 am
The reality is that every kid is different and what works for one child may not work for another, even with kids in the same family. When our children were small, our goal was to make the actual work process and homework help as pleasant as possible. This was most commonly accomplished by placing a fuzzy, lazy cat on the lap of the student. Very few children (or adults for that matter) will rise from their chairs when there’s a cat sleeping on their lap. The cat also provides company without interfering with the actual thinking process.
September 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm
Very helpful information, my son who is 7 is not the biggest fan of homework. It does depend on the evening and last night was a doozy! He usually has Math every second day which is a review sheet from what they did in class. He acts out, lack of focus, complains that he is tired etc.
Last school year after Spring Break I had finally had enough, and decided homework would get done on my terms, I wanted my happy go lucky son back, so some nights we did not do homework, knowing that on nights that we did there would be more. That seemed to work.
This year my husband and I are working harder with our son, as he struggles with reading and writing. He is in Grade 2, but not at a Grade 2 level, we have support from his teacher, but last night when he was kicking up a fuss about Math, which he does well with I wondered if the subject he struggles with is the cause of the fuss. He even refused to read last night.
We know he feels like we are always working on learning, and we feel the same, but at the same time want to do what we can to support his learning development. I feel helpless at times, as I know he is aware that he struggles, especially when he says things like “I can’t read Mommy”. I try and keep it positive and that there are things that everyone struggles with, and we have to practice to get better.
I am always searching different ways to aid with his learning that will keep him engaged.
I know I rambled….
March 31, 2017 at 10:41 am
>>Of course, not doing homework is not an option – but these days in our house the aim is to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Well, I have to disagree with you, kids in Finland do not do homework and their schools simply gave up giving their students homeworks and nothing happened, Finland is still on first levels of education ladders. So it’s optional for everyone , however if it is not optional for you child you can always ask other people for math homework help or chemistry homework help.
April 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm
This article was helpful. While I don’t push my kid to be perfect or ask how other kids did compared to her I constantly get push back from my child with anything she doesn’t want to do. It can be very frustrating. She doesn’t like my input on solving problems at all so I have to just back off or deal with her covering her ears and tuning me out.
She fortunately listens to her teacher, but if she gets tired of something, she loves to tune people out. She is 7 now and has been this way since she was about 4. Example, she got tired of listening to her swim instructor at age 4 and would submerge herself under water so she didn’t have to listen. She is a CHALLENGE and if you give her the option to slack off with work she will do it. Not quite sure how to even go about it. She could care less if she got no credit for missing work. To her, it’s no consequence so it’s been difficult to figure out a workaround with her. She isn’t a spoiled child and if you took the few things she does have away from her, she is fine with that. I don’t like threatening to take things away though. I feel it solves nothing. Challenging!
November 4, 2017 at 9:59 am
Any advice for people who aren’t wealthy? The amount of time and money required for your solutions are absolutely not available to the vast majority of Americans. Neuro linguistic training and private schools? Impossible for all but a few. Most of us are *not* in some insane competition with other parents to push our kids into Harvard by starting waiting lists for preschool. Most of us just want our kids to be able to take care of themselves someday and be successful enough to be happy. Not doing homework is a problem for most kids, rich or poor, competitive or not, regardless of personality, regardless of parenting. This advice is about your child at all. It’s about what you did to your child and then had to undo. Not all kids have been conditioned to internalize the overbearing voice of their type A parents. Some just don’t want to do homework.
November 6, 2017 at 2:42 am
Thank you for this article. Wow, I relate so much to this article. I struggle with my 11 yr old to do homework. She’s exactly like Lily, a soon as she starts doing homework she calls for my help that she doesn’t understand. She’s very bright and learns right away, but I do see she’s stressing. She feels that she’s too slow and takes to long to finish her homework. I know is me without realizing I am pressuring her too much. I must change.
I’m going to change our schedule. I just realized that I didn’t make enough quality time. I need to change that and not pressure my princess about homework.
Thank you so much.
December 23, 2017 at 11:14 pm
Hi folks! My son is older, in 10th grade, and thus it is a very delicate time. That said, up until recently, he was working hard but generally doing well in Honors classes, AP Biology, and AP US History. He is also in band and very intererested in Congressional Debate in Forensics Club. He’s developed a forceful personality, and pursues his goals fearlessly.
Then, it seems a single English research paper broke the camel’s back. It was a walk-thru project: Do basic step A, use A to do 3 days of research in the library, identify a list of relevant quotes, analyze the quotes, develop a rough draft, etc. During the first stages, he always had a reason why it wasn’t done. The grading structure required every step to be completed before the next step started. So, he sat. Supposedly, he had a paper step written in Google Docs…but now he doesn’t remember the “dashed off” name (“stuff2958749.doc”, for example) so he considers that..and the previous steps useless. Why do I need to do this stuff, when I can just write the paper? Why?
My wife is an experienced special educator, and the teacher is engaged and working with us to give our son more options. Still, he pushes back. We’ve done so far as to negotiate him just working on the rough draft, and accepting the zeros on the skipped stages. Somehow, that devolved into him retreating into his room, slamming his door. He has proposed that the teacher “simply” nullify the assignment without a set of grades. If we accept this multiple zero, it will possibly wreck his entire class, possibly causing him to fail 10th grade English. In NJ, that means you don’t move forward to 11th grade.
I’ve had a couple of long discussions with him, away from his mother. He mentions a desire for a more intense structure. He references his stay at an advanced debate camp, where he engaged with other students…who were attending very expensive private schools. “One you see the outside world, you can never be satisfied with being trapped indoors”…he has restated this concept in multiple ways. These schools are beyond our reach financially, and in any case, they aren’t an option in the middle of a school year. And it is unlikely that he’d be accepted, if he wrecks his class grades.
Part of this scenario seems to be a desire to force us to engage with him, in an attempt to work around the school structure. He does have an IEP and 504, which in middle school once allowed him to work independently. Somehow, he thinks that is an option in 10th grade honors English.
Engaging is a real challenge. He’s confident in his ability to argue, and is fully willing to ignore our facts and predictions of fallout. He even discredits his mother’s deep educational knowledge and experience, and then criticizes my perceived lack of business success as ad hominem attacks. (I’m doing fine, but it forces me to defend, and thus is successful distraction.) So far, laying out consequences has been entirely ineffectual. He requires an answer to his “Why?”, but disregards the answers as inadequate. He demands an academic answer to why the teaching technique (the walk-thru research paper) is required or effectual, then derides it as “not a real answer”.
It ends up with a closed door.
The teacher is running out of patience, and we’re running out of ideas. I don’t think the teacher is even allowed to give more that she’s allowing, and might be bending the rules as-is. Our son spent 2 hours with counselors….not guidance counselors…counselors…giving them the same run-around. I think they (2 of them at the same time) gave their best, but they fell back to asking what he wanted: more time maybe?
I’ve read other sources. I see that a full-on psych eval was recommended. At this point, I’m fine with that if it helps. I suspect we’d need to get our son to buy into it. But would that still result in his English grade cratering? Are we risking a cascade failure into other classes?
It’s a very delicate time, and this scenario is not an easy one. I’d like to have simple, pat answer: he’s looking for attention; he’s stressed out over the sheer amount of work; he’s frustrated at the forced slowness of the curriculum; the class is group and can’t move at an accelerated speed (ans: it’s Honors.). But I’m guessing it’s more complex that 1 root-cause.
Given this, I’d not mind some considered advice. Thanks!
May 28, 2018 at 9:19 pm
O my, I do get this. My son pushes back a lot these days, partly the teen and hormones? Right now we are working with setting boundaries, coping with meltdowns and spending time each day bonding over something other than work. It’s horrible to have to walk on eggshells and think you cannot just talk to your kid and resolve something…so simple. My heart goes out to you. A lot of listening is required, and prayers. And in the end, we let him slow things down by an entire year. Take care!
March 17, 2018 at 3:48 pm
Oh my land, thank you for this. I found it today when my kid dissolved into tears after she dragged her homework on for 4 hours on a Saturday, while I nagged her and then snapped at her.
I left the room, googled “child won’t do homework”, found this and read it, went back into the room, hugged her and asked her if trying to make her homework perfect was slowing her down. She said yes, then we talked about that, and her inner critic, and what she could do about that awful little critical voice in her head.
Amazing – thank you.
May 28, 2018 at 5:06 pm
Just found your comment. So pleased it helped.
July 13, 2018 at 8:57 am
I think that if the child does not want to do homework, then everything is fine. I still do not know a single child who would like to do homework. I read the article that homework kills creativity, and I quite agree with that. After all, the child instead of spending time for something really interesting, should do boring homework. When I have a son, I will allow him not to do homework, but in exchange I will tell him that he must be interested in something that really will benefit him in development. Thank you for this article!
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November 12, 2018 at 3:23 am
I am brother of a 12 year old boy studying in seventh grade.I find him not getting interested in studying or doing homework after coming home from school.He is worried more about video games and TV.He get to do his home works only after continuous pressure from parents.He is very attentive,obedient and performs well in school.But at home , he says he need to rest from studies. I hope this tips will help him to get more involved in studies!
December 7, 2018 at 3:16 pm
The issue is process vs. results. By letting your daughter skimp on her homework, she’s going to pick up bad habits … such as doing what she wants to do instead of taking care of her responsibilities. We teach “Work hard, then play hard” in our home. Our goals are process-oriented, like show up for class and turn in your homework, rather than results-oriented, like why don’t you have an A in this class. By teaching our children to work, even when they don’t feel like it sometimes, they can build a foundation of responsibility that will “result” in a more successful, well-rounded experience. Some kids may be different … they may be given all the freedom you are preaching turn that into tremendous happiness. But I’ll build my foundation on discipline, and my children will earn their self-worth by taking care of their responsibilities … not throwing a fit until an authority finally gives in.
April 18, 2019 at 6:22 am
This is good
April 25, 2019 at 3:11 am
Thank you for sharing this article, you are very interesting to write, your blog is really interesting to read!
June 24, 2019 at 6:44 pm
This is really good and helpful. Thanks for sharing this article. 🙏
August 10, 2019 at 1:57 am
I think that the real reasons why the child does not do their homework can be very many of them all of their parents will never know. The main thing is to be able to find a common language in your child!
October 16, 2019 at 6:37 am
I have to agree with you and your daughter about the book reports — we did our first one a few weeks back, and it was decidedly much more unpleasant compared to just reading and enjoying the book!
October 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm
Children do not do their homework because they watch a lot of TV shows and play on the phone.
October 23, 2019 at 3:35 am
All parents want their children to be successful, successful and happy. Schooling is one of the important components of a child’s life. The school will be the main part of its reality for 8-10 years. Therefore, the baby needs to help adapt, feel comfortable and learn how to succeed
February 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm
nice tips, I hope it will help
February 22, 2020 at 11:50 pm
April 8, 2020 at 3:15 am
Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, is where that max effort comes into play. It’s another form of cardio in which you should only be able to sustain activity for about 30 seconds before you need a break. It should feel pretty difficult for you to catch your breath while you’re doing this type of training (anaerobic meaning “the absence of oxygen”). Explosive exercises like plyometrics, sprinting, and even heavy weightlifting are all examples of anaerobic exercise. “The body uses phosphocreatine and carbohydrates as fuel [for anaerobic exercise] because they can be broken down rapidly,” Olson explains. “Fats take too long to break down as an energy source.”
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January 29, 2021 at 6:04 am
wow, cool good meterial
February 25, 2021 at 6:06 am
Thank you for the article. This is a really powerful method. I don’t know what I would do without him. Homework and children are created in different universes, I think. Thank you for the blog, I will follow you.
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Kids Not Doing Homework? 3 Ways to Win the Homework War
Kids not doing homework make it fun, not doing homework: consider their learning style, give rewards.
Kids not doing homework? Welcome to the family.
As a teacher and parent, I know one thing for sure—most kids HATE doing homework. Honestly, I can’t blame them. After 8 plus hours of being stuck in a classroom, the last thing a kid wants to do is come home and do more schoolwork.
They have been sitting still all day and would love nothing more than to come home and play. If they choose to do that, though, they could end up receiving no credit for their homework. This might result in a lower grade.
Like you, as a concerned parent, I seem to always be looking for a way to convince my children to do their work. I’ve tried to coerce them, but when I do this, they usually speed through their homework so they can play instead. The assignment ends up full of mistakes, and the score earned is so low that they might as well have not done it at all. Also, they learn nothing from the assignment, making it a waste of time.
Here are three of ways I’ve come up with to fix the problem of kids not doing homework.
When it comes to kids not doing homework it is usually due to their preoccupation with playing. So, why not let them play? This is probably a foreign concept. After all, past teachings say to limit distractions. However, allowing your child to do things they enjoy as they complete their work may be more helpful.
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For example, if your 3 rd grader’s homework is to practice his or her multiplication facts, have your child write them in shaving cream or create problems using dice. This will be much more fun than writing them on paper or
using boring flashcards. You might also consider an online program like ArgoPrep’s K-8 math. Because the program is based on educational standards, the activities will line up with what your child is learning at school.
Some children learn better by seeing (visual) while others need hands-on opportunity. My son, for example, is visual. He can look at a chart and instantly understand the information. My daughter, a singer, is an auditory learner but also retains information best when there is a musical component.
Letting your child listen to music might motivate them to do their homework. No kid wants to sit in a quiet room and fill out a boring sheet of paper for hours on end. If their favorite songs are playing in the background, however, it starts to feel like less of a chore. Although, the possibility of them being distracted increases, the assignment will get done eventually. This is all that matters.
￼Having the television on is an option as well, but it will probably be less effective. Television programs – especially cartoons – are full of distractions, such as pretty colors, loud noises, and interesting stories. While your child might enjoy them, they are very likely to get “sucked in” to the show. Then, you find yourself with the problem of kids not doing homework once again. An alternative might be to use videos or to let them work during commercial breaks.
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Many students say it is their least favorite subject because it bores them. However, there are ways around this. We designed our program to make math more fun for kids. Kids love playing games and they love being on their electronic devices. Having them play electronic math games, then, makes learning more fun for them. If your kid(s) are not doing their homework, consider having them play a few games to see if they prefer an electronic means of learning.
If the first method seems less than ideal, it might be enough to simply reward your child for a job well-done. Whether it is money, food, or some other stimulus, humans, in general, respond very well to rewards. It gives them something to work towards, and when they receive the reward, they genuinely feel accomplished.
I used this with my own daughter to win the homework war. As simple as it sounds, placing a Peppa Pig sticker on a chart at the end of each completed Pre-K assignment was enough to motivate her. Of course, I realize older kids may need a more powerful incentive. Find what your child enjoys and run with that.
To ensure that they are not rushing through their homework, make it a point to check it when they are finished. If everything has been completed accurately, give your child something they like.
You might give them a piece of their favorite candy, allow them to drink a soda, or pay them an allowance. What matters is that your child perceives what you give them as a reward and continue to pursue it in the future.
It might seem like freedom would be a good reward, but it is not sustainable. These days, there are too many ways for kids to circumvent their restrictions. Make sure the reward is tangible and new, and that you completely control their access to it, and they will be more willing to finish their work.
Kids not doing homework is a problem but it doesn’t have to create problems at home. Making the completion of homework fun and celebrating their success with a reward will give them something to actually enjoy. The next time you find your kid not doing homework, try one of these methods and see if they become less reluctant.
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